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Woodpeckers Side Winder Router Lift SW350

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Review by Chris Cook posted 06-17-2012 12:32 AM 4429 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Woodpeckers Side Winder Router Lift SW350 Woodpeckers Side Winder Router Lift SW350 Woodpeckers Side Winder Router Lift SW350 Click the pictures to enlarge them

This all started with the idea of designing and building my own router lift. I researched what people were doing and found a ton of really cool ideas.

I looked at quite a few of the commercial router lifts and just wasn’t ready to pony up $350-$500. During my research I came across the Woodpeckers SW350 router. As it was $239 on Amazon, it kept coming to mind as the solution. So, I figured that I would go ahead and get it. If it’s junk, it goes back to Amazon.
Well, it certainly isn’t junk. This is my first Woodpeckers product and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Good
Well built. Simple in design and just works as advertised. All parts are well made and made in America. The plate is made of aluminum as are the router motor mounting blocks. The riser rods are solid steel rods.
The instructions are concise and give you everything you need to know. I particularly like the method of mounting to the table. Two blocks screw down on each side of the plate and have thumb knobs on each. This will fit any table and takes only seconds to install. There are 8 leveling screws and they come with a little thread lock on them to help keep them in place.

The router motor mount is another simple and effective method. This can accommodate motors up to 3 ½”. Two large aluminum blocks sandwich the router motor using hand crank threaded rods.

The table includes three different size plastic inserts. Small, medium and very large. I planned to make my own here, but this will be difficult as they are grooved on the edges.

This comes with one guide pin (chromed steel) that can screw into four different locations on the plate.
The lift action is driven by a length heavy-duty stranded steel cable that couples to the hand crank and to the lift screw. Very simple in the way it works and it works well. The cable is long and I don’t know if it can be shortened without sacrificing it’s function. It really comes down to where you configure the handle. The cable has to have a swoop in order to function correctly. I am going to try a different material in a different configuration to see my options. I have it working well, but I can’t leave it alone.

The plate also features graduated scales on either side to monitor fence adjustments.

The two features that really drew me into this router lift:

1) Ability to finely adjust router height at about 1/32” per crank of the handle and the lift action works exactly as promised. This is neat! The handle has a lock screw to hold position.
2) Quick lift action by inserting the included rod down through an access hole. This works as advertised as well.

When it’s time for a bit change, it takes just a second to pull the router to the top and then lower it back down afterwards. This feature means you’ll never have to crank it a thousand times to get the router up and down. You can stop the lift at any point and then take over with the hand crank for fine adjustment.

The Bad (not much here)

It would be nice if it came with a diagram of the plate to make it easier to build your own table. Pretty minor gripe though.

The engraved depth gauge collects sawdust in every groove. But it’s not too big a deal. Small price to pay for such a well-made gauge.

Summary
I’m keeping this one. This works exactly as promise and that is something I don’t get all the time. I give it 4/5 stars as it’s nearly perfect

-- Chris, “as soon as you come up with something foolproof, they come up with a better fool""




View Chris Cook's profile

Chris Cook

164 posts in 977 days



11 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5129 posts in 1538 days


#1 posted 06-17-2012 12:46 AM

Chris,

Sounds good. I have a harbor fieght 2.5 hp plunge router. Wanting to do a table mount. Know these fit standard commercial brands, but do you think I could adapt my router to this lift?

I’m cheap?????LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4854 posts in 2578 days


#2 posted 06-17-2012 12:54 AM

Congrats on the step up Chris. It took me forever to get a router insert. I am sorry I was too cheap and waited so long.

That looks like a nice one, and the external crank thingy is really neat. And yes, all table inserts should come with a free template for installation. Why they don’t is just ridiculous – it wouldn’t take much.

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Roger's profile

Roger

14898 posts in 1500 days


#3 posted 06-17-2012 01:31 AM

Gr8 review, and appreciated. That doesn’t seem like to bad a price for what you got. Congrats on being an owner of one. I’m sure you’ll be pumpin out some fine projects once you get this set up.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Rob Vicelli's profile

Rob Vicelli

96 posts in 1387 days


#4 posted 06-17-2012 03:31 AM

If i go buy one can I say Chris told me too?? Nice review, thanks. I have been looking at this for awhile and you may have put me over the edge.

-- Rob V

View Chris Cook's profile

Chris Cook

164 posts in 977 days


#5 posted 06-17-2012 03:46 AM

thanks and let me add this: It always happens the same way when I get a new tool like this. I am very excited to have it, but I’ve got nothing specific to do with it at the moment! Of course, like all tools, it will be a great benefit over all my projects. For the moment, I have done a ton of test cuts as I have a new router table top too (as you notice) and I’ve tuned the top/fence/plate settings. My new router table top is self made out of HDPE.

I have not put the miter gauge slot in yet. I really didn’t use it much on my last table.

My last router table was self-built as well as was the plate. It worked well, but begged for more.

@DocSavage45: is your router motor round? What is the diameter? This is designed to hold a cylindrical motor body no bigger than 3.5” in diameter. I think I could modify it to a slightly bigger motor if I had too.

@steve: The way this hand crank works, the same technique could be adapted to some existing router lifts. I’ll make a blog post later about how this could be done homemade style.

I made my own template: If anybody buys one and wants a template (dxf or similar) of the plate dimensions, PM me and I’ll send it to you.

@Rob: If you mention my name, you’ll get a free cardboard box with your purchase. This week only.

-- Chris, “as soon as you come up with something foolproof, they come up with a better fool""

View scarpenter002's profile

scarpenter002

481 posts in 2601 days


#6 posted 06-17-2012 06:53 AM

Nice write-up and thanks for sharing. I love my Woodpecker plunge lift and have no hesitation about buying more of their products. Their heavy 3/8” thick router plates are so much better than the 1/4” aluminum or plastic inserts from others.

-- Scott in Texas

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doordude

1085 posts in 1679 days


#7 posted 06-17-2012 10:34 PM

thanks for sharing

View crashn's profile

crashn

518 posts in 1161 days


#8 posted 06-18-2012 08:18 PM

I have the incra (made by woodpecker) version and it works great indeed.

Doc: I tried to fit my HF router in it, it kinda worked, but pulled it back out. It did not quite fill all the way in, a better fit with my PC690. The HF went back into the standard base with a flush trim bit mounted at all times.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5129 posts in 1538 days


#9 posted 06-18-2012 08:58 PM

WAS IN THE 2.5 HP PLUNGE ROUTER FROM HF OR THE SMALLER ONE????

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View crashn's profile

crashn

518 posts in 1161 days


#10 posted 06-19-2012 11:25 AM

I dont think it was 2.5 hp, I think it may be the smaller one. Comes on sale for 40 or so now and again. Looks real similar to the PC690, with a few critical differences. The PC motor has tabs that fit into the base, the HF has the groves on the motor and the tabs on the base. I originally bought it thinking I could interchange, but no luck. It does do good at edge trimming so I keep the flush trim bit loaded which saves time. let me see if i can find the link.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View Chris's profile

Chris

338 posts in 2053 days


#11 posted 06-19-2012 03:55 PM

I have the original version of this lift – it does not have the side handle but is essentially the same in other respects. The Amazon price is really pretty good for the quality of this lift, which I use all the time. I had some reservations originally with the mounting method – I was not a fan of having the support columns both on the same side of the router. I was concerned that there would be some tilt along the router axis with the weight of the router held that way. However I have had no problems whatsoever and while I cannot comment on the side actuation I highly reccomend the lift system.

-- Chris

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