|Review by Chris Cook||posted 06-17-2012 12:32 AM||5181 views||1 time favorited||11 comments|
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.
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.
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""