Morning everyone, first thanks for the help. I get around using a walker/cane. I wear a wrap-around upper body brace. Like the one "Superman" Christopher Reeves used but without the neck part. The brace starts at the hip joints and extends to the underarm area. I saw a barber using a swivel stool mounted on an arm attached to the barber's chair. I thought about changing that to a track mounted under the lip of the router table. I want to start making signs to mount on wood poles. Nothing fancy but nice. One idea I had is mounting the router on a radial arm and moving it around the work piece. Another plan was to tilt the table. Again, thank you. Robin
Ok, this is a start. When you turn, do you turn at the hips or do you turn at your toes? Do you have lifting strength in your arms? When you lift can you use your legs, or do you have to use your waist or back? Can you do anything propped on your elbows - i.e. partially bent over, using a table for support? When you sit at a the table for supper, is the chair a normal kitchen chair or has it, or the table, been modified for height? How long can you sit at the table or do you have to move frequently?
A typical router table would be 34" - 36" tall and is usually meant to be stood at. In this instance, standing for that length of time would be prohibitive. Next, we've got to figure out support for your torso at a convenient height to minimize fatigue. You don't want to get so tired with a router that you can't controll it.
Can you use an office type chair that has adjustable height? Do you have to use arms on a chair to get yourself in and out? Can you adjust an office-type chair? If you happen to miss the adjustment and the chair bottoms out, can you get yourself rearranged without help?
This next part is for your own research. Search through this forum for something called "skis." There are several philosophies for sign making, freehand, templates and potentially, skis.
I want you to examine carefully the article I wrote on skis and those written by others. Then I want you to imagine yourself using skis. You see me and Harrysin using skis I want you to duplicate that action. Stretch your arms out, 24" or 36" apart, supported by your hands or forearms and see if you hurt anywhere. Keep that position for 10 - 15 minutes or longer. The objective is to see if that kind of movement and action will aggrivate your condition. To do some work I've been in that position for as much as half an hour at a time. I take a break and go back to it.
Do you have a router right now? If not, you'll specifically need a router with the two wrench collet. Others on this forum will be able to help with brands and models. The single wrench kind requires that you use your body to brace the router to install, tighten and remove bits.
However, there are three classes of routers that I can easily define: there's the "palm router" also known as the "laminate trimmer." These are small, light, typically 1 hp and take 1/4" bits. The downside is they have no support in the marketplace for doing "routing type" jobs. You can't get a baseplate. It won't fit into a table, and a bunch of other shortcomings. The flip side is it's not difficult to make all of this stuff.
The next class are the 2hp combo type. These are heavier and can come with a fixed and a plunge base and a few attachments. This is the "hobby level, half way between the Palm and the Monster." There is some support out there for this class but not all routers are supported well.
Then there's the monster class. This group is 3+ hp, >12 lbs., support for just about anything you want to do. Skis - no problem, table mount - no problem, bits - every bit imaginable and a few you never thought would exist, tips and tricks to modify - just about any modification you can think of.
Personally, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't go with anything larger than the palm router. I like the Makita but others highly recommend the Bosch.
Next, the bases. Typically, the palm class come with a fixed base with a cumbersome depth adjustment method. My old Makita 3700 has a thumb screw that you loosen and then holding the base and the router motor, adjust the depth and then, hold the router and tighten the screw and hope nothing moves. This is a pain in the el-rasbutnick (the ass.) You hang onto this guy by wrapping your hand around the body of the router. Typically one good strong construction worker can one-hand this router.
The fixed base for >2hp is a different animal. It usually is a big ring around the router motor. Turning the ring raises and lowers the motor in the base. You loosen a knob, adjust the position of the motor with the ring and retighten the knob. This is my preferred option for you. It comes in several flavours, "D" handle where you litterally have a great big "D" that you hang onto along with a knob on the other side of the router. Then there's the two handled variety just like plunge routers. Both these have good points and bad especially for your situation.
The next base is the plunge. This is the preferred option for most wood workers but could be the worst for you. If you have two hands and can put some weight on the router, this is good. In some instances, you may still want a plunge base but a lot will depend on your ability to push down with your hands. Here's the picture - stick your hands out at a table and push down. Can you lift yourself out of a chair like that? That's the kind of motion a plunge router requires. Ok, I'm exaggerating but that's the movement. Can you handle that?
Do you live near any other forum members? Can you get in touch with someone on the forum. Here's why. We're coming up with all kinds of ideas and ways of doing things. However, some of them require experience with routers to implement. Skis for example can be easily assembled. But they can be a real pain if we have to fabricate parts. Scraps of wood are no problem but UHMW might need to be cut and drilled for bearings and that could be a pain to do. Styrene may have to be machined to use as a baseplate for a palm router.
Right now, we're experimenting. From this we'll learn and each time we hear from you we get a better and better picture.
Follow the above and come back with your feelings and hurts.