Router lift, worthwhile??? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Question Router lift, worthwhile???

I see everyone talking about either buying or making a router lift and I guess maybe i have not used my table enough but I don't see the benefit.
Can someone please enlighten me about them.

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 09:59 AM
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I see everyone talking about either buying or making a router lift and I guess maybe i have not used my table enough but I don't see the benefit.
Can someone please enlighten me about them.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 10:15 AM
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It more depends on whether the router needs it or not...meaning, if the router already has an easy way to adjust height, no interest is likely...or, a person may want/need above-the-table height adjustment and their current configuration only provides below the table adjustment...

My Bosch and Ridgid routers have removable bases so I could use a third party or DIY lift but they are both easy to use as is. My Triton has it's own lift mechanism...below the table but I like it as is. Newer models have above the table adjustment...

Some lifts offer a finer adjustment capability (as opposed to coarse adjustment)...

Others may find it difficult to use their router's below table adjustment (physical ailment) and may need the ease of above the table adjustment.

So, yeah...not everybody wants a third party lift or can derive benefit from one.

(ta r'each his r'own)...
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 11:12 AM
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Like Nick says, it depends on a lot of things. A lot of the new routers have an above table adjustment and since that is the biggest reason to own a lift it makes spending the 3-$400 for one a lot harder to justify. I don't have a lift and only recently bought a router that can be adjusted from the bottom. I've been using a big plunge but I don't bother locking my plates in my tables, I just let gravity hold them down as quite a few others do. That way I can lift the router out to change bits or make major adjustments so once again that negates the need for a lift. It also isn't very often that bits need to be precisely set, usually only rail and stile sets, locking mitre bits, T & G sets, and maybe one or two others so reaching under the table to fine tune when that happens isn't a big deal to me.

Lots of guys on the forum do have lifts and like them although we've seen a few issues with slippage and some getting hard to move but I assume that is repairable. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself. It's not something you absolutely have to have but it could make routing more fun for you.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 11:17 AM
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I had a lift (Rockler) for my 1617 below table, but it drifted on height, so I sold it. Replaced it with a Triton TRA001 which has a built in above table crank, so the lift is built in. It is really nice to be able to adjust height without having to bend over. Remember that the 1617 has a fine height adjustment, but the coarse adjustment means un-clamping the mounting cam lock, sliding the motor up or down, and holding it in place to close the clamp. If you have old hands, the twisting and pushing up at odd anbles, this isn't much fun. I think it is also much easier to have a lift to crank the bit up/down to fit the positioning jig.

A dedicated lift as well as the Triton allows you to change height the full range of height adjustment, including putting the collet above the table for easier bit changes. Harry Sinclair was the member who convinced me to get a Triton, confirmed by watching the Marc Sommerfeld videos.

I know that some members leave their mounting plate loose and just lift the whole thing out to change bits. A few people may be using the Bosch fixed base as a lift, using a Bosch key to adjust height (withing limited ranges), but this key is really just an extension of the fine height adjustment below the table.

With the Triton, you still have to reach below the table to hold the shaft lock in and to set the safety interlock, but neither of these require any force to speak of. I use Sommerfeld matched bit sets so changing bits is really easy, particularly since I got a twist lock insert mounting plate.

If you are happy with another method of height adjustment, no need to change. But once you use a lift, my bet is that you are unlikely to go back.

BTW, Sommerfeld makes a star shaped jig for setting bit height for a number of their specialty bits (yellow). They also make the Easy Set jigs for select Freud bits. (red) Either is just $30 on Amazon and well worth it.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 11:24 AM
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I have the Incra version of the PRL-V2, and I keep a Bosch 1617 in it. It is great. The precision the lift allows is great, and bit changes go very quickly. Yes it was expensive, but it has proven time and time again that it is worth it.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 01:35 PM
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Have the PRL-V2 as well in my table, sporting the big Milwaukee 3 1/2. Absolutely love it. Wouldn't go back to not having a lift. They are not for everyone. Some like em, some love em and some don't, for any number of reasons. I always get the biggest kick out of those who attempt to make ya feel like there is something wrong with you when you do have a preference one way or the other.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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I was more just curious as a coworker who also is a woodworker was discussing them and he said he saw no reason for them. He runs a PC router and I run a dewalt 618


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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 03:49 PM
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I was more just curious as a coworker who also is a woodworker was discussing them and he said he saw no reason for them. He runs a PC router and I run a dewalt 618
Well, maybe it's just that he sees no reason for them. As for me, I have no need for one what with the work I do with my router. My routers are mounted in homemade plates, that fit into my homemade router table. If I need to adjust bit height, or change a bit, I just pop the plate out, do whatever, and pop it back in, usually in less then two minutes. So, a router lift would be wasted on me. If I did want one, for whatever reason, I'd most likely make one. However, I can see that they would be useful for some people, other people just want one, just not me. Now if I had a production shop, then I am pretty darn sure I 'would' have one in every router table I had. Your money, if you want one, and can afford one, get one.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 07:24 PM
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Do you need one? The answer is no. We are all making things either with one or without one so that answer is obvious. Like Theo said, if you were using one for production and doing lots of setups it would probably pay for itself. For a hobbyist it boils down to whether it would make woodworking more fun.
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