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Hello everyone, I'm building a router table and was wondering what would be the best tabletop/router/router lift combo would be for that? I'm going to be using it for raised panels, trim, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hello everyone, I'm building a router table and was wondering what would be the best tabletop/router/router lift combo would be for that? I'm going to be using it for raised panels, trim, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome aboard. I found out the hard way about raised panels. The cutter I bought was bigger than the hole in the Rockler router insert plate. What I ended up doing was making a 1/8 inch thin spacer and mount the bit from above the insert plate. It ended up being just enough to allow for multiple routing passes. Later I replaced the Rockler plate with one that allows the cutting head to be raised up through the plate.

I will see if I can find a post I made several years ago about this problem.
Hope this helps.
Mike
 

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Found it. Hope this helps.
Mike
 

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The plate hole size depends on the bit size so you need to know both first. You could get away with a smaller plate hole if you use a verticle panel bit. The router also has to be able to raise the bit above the table which can be a challenge so you may need an extender. You also need a powerful router, something in the 3.5 hp range. For the table make it long, 4 feet is what I use, and be sure to have two feather boards to hold the work tight to the table. Use one on each side of the bit. If your project is going to be painted then consider using MDF for the panels. My setup is a homemade table with a Rousseau plate and Rosseau feather boards. The router is an older Hitachi MV12 with a Router Raizer. The bits I use are from MLCS. I have done everything from floor to ceiling paneled walls to kitchen cabinets. The panels are easy it's the rail and stiles that really have to be exact.
 

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I suggest you consider a Triton TRA001 router for your table. Several of us have and really love them. 3.25hp, built in lift so you can adjust height from above the table. Price for the router is about the same as the higher end lifts. Many plate brands are pre-drilled for it. Home Depot has a price of $259, which is where I bought mine. I like their return policy and being able to pick it up locally. Seems that price is pretty common, even at Rockler, which carries many Triton tools. That price is a little lower than what I paid for mine.

There is so much power there that you can do anything you want with it. To use the lift, you unscrew a cap, remove a spring, replace the cap. That's it. Comes with the crank. It has a push button spindle lock so you only need one wrench to change bits. When you crank it all the way up to change bits, it has a safety interlock so it won't start. You have to lower the bit, then deliberately reach under and press the power switch. This seems odd until you realize that so many people ignore the safety caution of unplugging the router when changing bits.

Triton has a variety of dust collection attachments, and it also pulls cooling air from below and blows it out the top, so it doesn't get clogged with sucked-in sawdust. Some years ago, someone recommended attaching a "snorkle" to the bottom, which is a tube that pulls in clean air. This is either a 4 or 5 inch flex hose taped with aluminum duct tape to the bottom of the router. I mention this because most table designs have a chamber design for the router and you'd need to make provision for snorkle pass through if you choose to include it. You have to leave an opening for the speed control.

NOTE: If you are planning to do panel doors where you need several bits, be sure you purchase MATCHED sets, which allow you to drop in a series of bits without having to adjust height. To make this work best, you drop a half inch GROMMET into the bottom of the collet, then place each successive bit all the way to the grommet. Only matched bit sets work this way. They are machined so the shanks are all exactly the same length.

I purchased the Woodpecker mounting plate because it is a little thicker than most of the others, and I like the twist lock insert design. It is expensive but I go for overkill. Almost any aluminum plate will do, but make sure it is pre drilled for the router. I had to drill the hole for the crank myself (3/8ths as I recall). I placed the bottom plate from the router on the aluminum, aligned the bolt openings, then scribed the location of the hole. I used a fine rat tail file to smooth and round over the edges of the opening. Worked like a champ, but when you order a plate for it, see if they have it pre drilled

Here's a picture of the router and another of the plate.
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While you can use most brands of routers with a lift, most routers that fit a lift are about 2.25 hp, which is adequate. But I have consigned my Bosch 1617s to hand held tasks. I'd had a Rockler lift, but couldn't get it to stop creeping down. There are other, better brands for for their cost, plus a little more, you're getting a lot more power.

The Triton has soft start and many, many accessories if you want them. I think it's a little heavy for me to use freehand, but I'm kind of old now and find myself reaching for a small trim router for most hand held tasks, in particular, mortises for hinges and such. I have an older Colt, 1hp, but it is so much easier to handle, and for anything significant, I do my best to do it on a table.

Hope this is helpful.
 

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G'day @azonia2 , welcome to the forum...
 

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My two router tables don't have router lifts. One of my tables didn't have a large enough openning for the 3 1/2" wide panel bit. Had to attach a 3/4" thick surface top over the router table with a 4" openning against the fence (this way I didn't need to change the hole on the router table) and used a shaft extension on the router shaft if using a 3 1/2" wide router bit. This way I cleared the small openning on the one router table.
 
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