You can use a plunge router in the table. Look at the original Router Workshop series 1 videos, they use a monster plunge router in their table.
A lot of new plunge routers allow for some adjustment from below, so it is like having a built in router lift. Older plunge routers like my old Porter Cable 690 work well in the table if you remove the springs. Otherwise, you are fighting the spring tension as you try to adjust it from below. There are a lot of videos online for how to remove the springs from various routers.
If you only have one router, make it a plunge router. you can go from in the table to out of the table quickly, and have the advantage of handheld and table mounted routing.
The router I have in my table is a fixed based unit now, because it is actually a little easier to adjust than the plunge router was with the springs.
I started with a De Walt 625 in my UJK router table but found adjusting it form below and changing bits was quite awkward. I then bought a Triton A001 to use in the table and it is a great improvement. As long as you fit a separate no-volt safety switch a small modification tot he router power switch allows you to raise the chuck right through the top of the table without even having to reach underneath to switch off the power switch. Don't do this unless you use a separate safety switch as other wise you can lock the spindle without cutting power to the router - unlikely I agree as you could hardly fail to notice it was running! I suppose you might switch it on by mistake when it was locked although you would have to reach under the table to do this. If you plan to use this router freehand as well as in the table don't modify the switch. Either way its a great tool and has masses of power and a really good chuck with separate nuts and collets supplied to 1/2" or 1/2" bits.
I also use big plungers in my router table. I use the threaded rod for my height changes. I also just have my router and plate sit in the rabbet on my table so that I can lift them out at will. Having the router laying on its side on the table top makes major changes easy. Then I fine tune with the router in the table. The newest big plunger I have has above table adjustment so once I get it mounted it will just stay in the table except for bit changes.
Usually, it's the plunge base that is designed for table use. One big exception is the Bosch 1617 whose fixed base is designed for table use and the plunge base is not recommended in a table. The Bosch fixed base is excellent in a table--at least in my opinion.
You guys lost me. The plunge function is disabled in the table mode, so how is it a desirable feature (for router tables)?
My Bosch 1619EVS has that clever spring lockout device which allows it to be easily used either way...no disassembly required. The 1617EVSPK on the other hand, is as Earl just pointed out, designed specifically so that the fixed base can be table mounted, the motor unit dropped out and plunked into the plunge base for freehand/plunge use. The one thing that the 1619 does not have is through-the-base ht. adjustment which of course the 1617 does have.
The consensus here has always been that if you only have one router, buy a plunge. That does not translate into meaning that it's the best solution for table mounted routing. Just the most economical.
Some plungers are designed to work in a table so it's a relatively cheap way to go. However, you can also use a lift with just a motor. I prefer that option - having a PC 7518 motor only in a JessEm lift. Personally, I see it as great way too go. Super easy bit change and above table locking. Would be hard pressed to find something better.
Phil made a good point that I would like to expand on. Any router that must be turned in the base to make height adjustments is easier to work with using a router lift. Why? First would be the fact that with a router lift your switch is always in the same position. This ends fumbling under the table to find where the switch is. Adjustments are faster using a lift, especially on large changes.
For many years I have said that lifts are great for people with physical limitations; and for those who simply want one that's OK too.
None of the under the table adjusters or lifts are as fast as popping your router out of the table to make changes. Some people prefer them and that is fine; the goal is to be as comfortable as possible with your choices in how you use a router.
The Bosch 1619EVS (GOF 2000 ACE the other side of the Atlantic) is the only router with a spring defeat feature as shown in the photo. This is very handy for people who use their router in a table and free hand. This is the only plunge router Bosch recommends for table use.
Other plunge routers used under the table are easiest to work with when installed on a mounting plate and with the springs removed. They allow for the fastest bit changes and height adjustments when popped out of the table. (Using wrenches)
About 10 years ago the quick change collet was born. John DeRosa invented The Eliminator chuck. Soon after the Extreme Xtension was cloned from it. Faster than factory collets but with the disadvantage of marking up the bits shanks; also prone to increased vibration. John next invented the Musclechuck. This is as good as it gets for quickly changing bits but it has one limitation: on some routers that do not have enough travel you can not make cuts shallower than 3/16 of an inch. This is because the Musclechuck extends the bits mounting position by about 1/2". This is when using normal length bits; using shorter bits solves the problem. The additional 1/2" cutting depth can make the difference in completing a cut without an extension so it is a worthwhile trade off. After all, how often do you make dado cuts less than 1/4"? The cost of an extra bit or two for these situations becomes irrelevant.
Good points on the rotation/depth control issue. Frankly, if I had to do that, I'd do a LOT less routing. Any kind of reaching under the table is a real negative for me. I see 5 possible reasons to reach under the table: power on/off, depth setting, depth lock, shaft lock (for bit change) and speed change. There are various ways to solve each of those problems. The choice of router often makes it impossible to solve some of them. Obviously, power on/off is easy. But shaft lock is pretty much inherent to the router design though a musclechuck can a good solution there. Using a plunge router makes above table depth lock difficult. In general, these are all solvable at a cost. For the budget woodworker, having to reach under can be an acceptable trade off. If I was young and on a limited budget, a plunger with above table height adjust in a home brew table would be good enough. I've used worse!
Mike you make good point about the musclechuck ease of bit change. In the last year, I have almost pulled the trigger 3 times on getting one. It's a great piece of engineering. A couple of things have stopped me. One is that bit change with the PC7518 in the JessEm lift is already pretty fast and easy so a musclechuck would be a smaller improvement on bit change speed than for most other configurations. The other is the fact that there is only a 1/2" MC and you use a collet adapter for 1/4" bits. I much prefer not using a collet adapter - the PC has 1/2 and 1/4" collets. Had some bad experiences with several different adapters.
I make router bowls - that's where a musclechuck makes a lot of sense to me (versus an extender). Extenders kind of scare me - getting the best possible solution for that important. When holiday gift building season starts, I'll revisit it.
Phil, I have news you might be interested in: John has recently developed a slightly longer version of the Musclechuck. At this time it is limited to the Type 1 which fits PC routers. This model John is calling the 1A and it is about 1" longer than the factory collet. When you decide to order be sure to use the link on the forums for a small discount. (just for being a member.) I set this up a couple years ago and it will save you a couple bucks.
None of the under the table adjusters or lifts are as fast as popping your router out of the table to make changes. Some people prefer them and that is fine; the goal is to be as comfortable as possible with your choices in how you use a router.[/QUOTE]
Mike, I had my previous table set up to lift out the router to change bits, but it doesn't work for making height adjustments as the fence is covering the plate. So I still had to reach under the table to unlock and adjust the height. With my Jessem lift I can make height adjustments without even shutting off the router.
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