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Friday, March 23, 2012

Build a router lift

When I set out to make my router table, I decided early on that I wanted to include a router lift. It makes it easy to raise and lower the router without having to reach underneath, and bits can be changed from the top of the table.

Lots of lifts

I looked at a lot of different lifts. If you are ambitious, I highly recommend Matthaias Wandel's incredible tilting lift over at Woodgears.ca. Put simply, Mathhias is a genius. He puts a lot of work into his plans are they incredibly detailed and accurate. For $14, it's worth it.

On the other end of the home-made spectrum, Weekend Workshop on You Tube made an intriguing router lift using a car jack!

I decided to go in between these two and built a lift that was featured in issue 121 of Shop Notes magazine. It is a pretty simple concept, but was definitely a challenge to my skills. That's the kind of project I like. It works really well.

Shop Notes

I wanted to provide a link to the plan.

I contacted Shop Notes and strangely, they have no way to buy the plan online or even to buy the issue it was in! Uh, it was this year...January, 2012. Really old skool.

They have a lot of great projects and it seems to me like they are really missing the boat on this one. Even the Shop Notes web site is pretty lame. C'mon Shop Notes! Here's an opportunity to make some extra money.

So if you don't get Shop Notes and are interested in the plan, poke around a little. There are people selling back issues.


  1. Hi I tried to find it on their Plansnow site and it's not there either. Maybe being new theya haven't had time to list it yet. I took the easy way out and bought a Triton router with the build in lift system. But always like seeing alternatives.

  2. So you have been able to convince me that I need a router lift. I've been thinking for several years that I didn't need one. See what you've done . good build very informative.................dr rock

  3. Haha...yeah, I went back and forth a long time about it, but in the end just decided it will make my life easier in the future.

    Jerry: I have no idea why Shop Notes doesn't get out of the 20th century. Kinda crazy.

  4. Good job on this project. I guess I don't use my router in such a way that I need a lift for it. I use my router mainly for round-over, rabbets, and other stuff that I need to have the router in one position only. Again, you did a very good job.

  5. Every time you're spinning that ratchet I want you to think of this Steve:


    It drives a router here that I can computer control to 0.0000625 of an inch. This router:


    Pretty swank router clamp huh?

    I've made taps too:


    Your mechanical prowess does seem to be picking up some steam over there though Steve. If you're not careful you might have to rename your website someday.

    P.S. I liked the 20th century. Gas was a lot cheaper back then.

  6. Hey Bro. I was lucky enough to pick up that issue when it came out. After seeing it in action I'll give it a shot. As soon as i finish my table though. My table came out alot like yours. I used all scrap wood and old countertops. Spent only about $30 bucks total. Mostly for the electrical. I hooked up a small shop vac that sits underneath and turns on when the router is switched on. Thanks for all the great work you do.

  7. Jerry K. contact me at frank@synlube.net

  8. Steve excellent job a super looking lift. I live up here in STUMP NUBS LAND and between him you and mathias wandel i,am going to be building tools forever. did you make a plan for your lift to sell. I would by one if you did.

  9. Excellent job mate

    Can you do a quick vid on the router lift in action


    Aron from Downunder

  10. Really enjoyed that. Another great video.

  11. How does the lift attach to your insert plate?

  12. Steve, another awesome project. Just wish your vids were longer and more indepth... LOL
    I have been planning for a while to build a table with a lift system. Think I like your lift better than the one I was going to make http://americanwoodworker.com/blogs/projects/archive/2009/04/21/the-aw-shop-made-router-lift.aspx
    As for Kreg... good products, but yeah, some things in the packaging and shipping are not well coordinated. When I first bought my master K4 Kreg Jig, there was an issue, dont remember what it was but I emailed them and had a reply the same day and they took care of the issue very fast. So on the other side of that coin the customer service they offer is outstanding.

    Do you know about Kregs brother Marc? http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/st_about_marc.asp Have bought alot of cabinet hinges and other things from them, low prices and great customer support there too. Also some of the very best router bits I have ever used.

    Be well and cant wait until your next installment of entertainment.

  13. Every time you're cranking that ratchet just think of Paul's middle finger between the router than the bottom of the table and smile..........

  14. Great job on the lift Steve. I also made the ShopNotes lift, however I made the slot a little wider and added adjustment bolts to the edges of the posts to give me additional adjusted to help center the router to the center of the insert. You can see this at http://lumberjocks.com/projects/66370 .

    Thanks again for the great videos, Steve in Oregon

  15. While I agree that it sucks you can't get the plans online, you can get the issue it was in by calling 866.553.7514 and placing an order. Unfortunately, it's $8.95 shipped, but still better than not being able to get it at all. Your other alternative is to buy the ShopNotes first 120 issues on DVD for $99 and wait for the the free one year update to come out next January...

  16. This was very interesting to watch Steve. I wonder why the allthread ratchet-rod had to be so thick. Could it have been something much thinner? Also when it came to milling your own hex head on the top, I was thinking there must have been an easier way to do that. Maybe welding a nut to the top of it? Or perhaps two small nuts butted tight against each other so the ratchet would be able to go over both, which would allow for raising and lowering without moving them. What do you think of that idea? It would eliminate the irregular hex head you milled and the need to tax your dremel tool.

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  18. I will Like this plans Please. How Can I get one

  19. I have found a PDF of the plans, the entire issue, in fact. Anyone needs it, email me. darrenwright1973@yahoo.com

  20. I created some drawings in sketchup...they are as close to the plans in the Shop Note's issue. I messaged Steve with a download link to the plans and hopefully he can make them available for those who would like them.

  21. Hey Steve , nice job. You wouldn't to still have the plans to make this lift, because I would love to make one for mine. You can email it to me if u do. nutbushchris77@gmail.com. Thanks

  22. You can also buy the plans at http://www.woodsmithplans.com/plan/router-jig-router-lift/. They are only $9.95 and well worth it.

  23. Hi Steve,

    My name is Fabio and I have lots of fun in my small woodworking shop.

    I´ve built my Router Lift based only on your video (I don´t have the Shopnotes). It was working perfectly fine, until the day I decided to lubricate the nut + screw. Bad idea. Now when I turn the router on, the vibration makes the screw turn by itself, raising the router. I´ve tried to clean the oil, made a clamp, nothing seems to work. Any ideas ? Will I have to replace all the hardware ?

    Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil.

    Here is the link for the photos: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=F3936F993C9C3377!927&authkey=!AHhsVTWeaAT9kyw&ithint=folder%2c.jpg

  24. Hi everyone,

    If someone's interested, i've got a pdf copy of that ShopNotes issue, just email me.