Shopping for a Router and Router Table
Do you remember a few weeks ago when I talked about buying a new router with the profits from my furniture making exploits? Well, I decided to go for it, and when I went to Highland, I was really impressed with the Triton 2-1/4 HP plunge router.The thing I like best about this router is that you can crank the bit all the way up or down using the router handle. There is a ring inside the handle which, when depressed, allows you to move the bit up and down. You can move it a fraction of an inch, or you can move it the full range of motion in either direction. There is also a fine motion screw on top of the motor which operates for the full range of motion of the bit. When you crank the bit all the way down, a lock engages the collet and you can then use the wrench to remove or install the bit with one hand. It's a beautiful thing.
In addition, when you mount the router upside down in a table, there is a crank handle which fits through the top of the table and attaches to the crank mechanism on the router, which you can use to adjust the bit very precisely from above the table. When you need to change the bit, simply crank the bit all the way up (or would that be down?), it locks in place and you can change the bit with one hand from above the table. And with 2-1/4 HP, this thing will do pretty much everything you want to do in the average woodworking shop. (For heavy production work, there is also a 3-1/4 HP model.)About 15 years ago I made myself a wooden router table that was just awful. It is still sitting in the shop and almost never used because it was not well made and the router is very difficult to adjust from under the table. I'm going to throw it away this week. So while I was at the store looking at the routers, they also showed me their Kreg router tables. Kreg's basic model is a benchtop style which works very well with the Triton router.
I ended up buying
Kreg's deluxe precision floor mounted model. It comes with a set of very sturdy legs, which you can purchase wheels for if you like. The top is extremely stable, plenty big, and has a pattern of bumps on top of it that makes wood slide easily. It comes with a sophisticated precision fence, and has universal mounting hardware to fit most popular routers. When you drill a single hole in the right place in the top, then the crank handle that comes with the router will operate the height adjustment flawlessly. It effectively eliminates any need to buy one of those expensive third-party router lifts.
When you compare this total outfit price wise to one of those router lift mechanisms you see elsewhere, pricewise it comes out looking very good indeed. I really like this package, and am excited to have one in my workshop.