Router Table Upgrade

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Project by bko posted 03-03-2010 04:37 AM 6413 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For many years I used a Woodhaven plexiglass router table plate, but then I tried to use a large diameter panel raising bit and ran into trouble. The small hole in the plate made it impossible to use such a large diameter bit, so time for an upgrade!

My router is an old Hitachi TR-12 that runs great and still has a lot of life in it, so after briefly considering upgrading both the router and plate, I settled for a new lift plate from Woodpeckers that is designed for plunge routers like mine. My old plate was a funny size compared to today’s plates so I need to route out a larger recess.

My method was to pocket screw together some scraps (pre-finished plywood that I had around) in a four-way “star” configuration, and then use a flush cutting bit to route the recess. As seen in the second photo, I added some 3×5 cards to add clearance around the plate and clamped the scraps to the plate before shooting in the pocket screws. This worked great! I then clamped the “star” to the router table as shown in photo three.

I used a forstner bit to drill in the corners to get the cut started, and then used a trim router with a flush cutting bit to follow the edges of the “star” around. I had to do this in two passes, one with a short hinge mortising bit, and then another pass with a longer bearing-on-top flush trimming bit.

I like the new plate, it works great! The only problems I have are when I forget to unlock the plunge lock on the router and try to use the crank to adjust the height. I did have to drill holes in the plate since my old Hitachi does not have the same hole pattern as the current models. My only real complaint, and this minor, is after I ordered the plate and some insert rings for it, Woodpeckers changed the insert rings to be plastic rather than aluminum, so now I have a mix. I like the aluminum slightly better, but both work fine!

You can also see a bit of the router table fence I rebuilt last year with sliding MDF faces on T-track and an aluminum right-angle base. It is very sturdy now, and I like being able to close down the fence for small bits. The fence has dust collection and is backed by a first generation Incra Jig which I don’t use much but is occasionally handy to have.

8 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4786 days

#1 posted 03-03-2010 05:12 AM

very nice work, i have to get one of these!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 5006 days

#2 posted 03-03-2010 05:20 AM

Nice router template.
I use Woodpeckers plates also. I just wish they wouldn’t put so many useless start-up screw holes in those plates.

-- Router รจ ancora il mio nome.

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4686 days

#3 posted 03-03-2010 12:32 PM

Nice set-up you have…Have fun…

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View EEngineer's profile


1151 posts in 5111 days

#4 posted 03-03-2010 03:02 PM

Nice job!

I have the Woodpecker Quicklift and the quality is simply great. Sorry to hear that they are cheapening up the inserts.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3897 posts in 4935 days

#5 posted 03-03-2010 09:44 PM

I have an aluminum plate that I like but like you it didn’t accept the large raised panel bits. It was just a little to small. And it was the lip that held onto the ring insert that was slightly too large. So, I took my circle cutter and put it in the drill press, clamped the router plate to the table and slightly enlarged the hole. Aluminum cuts easily. Now the plate hole is large enough for my frued raised panel bits and with my new triton. I’m happy. Good to see you’ve found a solution.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4688 days

#6 posted 03-04-2010 09:02 AM

nice up grade!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View bko's profile


118 posts in 4514 days

#7 posted 03-04-2010 02:47 PM

Thanks for all the kind words, everyone!

To Daniel (Craftsman-on-the-lake), I did try using my drill press with a fly cutter circle cutter, but even on the lowest speed at light pressure, it cracked my old plexiglass router plate. This operation just did not seem safe to me without the rigidity of a milling machine to keep it under control.

I thought too about trying to route a larger opening in the plexi plate as well, but in the end, my old plate was pretty dinged up and the appeal of a new plate with above-the-table adjustment was pretty strong!

One other point, in the photos of the router, you can see that the old Hitachi’s had these metal ears that held an adapter for template guide bushing. Since the new plate had an insert designed to hold a guide bushing, and these metal ears were in the way when using larger bits, I just removed them using a Dremel and files. Now the hole is a full 3 1/2 inches and I can use the largest bits.

Since this is an older router, I have also added an external speed control to slow things down for such large bits! Works great, but I sometimes have to start the router at a slightly higher speed than I want and then slow it down to the right setting.

Thanks everybody!

View RouterManiac's profile


96 posts in 4778 days

#8 posted 03-08-2010 10:32 PM

I just love woodpeckers products! nice illustration of cutting it to fit your table.


-- Ken, Florida,

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