Stumpy Nubs Router Lift

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Project by Combo Prof posted 07-12-2017 11:58 PM 4588 views 5 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I looked over many DYI plans for router lifts, including shop notes and Matthias Wandle’s among others. Stumpy’s use of ball bearing slides is the clear winner. See his plans here. Worth the $5. James even puts in a mistake to keep you on your toes. If I were to rebuild this I would beef up parts LLSB and ULSB to 3/4” that retain the “lift nuts” and move the carriage.


  1. Lock down knob. It may not be necessary for the operations I do, but it trues up the bit to square.
  2. HF router controller attached via (multiple) layers of double sided tape (the good stuff).
  3. Dust collection port is a 4 inch hole. Turns out that a Rockler Dust Right® 4'' Tool Port will fit this hole almost exactly. Just remove the band clamp, flex the rubber end and slip it in.
  4. Accessories. I use a very cool Frank Mossberg Company No 358 ratcheting 1/2 inch speed drive and a socket to raise and lower the carriage. A friend of mine with a cnc router cut the rings out of 1/4 inch aluminum and bent the No. 17 collet wrench with torch and hammer. I need to make a box to hold the accessories.

Router is a drill master from HF I had purchased for an earlier project. I will upgrade to a better router if and when this router fails, but it looks like it will last a long time. When I get some time I will add a fence and maybe put it into a table. But I usually will just keep a round over bit in it and won’t need a fence. Also see:

Click for details

for another recent Stumpy Nubs Router lift project. And buy Stumpy Nubs plans to keep James in supply of cold ones.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

16 comments so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


7229 posts in 3377 days

#1 posted 07-13-2017 03:33 AM

Looks good, works well? While I do have a router table I also have an extra router I wouldn’t mind using for a dedicated roundover bit. Gives me a few ideas how to go about it. Thanks for posting.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Woodknack's profile


13543 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 07-13-2017 05:55 AM

I like the compactness of it.

-- Rick M,

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


15931 posts in 2106 days

#3 posted 07-13-2017 11:02 AM

Very nice build Don! I like how it can stand alone or be dropped into a table later on for bigger work if you decide to go that way.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Combo Prof's profile (online now)

Combo Prof

4543 posts in 2245 days

#4 posted 07-13-2017 12:17 PM

woodbutcherbynight. It works great. I have used it several times. Has great below the table dust collection.
I set it on top of a downd draft table and that takes care of the rest of the dust.

Rick M. Me too.

HokieKen. I like that it is portable and can just be picked up set on the bench or on the down draft table or take it out side, etc. Or even later put it into a table. Beats the old craftsman table I used to have before the genius that invented the first table lift. I sold that old table for $3 last week.

Also I did not mention it, but it would be easy to have different table tops dedicated to different tasks, but I have not explored that idea.

Now I search for better 1/2 inch router bits. I only have the 10 piece wood river set.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View JRsgarage's profile


389 posts in 1477 days

#5 posted 07-13-2017 03:44 PM

very cool. looks handy

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3834 days

#6 posted 07-13-2017 04:30 PM

Stumpy, this is a nice design.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View StumpyNubs's profile


7837 posts in 3768 days

#7 posted 07-13-2017 05:48 PM

Nice job!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Combo Prof's profile (online now)

Combo Prof

4543 posts in 2245 days

#8 posted 07-13-2017 06:00 PM

JRsgarage, It is very handy.

helluvawreck, Best design on the web.

StumpyNubs, Thanks. We should talk.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View Upgrayedd's profile


129 posts in 2150 days

#9 posted 07-14-2017 02:42 PM

This is awesome, I hadn’t seen it until now.

Just curious did you consider John Heisz new model? He posted it on June 18, so you may of had your mind already made up by then.

Also for fellow jocks… which do you think is the best out there – John Heisz, StumpyNubs or other?
Thanks in advance for the help!

-- Upgrayedd - spelled thusly, with two Ds, for a double dose of this pimping.

View Combo Prof's profile (online now)

Combo Prof

4543 posts in 2245 days

#10 posted 07-14-2017 04:07 PM

Upgrayedd I looked at a similar version to that using the same lift mechanism, but I think the Stumpy Nub Lift is more practical and is simpler in mechanical design. Thus I think will be less prone to mechanical failure. I worry that the John Heisz “sliding part” will clog and stick over time. But only time will tell. I think the diagonal slot to lift the router may be due to Jay Bates. At least he has a 2014 video on it. If it were combined with ball bearing drawer slides it may be excellent. However the diagonal trick is only useful if you want to drive with a horizontal crank or power it with an electric motor. I liked the simplicity of the Stumpy Nubs design, because (1) all operations were above the table, (2) it is compact and (3) can be carried to where it is needed. In the Bates/Heisz design to turn the horizontal screw your turing tool has to extend below the box bottom, making it difficult to just have a box you can pick it up and set on the workbench. I thing I may recess the router controller some how to make it even more compact. But modifications will have to wait until after the shop move. I am happy for now.
It would be good to compare them side by side.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View deebee's profile


21 posts in 2196 days

#11 posted 07-18-2017 09:43 PM

I also ordered these plans, and built the router lift, but am totally unsatisfied with it. Nowhere in the 10 minute video presentation of this tool did I hear it explained that in addition to everything else required, a set of insert rings would be needed (and the wrenches bent into a certain configuration) in order to access the router and change the bits. <grrrrr>.

Sadly, I do not have a friend with a CNC who could produce the necessary aluminum rings for me. I ordered the set of 11” drawer slides necessary and waited for them to arrive, finished the assembly, (after ordering a phenolic plate to use as the top), then discovered that without the access rings the box would basically need to be disassembled in order to change bits, .....and I decided that I had thrown enough money down the hole over this thing, and gave up.

I modified the plans (the way the lift parts are configured) so as to get the absolute maximum lift on the router (gaining maybe 1/2” more upward travel) to bring the collet as high as possible, but it is still not possible for me to change bits with a pair of wrenches without taking the cabinet apart.

Stumpy has a SEPARATE video (i found later) showing how to cut a LARGER hole in the top plate and install a set of insert rings, but he makes it seem as if that step is optional. For me, it is not an ‘option’ but a requirement. I just wish he’d have communicated that it WOULD be necessary to have the larger insert rings in order to change bits. I disgustedly threw the thing under a bench somewhere where it sits unused, collecting dust. One of these days I will disassemble the cabinet and retrieve my router.

I had planned to build several of the other tools Stumpy shows on his website, (the thickness sander would be terrific to have) but after this experience I am not overly confident in Stumpy’s engineering/communicating skills.

-- Dan B. , Missouri

View Combo Prof's profile (online now)

Combo Prof

4543 posts in 2245 days

#12 posted 07-18-2017 11:27 PM

For many many years I used a router table with no insert rings. So rings are indeed not required. (You just need to leave a big enough hole to get the wrenches in.) If you purchase a good router as James does suggest, for example a porter cable, then an offset wrench is easy to purchase. I had an odd wrench size so that is why I had to have it bent. Lastly You can put a hinge on the back of the table top so that it can be lifted when you need to change the bits. I was not planning to have rings made until my friend suggested he could do it. I think he was just interested in using the university CNC router in his lab for it.

Sorry to hear you are having trouble.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View StumpyNubs's profile


7837 posts in 3768 days

#13 posted 07-19-2017 02:13 AM

deebee- I am very sorry to hear about your difficulty. I am not sure when you got your version of the plans, but it is true that the very first version did have a small hole in the top. Of course, the simple solution was to make the hole larger, but shortly after that, we produced a video which solved the problem. You mentioned it in your comment, but what you didn’t mention is the video doesn’t require you to have access to a CNC to make the inserts. You can buy inexpensive ones from Rockler and likely other sources as well- as the video said. And it is a simple task to retrofit your lift to add that feature. I admit that this update may not have been noted in your version of the plans, but it has been on our YouTube channel and on our website (on the same page where you bought the plans) for a long time. And if you are a member of our email list, it was in our e-magazine too. I think it may be worthwhile to retrieve your lift from under the bench and make the modification. :)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Matt's profile


37 posts in 2934 days

#14 posted 12-04-2017 05:22 PM

Does anyone know if this router lift would work with the cast iron bench dog router table that fits on the side of a table saw?

-- Matt, Pennsylvania

View StumpyNubs's profile


7837 posts in 3768 days

#15 posted 12-04-2017 05:27 PM

It would work, I suppose. But if you’re investing $350 in a cast iron router table wing, I’d go all out and get a lift that’s made for it.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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