Shop-Built Router Lift

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Project by Peter Oxley posted 02-01-2012 07:43 AM 38840 views 79 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s my version of the Router Lift from ShopNotes #121. I followed the plans for the most part, with a couple of changes:
  • My Milwaukee 5625 Router is too big for the plans, so I had to scale and stretch the design a bit
  • I used 3/4”-10 threaded rod instead of 3/4”-16 the plans called for
  • I didn’t put knobs on the clamp bolts – I don’t plan to take the router out of the lift very often
  • I made a knob for the bottom end of the lift screw so I could adjust from below if I wanted
  • I made the drive head 7/16” instead of 1/2”
A couple of things I would do differently if I were building it again:
  • I’d use jam nuts instead of Nylocs
  • I’d drill into the end of the rod and tap the hole for a bolt, rather than filing the threaded rod

The 10 TPI rod is just about perfect as far as I can tell. The router travels up and down reasonably quickly, but very fine height adjustments are still very easy.

Rather than dedicate a ratchet, extension, and socket to the lift, I went by the BORG and picked up a cheap T-handle hex-drive ratchet and plugged a 7/16” nut driver in it (fourth picture). The lift is very easy to adjust with either the T-handle or the knob.

The fifth picture is my router throat plate, which is getting quite a collection of holes! The four big holes in the square pattern are from the Milwaukee base, the four screw heads towards the corners are for this router lift, and the zinc hex is the adjustment screw. I was going to replace this plate with an aluminum plate, but for $65, I decided this one could hold out a little longer.

Construction is of Baltic Birch ply and Hard Maple, plus hardware.

Here’s another project based on the same plans …
Click for details

——- EDIT 02/01/2012——-
If you are building this lift, drill out the countersinks for the clamp bolts before cutting the tapers on the carriage. It’s much easier to align and control the bit when drilling into a flat surface than into a sloped surface.

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14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117688 posts in 4024 days

#1 posted 02-01-2012 07:59 AM

Looks great Peter a very useful tool.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3335 days

#2 posted 02-01-2012 02:10 PM

Nice job. This is going in my favorites file.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3522 days

#3 posted 02-01-2012 03:59 PM

It looks like you did a very good job on this. Congratulations.

You obviously did this in lieu of buying a router lift. If you are willing, I am curious to know your estimate as to how many hours of labor you put into this project.

Second curiosity – Can you raise and lower this with a hand held drill and the right socket?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View kaschimer's profile


89 posts in 2837 days

#4 posted 02-01-2012 05:36 PM

This seems so much better than relying on the adjustment options that came with the router… going on my to-do list…

-- Steve, Michigan - "Every piece of work is a self portrait of the person who accomplished it - autograph your work with excellence!" - Author unknown

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3418 days

#5 posted 02-01-2012 05:51 PM

I bought that issue of ShopNotes just for this jig.

Glad to see someone made it and appreciate the comments of changes made especially.

Nice work.

View Ken90712's profile


17701 posts in 3636 days

#6 posted 02-01-2012 07:06 PM

Great work on this build. I have shopenotes and remember reading this. One of the better magazines out there. This should serve you well.

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

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4322 days

#7 posted 02-01-2012 10:19 PM

Thanks, everyone!

@richgreer – Thanks for the questions. As for how long it took … I built this over the course of about a week, in and among other projects. I have a pretty complete shop, so I don’t have to spend much time figuring out how to do things. I probably have a total of 6-8 hours in it. A lot of that was shaping the hex on the shaft, messing with the nyloc nuts, and aligning and adjusting the mechanism. Operation … the lift operates very easily and smoothly. When I was tuning it out, I ran the lift up and down repeatedly with the cordless drill. It ran so easily, I had to be careful not to run the carriage into the limits. So using a drill is definitely an option.

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View billybonkers's profile


17 posts in 2753 days

#8 posted 02-02-2012 06:32 AM


View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3933 days

#9 posted 02-02-2012 06:51 AM

I agree, when I saw the part about filing a hex shape into the top of the threaded rod, I thought slow down, let’s think about this part of the plan for a minute… Otherwise, very doable, as you just demonstrated. good job.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4322 days

#10 posted 02-02-2012 04:13 PM

@davidroberts – I had the same reaction about filing the hex: there has to be a better way. I saved a little time by removing most of the waste with a hacksaw and then filing to the final shape, but in hindsight I still think threading a bolt into the end of the rod would be a better solution.

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View dmmflys's profile


43 posts in 2845 days

#11 posted 02-18-2012 06:49 PM

I haven’t seen the plans but from what I can imagine from what I have read here … could you just use a nut and weld it to the rod??? That is if you have a welder or you could even bring it to a shop they wouldn’t charge you much for something like that especially comparing it to the amount time it sounds like it takes to machine the rod end.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3314 days

#12 posted 02-19-2012 01:19 PM

Very nice job. It looks like it will work great.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4322 days

#13 posted 02-20-2012 05:03 PM

@dmmflys – sure, you could weld a nut to the end of the rod. Placing the nut in the center and keeping it from moving while you welded could be an issue. Most shops have a minimum charge, and it probably wouldn’t be cost effective to pay that charge for such a small job.

An epoxy like JB weld would probably work, too. I’m always amazed at how well that stuff holds!

Still, if I were doing it again, I’d drill, tap, and insert a bolt. Easy to center, tools I have on-hand, probably 10 minutes.

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View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3933 days

#14 posted 02-24-2012 04:20 AM

Peter, I agree, tap one, be done. 99% of the time, ShopNotes hits it out of the ball park. I could make a hobby of just building their jigs. On rare occasion a design will slip through the cracks and I just stare and say WTF.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

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