Mounting The Router Lift in the New Top

In the last installment, I left off after screwing the two halves of the router table top together. In this installment I'll relieve the edges of the top and finish the corners, add some temporary legs, fix a problem with the router opening, install the hardware to level and secure the plate, and shim the insert plate.

Softening the Edges and Corners

Once I screwed the table together, I could finish rounding the corners. I used the Surform file to shape the corners until they were smooth and even.

Then I removed the T-track and relieved the edges of the top with a 1/8' round over bit chucked into my router. It was nice to be able to use my fixed base again since it was no longer mounted in my old router table. The router is much lighter and easier to control with this base rather than the plunge base.


Adding Temporary Legs

In order to mount the router lift in the top I temporarily attached the legs of my old router table to the new top. To aid placing the legs, I drew reference lines three inches from the edge of the top and aligned the legs where the lines intersected.


Enlarging the Router Opening

When I went to test the router lift in the assembled top, I found the router clamping mechanism stuck out past the elongated octagon that I had cut into the lower sheet.

I scribed the outline of the clamping mechanism on the bottom sheet and, rather crudely, removed the offending material with my Surform file.


Installing the Leveling Hardware

To secure the router lift, the plate has two counter-sunk holes. To provide the threads for the two bolts to hold on to, I planned on using T-nuts. So first I set the router lift in the recess and marked the location of the two holes, then I drilled through-holes wide enough for the shank of the T-nuts to fit into.

Since the screws that came with the lift were a little too short, I needed drill a counter bore to get the T-nuts closer to the plate. To support and center the Forstner bit, I drilled a 1" hole in a piece of scrap MDF and clamped that over the hole. This worked surprisingly well.


To level the plate I planned on using six 10-24 screws with jam nuts. I used two leveling screws on either side of the screws for securing the plate because I thought the plate might rock or warp when I tightened down the securing screws. The opposite corners only got one screw.

In the corners with a single screw I simply located the leveling screws at the corners of the box that circumscribes the stretched octagon. In the corners that needed two leveling screws I tried locating them equidistant from the edge and the securing screw.

To do less damage to the MDF, I used threaded inserts that screwed into the particle board rather than ones you press in.


Shimming the Insert

If there's one part of the router lift that I'm disappointed in, it has to be the plastic insert plates. They way too thin, and as a consequence they flex quite a bit.

In order to get the top of the insert flush with the rest of the plate, I needed to apply three layers of masking tape between the insert and the plate.

The insert flexing probably isn't a serious problem for larger pieces, pieces that are at least twice as long as the diameter of the insert opening, but putting to much downward pressure on smaller pieces will change the depth of cut.

I understand why they make the inserts slightly thinner than the opening, because it is easier to shim them rather than try to remove material evenly, but they clearly could have made the inserts thicker or out of a stiffer material. At least they could have added beefier ribbing.


Tools: Forstner, router table, Surform