Above Table Router Bit Changes - *PICS*


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Garrett in Victoria BC CA

Established Member
4 Dec 2005
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Yesterday at the end of my post on making a router lift, I promised a follow-up on making bit changes above the table. If your router has a spring-loaded, push-button loc for the quill, a wish can quickly become reality.

(Quick apologia: I know that the UK has switched to metric. Unfortunately, Canada got halfway there and had to stop when the USA backed out of its commitment to convert. As a result, we operate in both systems. At my age and stage, I prefer to continue woodworking in Imperial measure. This, of course, is reflected in my postings, and I hope this does not cause undue difficulty for anyone wishing to adapt some of these projects.)

Here’s how this little enterprise was carried out:


The components are a ‘key’ made from a 1/2” dowel and a nail, and a key-way from a large washer. (Had I thought this through just a tad more before engaging gears, I would have avoided a bit of over-kill, since I added a second washer unnecessarily.) What follows is the one-washer version.

Drill 3 or 4 matching 3/16” holes in the perimeter of the washer. The one I found in the scrap box had holes with a couple of flats that I ignored. I marked the centre line and used a file to create a keyway on either side of the hole. (Washers are soft so the filing goes quickly.) Ignore the top washer in the photo below.


Measure the distance from the depressed lock button on the router to the front of the cabinet apron, and mark it on a piece of ½” dowel, adding 1/8” to compensate for the 1/8” washer.

With the washer screwed in place, insert the dowel, rotate the quill until the dowel can depress the locking button, and mark the rear edge of the key-way washer on the dowel. Withdraw the dowel and drill a transverse hole through it at the mark, sized to a press fit for a short piece of nail. You now have the key.

With the key back in position, gently push and turn until the pins pass through the keyway, and depress the locking button. Another quarter turn and the pins rest against the back of the washer, thus maintaining the lock. The pressure of the spring in the router’s button should be sufficient to hold the key in place, so now measure and cut a block to slip easily between the dowel and the underside of the table. Mark the edges of the dowel on the block. Withdraw the block and attach a copper pipe clamp or a piece of strapping to the block, and drill a couple of through holes to be able to screw it to the underside of the table,

Withdrew the key, slipped it through the clamp - loose fit - and again use it to lock the quill. Holding the block in place, drill a couple of pilot holes in the underside of the top using the holes in the block as guides. Two screws and the job is done.

For elegance, add a second set of pins to the key. This requires another transverse hole at 90° to the first and a little closer to the router end, plus another piece of nail. Since this pin is always on the back side of the washer, it ensures the key cannot slip out accidentally.



With a knob turned from a scrap of teak, we now have above-the-table-bit changing made easy. Operation couldn’t be easier. Unplug the router, remove the insert rings, and raise the router to the top. While using the wrench to turn the quill, put gentle pressure on the key until it depresses the lock, and rotate the key a quarter turn. Now change the bit with no need to crouch, and both hands above the table. (My right hand is operating the camera.)


Fantastic! I've been using this modification regularly for a couple of months. I could never go back to crouching under the table or having to haul the insert and router out of the table to accomplish such a simple task. And, so often.

A final note: develop and follow a routine that ensures each step is completed in turn INCLUDING releasing the key before plugging the router back on. DAMHIKT.

Cheers, Garrett


This forum is the biz. Fantastic solution to a pesky problem. Added to the project list accordingly. Cheers.