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Farm Labourer

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I've had my home-made table router for over 20 years and have recently begun to use it more. However, the old Bosch GOF1300ACE router is very tired (it's done enough work in and out of the table to pay for itself several times over) and needs replacing.

My predicament is as follows; I've been offered an old Jessem router lift and a s/h 1/2" router. However I quite like the idea of a router lift with a spindle motor rather than a router.

Does anyone have any opinions on the various lift/spindle options available - they do seem to vary quite a bit in price and of course are all brands that are new to me?

Thank you.

FL
 

Spectric

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Hi

This is something I have played with and had many lines of thought. The AUK routers are the right design for use in a table rather than fitting a normal handheld router into one unless you want to keep taking it out so you can use it both handheld and in the table. The downside is they are 1.8Kw and for some jobs may be under powered but offer several advantages such as easy speed control and easy height adjustment when fitted in a lift. I ended up going for the Triton which is 2.4Kw and the height can be adjusted from above the table but not as smooth as a decent lift plate. I modified the Triton so that I can leave the on/off switch always on and use a remote switch which overcomes one issue but it's speed control requires a mirror to read which can be a pain. Then you have cost, an AUK and decent plate will set you back £800 compared to £190 for Incra plate and Maglock rings plus £200 for the router. Then you need fence and the rest, it can all add up but it depends what you expect and want to pay. Look at Router Table for Small Shop which shows Mikes router table and is a good example of what can be done and also
which shows an elaborate workbench with router built in.
 

Hornbeam

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I have the Jessem with AUK system from Peter Sefton in a home made table. Really nice piece of kit, My only comments are
The table is only as accurate as the fence so you need to make or buy a micro adjustable fence.
The position of the raise lower directly in front of the cutter means that you cannot raise or lower the cutter when it is in the cut
There is no spindle lock on the motor so it 2 spanners to change cutters. Not a big issue
I have had it about 2 years and am generally very pleased. Never felt it was underpowered but you can just adjust how much you take per pass
Ian
 

Ollie78

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That AUK one is sold under several brands, different colours etc but they appear identical in spec. A few years ago I bought one from Rutlands ( blue ) on one of the special offers with the lift and motor.
Just checked they are a different colour now and £299 for the kit, a bit more than I paid.

I already had a table set up with an old triton 2kw router and an Incra fence but no lift setup so it was a bit annoying.
I rebuilt the router table top as there was no way to use the original one.

I do like the way you can just raise and lower the bit with just the turn of a crank handle, this does make life much easier and is quite accurate, the motor is powerful and not too noisy. The speed control is good.
It comes with proper collets with that sort of double locking where it unlocks turns freely a bit then you need to turn one more hard bit and they pop out (don`t know the name).
Now, my first motor did burn out at random and I was not working it hard either, but to their credit Rutlands replaced it under warranty and the new one has been fine for a couple of years now.
The only other problem is that my router plate is not 100% flat, it has a very slight crown in the centre, this has not proved to be a massive problem but it does bug me a bit.

Overall worth the money at £300 inc lift and better than my old Triton by a good bit.

If I build another router table I will go full on mental and use a 3kw water cooled spindle with vfd on a custom home made lift with proper linear guides and a servo motor for the height control then just add a DRO with auto zero lazer and away we go routing in luxury. The design is swimming around my head.

Ollie
 

gcusick

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I too bought the motor/lift combination fro Rutland when it was on offer for less tha £300. The motor looks similar to the AUK one, but I can’t comment on the relative quality of bearings etc. If I remember correctly the rated power is 2kW; it has always seemed powerful enough for my needs.

The lift is convenient, with the adjustment by a crank handle at the side of the table. Means that, with care, it’s possible to do some plunge cuts. It ought to be possible to replace the gearing and crank handle with a stepper motor and belt arrangement, for the ultimate luxury!

I’ve fitted a Musclechuck, that saves all the faffing with spanners, and also brought the speed control potentiometer out on a cable, and fitted it in a box with the NVR switch, so the speed adjustment is on the front of the table.
 

Hornbeam

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One of the reasons I went for the AUK/Jessem set up was to get away from having to buy a collet extension as the further you are extended below the bearing the more strain you are putting on the bearing. I did consider a muscle chuck but at the moment I have got used to the spanners,
I believe there is quite a difference in the speed control mechanism on teh AUK compared with the Rutland and quite a lot of the early Rutland ones had problems
 

gcusick

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I’d be surprised if there were significant differences in the speed controller between Rutland, AUK, and other similar (identical) looking brands. The presence of a cable gland on the remote-controlled AUK in place of the speed control knob is a bit of a giveaway! Only real way to tell is to dismantle an AUK unit for comparison. If you’re offering......!

The Rutland controller is a pretty conventional triac circuit, with a speed sensor at the ‘rear’ end of the shaft. My first thought was to move the whole speed controller out of the motor body, but that would lose the speed feedback.

Based on my sample of Rutland motors, I’ve seen no real problems. But then, as my old boss (a whiz with statistics) used to say “All Indians walk in single file. At least, the one I saw did.”
 

NDRiley

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I recently bought the Rutland lift and motor and fitted it in a homemade table based (strongly) on the Norm Abram deluxe design (pics below). I think the Rutland normally goes for £400 but got mine for £300. Power is either 2.4kw or 1.8kw depending on which bit of the (largely incomprehensible) manual you read! Plenty for me. I had been looking on eBay for a secondhand standard router of similar power to build into a table but they seemed to be going for silly money so it wasn’t a huge jump in cost to get the Rutland, with the added benefit of the plate and lift included.

Most of the wood for mine came from offcuts so all in it cost me c.£500. For what I’ve now got that is a pretty sound investment for me. It also extracts really well when hooked up to my 4” workshop extraction system.

I have not used it extensively yet but so far I’m pretty impressed - subject to the niggles below. Motor is fairly quiet and smooth with a soft start up. Plate seems rock solid and flat.

The only niggle so far is the way the crank attaches to the lift. If the bolts holding the mech together are tightened the gears mesh so firmly that the mechanism locks up. Those bolts need to be slackened a long way to get the gears to work. The result is a sloppy fit which rattles a bit when in use. It all works fine and shouldn’t cause long term issues hopefully but it strikes me as a bit of a bodged design which lets the rest of the motor/lift assembly down.

the other niggle is the crank handle is fixed in position with a couple of grub screws. If the required height of the cutter is achieved by a crank position anywhere between 10 and 2 o’clock then the handle is above the level of the table which would require the handle to be removed to feed larger pieces. Again, a pretty basic design failure which could have easily been anticipated and rectified with minimal thought and effort.

I raised these issues with Rutland and got a pretty unsatisfactory response - along the lines of that’s just the way it is.

Clearly this is a much cheaper and less refined piece of kit than the Jessem or equivalent, so on that basis I’m happy to live with the niggles.
D687861E-35A9-4B39-8E1C-1FDD38D39513.jpeg
D9AE7E15-2DC9-4D1E-B2BF-E4D8CFE1F0F7.jpeg
 

gcusick

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Yes, I agree with NDR’s comments re some of the design stupidities in the Rutland lift. If I remember correctly (it’s a while since I assembled the lift), the mesh in the gears can be adjusted by slackening the grub screw holding the bevel gear on to the control shaft. They’re pretty crude gears anyway, but you can at least get everything tightened up. Fundamentally, the lift seems reasonably well engineered: it’s certainly rigid enough.
 

Farm Labourer

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Gosh - thank you. Lots to ponder there, I've been looking at both AUK and Rutland - I bought an inexpensive biscuit jointer from Rutlands and frankly wish I'd spent a few more quid as it's not wonderful, so that has certainly coloured my judgement on Rutland quality.

Hornbeam, you wrote
The table is only as accurate as the fence so you need to make or buy a micro adjustable fence.
- can you please expand on that and perhaps send pics of a micro-adjustable fence and how it's used.

I don't think I need an electrical powered lift but the idea is now resonating!
 

Ollie78

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the other niggle is the crank handle is fixed in position with a couple of grub screws. If the required height of the cutter is achieved by a crank position anywhere between 10 and 2 o’clock then the handle is above the level of the table which would require the handle to be removed to feed larger pieces. Again, a pretty basic design failure which could have easily been anticipated and rectified with minimal thought and effort.
On mine I just tightened the grub screw so the handle can slip in and out quite easily and locktite it, if the handle is in the way I can just pull it out and turn it a bit.
 

NDRiley

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On mine I just tightened the grub screw so the handle can slip in and out quite easily and locktite it, if the handle is in the way I can just pull it out and turn it a bit.
Hi Ollie, good idea - I hadn't thought of locktiteing the grub screw in place - I will try that. Just a shame they didn't think to put a square (or hexagonal) section of rod on the crank handle with the equivalent internal section on the bar coming off the lift assembly.
 

NDRiley

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ND Riley - where did you obtain the plans for the Norm Abrams table?
I paid for the download from the New Yankee website:

I probably could have come up with a design myself based on free sources but it saved me a lot of time and took out the guess work as its the first router table I've made. The plans combined with the youtube videos of Norm Abrams making a table to this design made it all fairly striaghtforward. The trickiest bit by far was doing the cutout for the plate to fit as tightly as I wanted. Unfortunately Norm rather skips over this crucail stage in the plans and the video! I've yet to add the selection of drawers that are in the plans (and likely never will). I also haven't lipped the top in oak and probably won't do that either.

As you alude to above - I've also had hit and miss experiences with Rutlands stuff. My latest fail from them is a 2.5" to 4" hose transition piece - the little end is fine with an external diameter of 2.5" but the big end has an internal diameter of just under 4" so a 4" hose doesn't fit inside or outside! How hard can it be.
 

gcusick

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Yes, I’ve had mixed experiences with Rutland. Most of their stuff is OK - no prizes, but it does the job, and the price is sensible - but I have had some things from them that are absolute cr*p. I’ve chosen to put those down to experience!

Dust hose adaptors - the bane of my life. I’ve now got a basic 3d printer, and I’m working my way through the tools and hoses. Wouldn’t it be good if there were some (international) standards!
 

Hornbeam

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Please find a couple of photos of teh fence set up.. It is all made from 18mm birch ply.
The cheeks are adjustable so can slide in/out for different size cutters
For fine adjustment there is a second clamping bar behind the main fence which is attached to the main fence with 6mm diameter X 1mm pitch studding and 2 knurled thumb nuts. For fine adjustments. Lock the bar down and then adjust. For most applications, the fence doesnt have to be parallel so you can just adjust on one side, this effectively halves the movement of the fence at the cutter.
I would also invest in a number of insert rings
 

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Farm Labourer

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ND Riley & Hornbeam - thank you both, very helpful. As an aside I'm in the process of making a box out of some beautifully figured hornbeam!
 

MikeJhn

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Surprised no one has mentioned the UJK and table, essentially the same product: UJK Router Elevator, plus it's a four post lift, the table has all of the suggested attributes including the available micro adjustment of the fence, the best modification I did to mine was to V grove the inside ends on the movable fence and make various zero inserts to fit in the V grove for each of my most used bits.
 

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