Router Crank

Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Wood Profits by Jim Morgan

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Adjust the plunge router in your router table the same way you adjust the blade height in your table saw: by turning a crank. It's fast, smooth, precise. And when you make your own, it's economical.

Tambour Door Crank

It's a good-news, bad-news cliché.The good news is that, mounted in a table, the plunge router provides the means to adjust bit extension very precisely and without the sideplay that plagues many fixed-base routers.The bad news is that, mounted in a table, the plunge router can be a wrist wrenchcr to adjust.

To extend the bit for a cut, you may need to twist your wrist about 20 to 30 times. Then to lower the router enough to expose the collet so you can change bits, you have to twist that wrist another 30 to 40 times in the other direction. If building forearms like Popeye's is one of your ancillary goals.have at it. If not, try this gizmo.

It's a shop-made variation on the familiar height-adjustment knob that most woodworkers use on table-mounted plunge routers. Instead of giving you a knob to twist, this device gives you a crank to work. Suddenly, raising and lowering your table-mounted router's bit is as simple as raising or lowering your table saw's blade.

This is one of those conccpts that's obvious and simple. I had thought about it, yet I didn't actually believe it would work until I had a chance to try out a router table built by master woodworker Nick Engler. Nick's router was fitted with a crank almost exactly like the one shown here, and it moved that router slick as could be. Oh my, 'twas almost magical.

Now you can go two ways on this.You can make a fixture quickly and install it on your router, and it will work okay but never as slick as Nick's. OR you can make a fixture with care, and, before installing it on the router, you can super-tune the router's adjustment mechanisms. Then you'll have something. But the fact of the matter is that the router itself is the linchpin. If the plunge mechanism is stick)' and the depth-stop rod is misaligned, no knob or crank will be able to make bit adjustments easy.

So that good-news, bad-news cliché winds all the way through.The good news is, your bit adjustment troubles are over. The had news is, you gotta tune that router of yours.

Using the Fixture

While it is simple in concept, this fixture needs to be fitted pretty precisely to the router if it is to work as slick as you want it to. I'm going to flip-flop the usual chapter format in this instance, because I think telling you how the fixture works will make it easier for you to understand why you need to make it the way I describe below.

All the crank is is a wooden column bored to fit over the router's height-stop rod. A nut is epoxied into the end of the column. And of course there's that crank atop the column.

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On a table-mounted router, the crank expedites bit-extension adjustments. No more wrist wrenching. It's now as easy as adjusting your table saw's blade. Just turn that crank and watch the bit move.

ROUTER CRANK EXPLODED VIEW

Knob

Crank plate

Table Saw Router Extension

Coupling nut

Column

Cutting List

Part

Qty. Dimensions

Material

Column plies

2 Ya" X 1 'A" X 1 2-

Hardwood

Crank plate

1 VA" X \Ya" X AYA"

Hardwood

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