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JEB's Tip and Tricks - ROUTER WRENCH

After adding an extension to my Table Saw a few years ago to use for a Router Table, I've been trying to come up with an easier way to change, raise and lower the bits. To change the bits, I have to pull the router out of the table. Adjusting the height of the bits is somewhat easier, since my table is open, I have access to the router and the adjusting knob. But raising and lower is a slow process, so I eventually, I wanted to come up with an easier way to both change bits, and to adjust them.

I did an extensive search on the 'net to see how other woodworkers had solved this issue, but I found that most had devised very complicated 'Divinci' type mechanical contraptions, and most are permanent. Since I don't leave my router in the table, I needed to come up with a much simpler, but effective way to accomplish the same goal. The solution I came up with came from one of those "A HA!" moments. My solution ended up being very low-tech, but very effective and easy to use.

My original goal was to come up with an adjusting method with a crank above the table going down to a mechinism attached to the threaded rod on the router similar to the aftermarket devices sold by several manufacturers. However, one evening while fiddling around with the best way to do it, It finally hit me that I could go with a much easier, low-tech way that wouldn't cost me a thing and that I wouldn't have to make any changes to my router or the table.

My solution? A simple home-made WRENCH! My router (a FREUD FT2000E), uses a simple threaded rod with a plastic knob as a means of raising and lowing the bit. To make this work for changing bits, I purchased a Collet Extension from MLCS Woodworking.com. Now I can raise the Collet Extension above the table to change bits, then using the Router Wrench again to lower the bit to the desired height for use. See the pics and instructions below to make one of your own!

Materials for making my Router Wrench:

2 pcs 3" x 3" - 3/4" thick scrap pine or plywood.
1 pcs 3" x 3" - 1/8" plywood or hardboard.
1 pc - 3/8" dia x 2 1/2" long hex head bolt.

Optional parts:

I used the 3/8" hex-bolt because I had one on hand. But if you're like me and have a drill or small driver dedicated to screwing (screws, nuts & bolts), you may want to consider using a hex shaft that you can quickly snap into your drill/driver.

Instructions for making Router Wrench:

1. Take all three pcs of wood, and mark center.
2. Draw 3" circle on all three pcs.
3. Drill 3/8" hole thru one of the 3/4" thick pcs, then insert bolt and make around hex-head.
Use chisel and take out enough wood so the head of the bolt is recessed, cut out circle, then inset bolt.
4. On 2nd 3/4" pc, trace the head of the routers adj knob in center, then cut out with scroll saw.
5. Glue all three pcs together, making a sandwitch with the thin pc in the center.
6. Clamp until glue is dry.


How to use my ROUTER WRENCH

Using my ROUTER WRENCH is pretty self explainatory, but I thought I'd mention a few things anyway:

First off, for safety sake - I would not recommend using a hi-powered drill that doesn't have any speed or torque adjustments. Doing so could either strip the nuts or threads on the rod of the router, or break or chew up the plastic knob. I recommend using a cordless drill/driver or one of the small low volt drivers (using the optional part I listed above).

Different brand routers - If you have a different brand of router than my Freud, you'll need to make the recess in the top disc of the wrench to fit the knob or adjusting device on your router.

Directions for use - To use my ROUTER WRENCH: 1) Install it in your cordless drill/driver; 2) make sure the speed and torque are set low; 3) set the recess end of the wrench over the router adjusting knob; 4) start the drill/driver and run it until the collet or bit are in the position desired. It's that easy!

If you have any comments or suggestions concerning this or any of JEB's TOOL TIP's, please send me an email at: tips@NOSPAMjebswebsite.com (you must remove NOSPAM before using the email address).


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