88, страница 8

88, страница 8


A quick 5-step

Router Tune-up

On some days, it seems like I turn my router on first thing in the morning and it only goes off with the lights at the end of the day. While this might be a stretch, I'm guessing you can relate to the value of a well-tuned router.

The emphasis here is on well-tuned, because when the router you depend on isn't working right, things can get frustrating real fast. That's why I make it a point to periodically give my router a quick "once over." This simple five-step tune-up only takes a few minutes and easily pays for itself in less wasted time and aggravation. The workhorse router in my shop is the Porter-Cable 690 shown in the photos, but the same basic steps apply to almost any router.

1. Height Adjustment

First, I turn my attention to the inside of the router base and the motor housing that slides into it. The problem is that after countless bit changes, height adjustments, and the cuts that follow, these two parts get roughed up and covered with grime. Once this happens, you can forget about making the quick, accurate height adjustments that you rely on.

But solving this problem is pretty simple. First, take some fine sandpaper or an abrasive pad and use it to remove the accumulated grime, scratches, and burrs from the motor housing (photo above). Next, do the same to the inside of the base. A small wire brush will get into the grooves in the base that can get caked with dust. And after wiping down the motor and base, a light coat of spray lubricant completes the job.


8 ShopNotes No. 88

▲ Out With the Old. The bolt is bent, the knob chewed up and the threads are wearing out.

▲ In With the New. An inexpensive solution is to upgrade to an easy-to-grip, lever-type lock.

The next step is to inspect the mechanism used to lock the motor in place after you adjust the bit height. For most routers, this means tightening a knob and bolt to clamp the base snugly around the motor. Ideally, firm finger pressure should be all that's needed to tighten or loosen the knob — no pliers. And when tightened, the motor shouldn't budge.

Cleaning and lubrication with some light grease is the first step. This will often free up a sticky mechanism. But with heavy use, this is one part of a router that just plain wears out. So if on inspection, your lock is starting to look like the one in the photo at left, don't take a chance. You can replace or upgrade the lock and not have to worry about surprise height changes.

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