I love Festool, they make exceptional power tools. But last weekend at the viking chest workshop we used a Festool router table – and you really wonder if parts of this weren’t designed during Oktoberfest. The biggest fallacy? The height adjustment mechanism. There’s a picture of it below. Okay, so it is basically a removable crank that locks into a hex-bolt in the table. Turning the crank adjusts the router blade up or down. Okay, so that’s fine when you’re setting a height, and running a piece of wood straight through the router.
What happens if you set up a jig to do a blind dado, which requires moving the wood back and forth, whilst increasing the height of the bit after each pass – *without* having to remove the wood? It is impossible, because the crank handle actually interfere’s with the wood, or rather the wood ends up covering the access hole. Other router tables have their height adjustment mechanisms on the side of the table, not in the middle of the table. Why not just a single pass to cut ¾” deep? In hard wood such as maple, that’s just not viable – a number of short passes will help prevent the router bit blowing out.
The solution for some applications? Build an extension crank out of a ratchet socket wrench.
Below you can see the crank in action, with a mortice being cut through the blind dado on the inside of the chest to support the tenon of the chest floor. After two increases in the bit height, the router bit pops through the top of the wood. So this design feature of the Festool router table is not exactly well thought out. Better to have a side crank, like the router table from JessEm.