JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Unboxing and Installation

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Blog entry by Marty Backe posted 08-13-2014 06:10 AM 6283 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In the above video I do an unboxing of the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II router lift that I recently bought. After showing what’s in the box, I fabricate a new router table top and install the lift. I conclude with some observations of its accuracy.

New Top
My existing router table is shop made, but the existing router plate opening won’t fit the JessEm lift, so I need to make a new top.

Most of my shop cabinets have a 1” thick melamine top. This material is very stout (much more so than the typical 3/4” melamine). You can usually find it at lumber yards that sell sheet goods.

Here I’m gluing 1/4” poplar edging on the 24”x36” top.

I trimmed most of the edging flush with the top by using my jack and block planes

A Practice Run
Before cutting a hole in my new top, I did a practice run in a piece of scrap. This way I could validate my approach for routing a tight opening for the lift.

I used a drill and jigsaw to rough out the opening.

Then straightened the edges with a router

To route an exact opening, I created a template out of 3/4” Baltic birch plywood, joined with pocket screws

And here’s the result – a perfect fit

A Mistake!
Except for the corners. I had measured the corner radius of the JessEm plate at 5/8”, and then ordered a 5/8” diameter router bit. Ug! Of course I should have ordered a 1-1/4” diameter bit.

Except for that, the installed plate looked good, so I opted to press ahead with the same bit in the actual top. Otherwise I would have waited another week to get the correct bit, and spend $35. Every time I use the router table this will be a good reminder to me to pay attention to radius vs diameter.

The Final Top
On to making the hole in the real top

I used double-sided tape to attach the practice piece to the top so that I could route the initial opening.

A transfer punch was used to transfer the mounting hole locations from the practice top to the actual top.

Then I attached the template (with double-sided tape) to the top and routed the final opening

Installation Of New Top
Time to disassemble the old top

And attachment of new top

Watch the video for commentary on the quality of the router lift.

4 comments so far

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2274 days

#1 posted 08-14-2014 03:31 PM

Nice work and nice gear, thanks for posting.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 3497 days

#2 posted 08-15-2014 01:34 AM

I don’t know which one I bought exactly but it looks exactly like that one. BUT, mine came with all the different sized inserts and they are Metal, and they are magnetically attached to the router plate. I can’t think of a better router setup. I put a picture of mine on another post. You’ll see them on the side of the stand. Mine is gold whereas yours is red…hmm…I just bought it a rockler a couple of weeks ago.

-- LAS,

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 2975 days

#3 posted 08-15-2014 04:23 AM

Apparently that’s made by JessEm for Incra. Except for the inserts I think they are the same. Strange that they make two units with different insert types. Yours looks like the better deal since you didn’t have to spend extra for the inserts.

View Squatcher's profile


6 posts in 1080 days

#4 posted 01-09-2016 02:49 PM

As I just found out, the Incra Mast R Lift 2 is 8-1/4” x 11-1/4” which means it will not fit the Jessem Mast R Top. Which means the smokin’ deal I got on the Mast R Top is of no concern for joy.

I know this is old information but it may help somebody who comes across it.


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