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.
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
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.