So it’s been a while, but I finally got my other router table sold and bought the new Jessem Mast-R-Lift II lift. It came in a few days ago and I got it mounted in the table.
I started by cutting out a template for the router lift cut out. I cut four plywood strips about 3” wide about 15 inches long. Then I put the router lift on the top of the MDF board and square it up, then I put the strips up against the side of the lift letting one end butt up against the board to the left and sticking off the right side. This let me get a tight fit with a good square corner on the inside corners of the boards. I drilled pilot holes and user 1” pocket hole screws to attach the plywood strips. I then marked the corners to make sure I didn’t cut too far into them. The radius of the lift corner is 1”, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess up the corner by getting too close to it when I was cutting the pattern out.
I took the lift off and got out my router with a 3/4” pattern bit, then slowly worked around close to the edges until I had cut out the center. Then I ran the pattern bit around the edges to trim it flush to the strips on the sides, being careful not to run the router into the corners. A quick trip to the spindle sander with a 1” spindle and I had the corners shaped. I removed the ply strips and did a test fit. It needed one more small touch up in one corner with the sander and then it was a perfect fit.
So once I had the pattern, I put some blue tape on the table top and marked the desired position in pencil. Then I mounted the pattern using the t-track and some hold downs. I set the plunge base on my router so that the bit just touched the table top with the base on the template. The thickness of the router lift top was 3/8”, and I have the adjustable stop on my plunge base set to 3/8, so I just rotated to that stop and set the depth rod, then rotated the stop to the zero position, which will give me an additional 3/8” depth.
I made some light passes around the edge and then cut fully down to the 3/8” depth and followed the pattern around. Then I used my jig saw to cut away the center waste, leaving a 3/4” rim around the edge. I dropped my router lift in and to my amazement, the fit was nearly perfect. Removed the lift and did some clean up with my chisel on some rough spots, then put the lift back in and it was within a few thousandths of being level. Installed the leveling set screws and I was all done.
Next steps are to install some additional bracing underneath the table to help prevent any sag over time, but I’m 90% done and I think it’s good to go. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Just need to get a new switch to mount to the edge.
-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......