Router lifts

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Forum topic by ClayandNancy posted 09-09-2010 07:04 AM 2300 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ClayandNancy's profile


511 posts in 2436 days

09-09-2010 07:04 AM

I’ve been checking out the deals on the Jessem and the Woodpecker lifts, is one better than the other, what lift is everyone using?

16 replies so far

View supervato's profile


153 posts in 2349 days

#1 posted 09-09-2010 08:13 AM

from what ive heard the jessem lift is the way to go its smoother on the lon the lift which results in better micro adjustment.

View Michael J's profile

Michael J

103 posts in 2628 days

#2 posted 09-09-2010 08:32 AM

I haven’t used the jessem lift but I have the Woodpecker PRL V-2 from Incra which is the same lift but with magnetic metal lock rings vs the plastic one’s. I can’t imagine anything being any smoother and the micro adjustment is very impressive. It’s been worth every penny so far and I really like it.

-- Mike Minneapolis, MN

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8098 posts in 2849 days

#3 posted 09-09-2010 01:36 PM

Mine is a Jessem. Holds a PC7518 motor. No experience with any other lift, but I like mine.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2495 days

#4 posted 09-09-2010 03:14 PM

I know nothing about Jessem lifts but I have a Woodpecker Quick-Lift 350A. Woodpecker offers several models. Mike’s is the “top-of-the-line”. Mine is a more basic unit. However, I am very happy with it.

Please remember that most lifts only fit a limited number of routers. If you already have the router, you will have to look for lifts that are compatible with it.

Final point – - MCLS just announced that they are taking advance orders for their new motorized lift. Initial deliveries will be in mid-October. If I were interested in a lift, I would be checking that out as a potential option. Price ($389) is not too different than a high end manual lift.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View jusfine's profile


2405 posts in 2346 days

#5 posted 09-09-2010 03:14 PM

Have used the Jessem lifts for many years, no complaints.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View woodsmithshop's profile


1250 posts in 2966 days

#6 posted 09-09-2010 03:36 PM

I agree with Rich, hold for a while for the MCLS, there is not much difference in price, and the power lift would make life much simpler, I have the Jessem, and I do like it, but I may get the MCLS anyway.

-- Smitty!!!

View RogerBean's profile


1598 posts in 2374 days

#7 posted 09-09-2010 03:56 PM

I also have the Incra version of the PRL-V2 and share MichaelJ’s enthusiasm for it. (and the Incra LS fence) I particularly like the magnetic plates. Fast, accurate, and less tools to use. I also think Rich has a good point with the MCLS powered lift that was just announced, and if I were buying today would definitely give it a close look. As always, the lift is more important than the deal.


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 2623 days

#8 posted 09-09-2010 05:12 PM

Clay – I’ve been using the Woodpecker PRL V1 (with a P-C 7518) since it came out in 2001. Although I cannot compare with Jessem or other systems, I don’t think you’d go wrong with either. I purchased mine based on price and availability at the time. Got a good deal and haven’t regretted it for one second.

I can adjust to .002, which sounds impressive, but wood does not care. It is quick, repeatable, reliable, and when combined with the fence system – I’m sure it stands up to any other system.

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3034 days

#9 posted 09-09-2010 06:18 PM

A couple years ago I brought up my router table. I wanted a lift. I had pretty much decided on the Jessem lift based solely on price. I went to Woodcraft, who had both the Jessem lift and the Woodpecker Quicklift in stock and they were kind enough to open both of them and let me examine them. I bought the Woodpecker lift because 1 – it was built much sturdier and 2- I liked the quicklift feature (whatever Jessem they were selling at that time didn’t have a quicklift feature).

I think the Woodpecker lifts are built much sturdier. I’ve used mine for 2 yeasr now with absolutely no complaints.

I’ve already expressed my concerns about the MCLS motorized lift and what I consider a flimsy design. Just a few points:
1. MCLS unit uses a 1/4” aluminum plate – both Jessem and Woodpecker use 3/8” aluminum plates
2. The cradle that holds the router is phenolic resin on the MCLS unit – both Jessem and Woodpecker use machined aluminum cradles
3. Just take a look at the picture of each unit:

Now, keeping in mind that you will install a 2 to 3 HP motor spinning a sharp flesh-eating bit on one end of it, which lift would you rather use?

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3302 days

#10 posted 09-09-2010 07:39 PM

Jessem is having a closeout on their Mast-R-Lift 0201A “imported” version for $129

I am not not sure what to make of this. Anyone know about it?

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3034 days

#11 posted 09-09-2010 08:23 PM

Hmmmm, $200 dollars cheaper, made offshore, manufacturing moved back into Canada…

Can you spell C-H-I-N-A

I don’t think I want any of those.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3302 days

#12 posted 09-09-2010 08:32 PM

I am pretty sure it is China. But I would think Jessem would hold some quality control on it. And it is really only $130 dollars cheaper than the Canadian one on Amazon. But that is still half price.

Anyway, I thought it was a pretty interesting story.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3034 days

#13 posted 09-09-2010 09:45 PM

It is interesting. And it is a good price. I’d (almost) be ashamed to tell you what I paid for mine 2 years ago.

Fact is, the router lifts have always been at least as, and probably more, expensive than the router you put in it. This price at least balances the equation a little.

And don’t get me wrong: I think the Jessem lift is still pretty good. If they hadn’t had the Woodpecker Quicklift in the Woodcraft store 2 years ago, I would have walked out with this lift and still been happy. I just think the Woodpecker lift is better built and I use that Quicklift feature every time I use the router table for changing bits. Seriously, if ClayandNancy are still looking for a router lift, I can only recommend the Quicklift from Woodpecker!

GaryK just reviewed the PRL2 from Woodpecker not too long ago here. They didn’t even have this model when I bought mine – looks awesome!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2690 days

#14 posted 09-09-2010 10:02 PM

I have seen the videos and such on the MCLS and although it looks interesting….My problem with lifts is that they have a tendency to drift due to slop in the gears and holding mechanisms. I have the Jessem and I always insure that it is locked good before making a cut… I had a woodpecker pro lift but had problems with the item not locking in place and would find that my joints would have an angle on the depth (due to the lift drifting) which would make a whole lot of work for me as I would have to hand trim or rerun the boards through the router. I tried several means to cure the drift before I gave up and sold the lift in a garage sale for a pittance – I was glad to see it go. The Jessem has given me good service and the depths seem to remain true so far.

I won’t be one of the first “test” buyers of the MCLS due to some of the stuff that EEngineer discusses…and what I have stated above…..I say let someone else spend the money to do their testing for them….I may buy in if and when I am sure it is debugged and worth the price. Though I do temper that with saying MCLS has given me good service and great products to date.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3034 days

#15 posted 09-10-2010 04:24 PM

reggiek -
I find your comments on drift interesting. It has never been a problem on my Quicklift. And, because of the way the quicklift mechanism is made (basically a split nut with enough spring tension to take up any slack) there isn’t any backlash in the adjustment, either. I routinely make adjustments of + or – a coupla thousandths without having to take into account any backlash. I have run a lot of length through a setting without any drift but, then, I am only a weekend warrior; I don’t do any production work that might involve hundreds of feet of stock.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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