Any thoughts on JessEm Tool Rout-R- Lift II ?

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Forum topic by SPalm posted 12-29-2010 05:36 AM 17538 views 3 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5320 posts in 3882 days

12-29-2010 05:36 AM

I have never had a router plate. much less a lift. I just have one of my plunge routers screwed to the bottom of the extension table of my tablesaw. Works ok, but, you know, ...

Anyway Jessem has released a new (cheaper) version of their Rout-R-Lift called the II. It is retail priced at $150, but the introductory price is $120. Seems like a fairly good deal to me. They still have the original Master at $330 and the original FX at $220. There must be something different here (phenolic plate is one) but hey…


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

42 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2798 days

#1 posted 12-29-2010 06:15 AM

Can’t comment on that exact model Steve, but it looks very much like my 5 year old Jess-Em. I have mine mounted in the right extension table of my unisaw and use it in conjunction with the unifence, an awesome combination. It pops out easily, changes bits easily and the lift works perfectly with far more precision than I will ever need. What more can I say.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View rowdy's profile


375 posts in 3442 days

#2 posted 12-29-2010 06:25 AM

Steve, thanks for posting this. I am in about the same boat as you are and I will be really interested in the feedback you receive.

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas

View Pop's profile


427 posts in 3946 days

#3 posted 12-29-2010 06:49 AM

Hi Guys, I sold JessEm & I own the router system. The Rout-R-Lift is the lighter version of the Master-R-Lift. I have the Maste-R-Lift, top, fence, miter gauge & stand. Very well essigned & made equipment. I’ll put it up against anybodies equipment & I think it’ll stand tall.

I was in a rush to put it into service so I bought the stand & then built my cabinet in the stand. Here’s a couple of photos.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 12-29-2010 07:05 AM

I bought a half-finished router table about 3 years ago (long story, it’s covered under my projects). I definitely wanted a router lift in it and had pretty much decided on the Jessem Rout-R-Lift based solely on price. The local Woodcraft store carried it and the Woodpecker QuickLift. They let me open one of each and compare the two.

I ended up spending about 1.5X as much on the Woodpecker. There was simply no comparison – the Quicklift was better built and more solid. The Quicklift feature has won my heart over 3 years but my initial choice was based solely on quality and ruggedness. I am not saying the Jessem was a bad lift, I am just saying it wasn’t as good as the Woodpecker lift.

As far as the phenolic plate goes – I wouldn’t trust a phenolic plate to hold the weight of a router without deforming. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than a 3/8” aluminum plate.

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

View Woodmule's profile


10 posts in 3342 days

#5 posted 12-29-2010 07:16 AM

Steve, I too have been looking at router lifts. I like the JessEm as compared to the others. I think JessEm lifts are made with better construction from what I can see and the reviews have all been good. I’m wanting to move to a larger router which means more weight so I’m leaning toward the mast R lift II. I’m afraid the Rout-R-Lift is not as stout and could be a problem eventually. If I was going to continue with my PC 690, I would go for the Rout-R-Lift. The other thing I like about the mastR lift II is it’ll accept multiple routers without buying an adaptor – more flexibility. Of course, more cost, but I’m learning you get what you pay for.

-- The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4092 days

#6 posted 12-29-2010 07:40 AM

I love mine Steve. I’ve have had an older model with the table and fence for about four years… the precision and repeatability are terrific.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2934 days

#7 posted 12-29-2010 08:02 AM

Steve, I do not have this lift but I do have their fence and slider. they are well built.

I must say it took them several weeks to send me some missing hardware after repeated call…

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3191 days

#8 posted 12-29-2010 09:56 AM


That lift looks like a good solid unit. Today with new routers comming with the lift system built in, I think that
the manufacture (jessem) is offering a better alternative at a low cost. Why would I want to spend 300 on a
lift system if my router has one built in. I haven’t bought a lift system yet because I see the cost as prohibitive,
it’s definatly a luxury, not a must have. But at a buck twenty….hhummm???? It might be a good idea to see
if Jessem, would anwcer the question What’s the diffrence between the Master and the II?

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View SteveM's profile


108 posts in 4167 days

#9 posted 12-29-2010 03:03 PM

Steve, While Pop has a very nice setup and probably more experience with the product than anyone else, I’m with EEngineer. The quicklift feature is, in my mind, essential. If the Jessem has it (I couldn’t tell from the link) go for it. If not, every time you have to crank the darn thing a zillion times to change a bit rather than a simple quarter turn and lift to fully expose the entire router base, you’ll wish you had spent the extra money. At a dollar a bit change, it adds up real quick and keeps my frustration down. Just a thought.

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2965 days

#10 posted 12-29-2010 03:39 PM

I have an ancient Jet Exacta Lift by JessEm which came with my Jet Table saw. It was used and abused when I got it. I, like so many others here, am not sure If I ever want to route (in most applications) without my lift plate again. The insert plate hole was no longer able to accept inserts and it didn’t have any inserts (I told you it was abused) but I use it anyway. The insert hole is 3.75” and can be a little alarming when using it. I contacted Jet to get a new plate and inserts and was told, “Sorry”. I contacted JessEm and they told me they no longer made these for Jet but send them the plate lay out and they would see if their existing plates would fit. They do. So, to make a long story short, JessEm would sell me a replacement plate and inserts for about a buck 50. Add the shipping and the labor to do the switch out and it sounds like this might be a better way for me to replace my WORN OUT ABUSED lift. My older lift didn’t accept my Craftsman or my newer PC so I had to drill holes in the frame to mount them (this was no problem). But this one already accepts my PC and is ready to go. I can see one reason for the lower price and that is the extra insert plates are an added cost where the more expensive model already comes with them. But sitlll at $36, this is still a better deal. As far as the phenolic plate goes I don’t see this as a problem IMHO. Thanks for the post. I think I will check into this and maybe get one myself. If anyone else gets one of these please send me an IM to let me know what they think of what they received and I will do the same. Thanks again Steve

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3074 days

#11 posted 12-29-2010 05:02 PM

Let me make a pragmatic comment about router lifts. I own the Woodpecker Quick Lift. I discovered a problem after I got it. A couple of the jigs I use on my router table cover up the hole that one uses to lift and lower the router. It was very awkward to remove the jig, make a height adjustment, and place the jig back in place (over and over). I tried cutting an access hole through one of the jigs and that did not work out so well. There was no way to adjust the height from below the table.

Then, Woodpecker introduced the Side Winder. It’s a device that connects to the bottom of the lift and allows you to lift and lower with a crank on the side of the table. This device is great and it solves my problem.

When considering a lift, consider the issue of jigs that may block your access to the lift/lower hole.

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

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3585 days

#12 posted 12-29-2010 05:08 PM

I don’t think much of your router table and bits POP .I was thinking maybe I would change my mind if I could try them out for twenty years or so please send right away to big Alistair in Scotland, they’ll find me.Wow wow this is my lucky day.Alistair seriously a beautiful table as nice as I have seen well done

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Pop's profile


427 posts in 3946 days

#13 posted 12-29-2010 06:23 PM

Thanks for the comment Big Alistair. In truth the sliding bit holder is too small. I’ve already fill it up and bits left over. I think I’ll use the slider for the most used bits.

The Woodpecker lift is much stronger than the Router-R-Lift. The lift to use is the MasteR-Lift. Then the Woodpecker has an equal. The Side-Winder is a great idea, but I’m thinking it’s more stuff to break. I like fewer moving parts.

-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3882 days

#14 posted 12-29-2010 06:54 PM

Well I pulled the trigger and bought one. The sale ends on Dec 31 (Friday), so to save $30 I just did it. I will review it once I have it installed and such. Note: Don’t hold breath.

Thanks everyone for input. What a great place this is.

Re the quick lift feature: No it does not have one. The mini plan I have is to chuck a hex shaft into one of my drivers and use that when I want a quick raise/lower.

Re the phenolic plate: I guess I am not as worried about it as maybe I should be. It is a pretty small plate, I am only going to hang a 2hp router from it, they have two aluminum stiffener bars mounted to the underside. And I can always lift the plate out of the hole during long periods.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2798 days

#15 posted 12-29-2010 07:06 PM

What am I missing? Why on earth would you crank a lift up to the top to change bits? I just pop mine out of it’s hole and lay it on it’s side on the table to change bits. It takes no cranking and about one second.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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