Router lifts/above the table?

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Forum topic by surfin2 posted 02-09-2011 02:08 AM 2789 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51276 posts in 3159 days

02-09-2011 02:08 AM

I’ve heard a real, real, real lot about Router lifts, how great & easy it was to raise & lower it for smooth, precise height adjustment??? What about from side to side. I would think that would be more of an issue than ease of up & down, it is for me…

I’ve only heard oneperson say anything about play from his lift & he said it was the same, there was no difference…

To pay more for a lift than the router itself just to raise & lowering your router makes no sense to me…

-- Rick

14 replies so far

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Blue Mountain Woods

110 posts in 2957 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 02:25 AM

As they say, you get what you pay for. A router is essentially just a high-speed motor with a collet for securing a cutter, and a base. Some lifts (and bases, for that matter) are more precisely engineered and more complex than the routers they hold. For example, I have a $119.00 Bosch Colt mounted in a $400.00 Microfence plunge base, and it’s definitely worth it for doing inlay work and some other stuff.
As far as a lift is concerned, I would imagine that it depends on whether you’ll use it much or not. If you plan on doing commercial work, then whatever the price, I can only say… the best, and only cry once. I like the PC7518 mounted in a Bench Dog ProLift.


-- Pete -----

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5441 posts in 3686 days

#2 posted 02-09-2011 04:24 AM

I have PC690 in a WoodPecker’s lift in a Bench Dog table … wouldn’t be without it.

There isn’t any ‘side to side’ movement, and the precision adjustment is worth every penny I have invested.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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1276 posts in 2913 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 05:11 AM

PC 7518 in a Woodpecker lift+home brew cabinet, best addition to the shop since dust collection.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

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51276 posts in 3159 days

#4 posted 02-09-2011 06:07 AM

How accurate are lifts for rabbits & dado’s

Can you tell (Feel) it was done on increments…

Is ir as clean as a what a Table saw can do???

-- Rick

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Rick Dennington

5909 posts in 3217 days

#5 posted 02-09-2011 07:46 AM


I have a Hitachi M12V mounted in my router table…...I don’t own a router lift, and probably never will….I can’t justify spending more $$ for a lift than a router….I don’t use my router and table as much as I do my other machines, but I do use it…...Besides….I haven’t got to the point yet where I’m too lazy to reach under the table and lift it up and make adjustments….even with my bad back…....I use the little brass bars, and they work just fine…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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5441 posts in 3686 days

#6 posted 02-09-2011 03:15 PM

surfin2—My router/lift is dead on … you cannot tell/feel dados or rebates were made in increments.

IMHO, the dados and rebates made on the router table are cleaner than those made on the table saw … no scoring marks from the outside cutters, and no ridges in the bottom of the cut.

To some degree, this is a case of using the right tool for the job. If I am doing long grooves (like the 7 foot grooves I needed in the uprights on the arbor I built a few years ago), the tablesaw is the best choice. If I am cutting rebates for a drawer box, the router is probbaly the best way to go.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3182 days

#7 posted 02-09-2011 03:21 PM


Just a few points…

You shouldn’t take a cut deeper than the width of the bit. So in many cases, you will indeed be making multiple passes. If the router lift is sitting true and with the proper insert/fence, you should have some precision in those passes.

For dados/grooves, you can get more tear-out as compared to a TS dado; however, that depends on technique, type and sharpness of bit, and the type of wood. For example, I find that walnut cuts beautifully while many softwoods and laminates won’t. I used the very hard Marblewood the other day for a box and it was terrible in that regard, so it’s not just a hard vs. soft issue either, but rather grain structure. For plywood, I’d do it with the TS if possible.

For rabbets, you’d normally use a scoring pass first, just to break the surface a bit before the deeper cut. But I love the router for this because I feel it’s much safer than a TS…and you don’t have to worry about sacrificial fences for it.

I’m not sure what you mean by “side to side” adjustment. I assume you mean slop or play in the lift mechanism that puts a wobble in the cuts. I’ve never seen that, and I have one of the cheaper lifts (Rockler FX).

As for height adjustment, it’s just about the best thing in the world to me. The more you use the router, the more you can appreciate it…especially for the fine adjustments. My next step will be to add a Wixey digital to it, but even without it it’s wonderful to be able to dial in what you need without a ton of test cuts. Above the table bit changes are great as well.

-- jay,

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4541 posts in 3098 days

#8 posted 02-09-2011 03:37 PM

A router lift seemed like an unnecessary waste of money – until I bought one. Now I wonder how I got along without one.

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

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2202 posts in 3182 days

#9 posted 02-09-2011 03:38 PM

OH, BTW, just to think of it, a router isn’t that complex of a machine and doesn’t really require that much in the way of precision. It’s a motor with a cutter on the end of it. The need for precision comes in the mechanism that holds the motor. That’s either the lift, or the types of bases (fixed or plunge) on a typical router.

I would prefer getting a barebones router and putting the money into a nice lift mechanism, where the rubber truly meets the road, so to speak. IMHO, routers are actually a bit overpriced for what they are. I could justify that expense for hand-holding and interchangeable bases…but for a table, I’d look for something without all the extra stuff and put money into the lift.

-- jay,

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5441 posts in 3686 days

#10 posted 02-09-2011 04:34 PM

Just to underscore Jay’s advice … I bought my Bench Dog router table with a PC690 already mounted in it on CraigsList for $100.

IIRC, I gave about $250 for my Woodpeckers QL350. The QL350 was a direct replacement for the acrylic plate that was in the Bench Dog router table, so I ditched the acrylic plate and the PC690 base (all I needed for the QL350 was the PC6902 motor).

So for around $350, I got a router, router table with laminate top with miter tracks, an aluminum fence with T-slots, and high quality router lift with a set of inserts, a starter pin, etc.

BTW—- the ability to change bits above the table is worth a lot just by itself.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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51276 posts in 3159 days

#11 posted 02-10-2011 12:42 AM

While cutting the dado’s for the 1/2” T-track free hand with my PC 890, 1/2” straight bit & straight edge, I noticed while cutting in increments it wasn’t like it was done in one swipe. It’s like from adjusting it, it moved off center no much just enough to for me to notice(wasn’t from movement cause it went the full length of the dado) When I did the other side I left the bit extended 1/2” I put a !/4”board under the router (it stuck out acouple inches from the front & back for stability but not from the sides just alittle less then the width of the plate so it wouldn’t interfere with the straight edge, made one pass then took it off did my final pass & it came out perfect…

-- Rick

View MHarper90's profile


93 posts in 1710 days

#12 posted 10-13-2013 04:20 AM

At work we have a JessEm Mast-R-Lift II mounted in the extension table of the SawStop. It is the only router lift I have used, and I love it. With a digital height gauge it is very easy to adjust and I have never noticed any play in it.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5702 posts in 2836 days

#13 posted 10-13-2013 04:40 AM

If my Freud router didn’t have a built in lift, I would be in the market for one. I like my Freud FT1700VCE so much I bought a second one as a backup.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Dusty33's profile


6 posts in 1822 days

#14 posted 10-16-2013 03:37 AM

I too would be lost without my homemade router lift built from plans from “Stumpy Nubs!” For about $25 plus $5 for the set of plans it’s tops in my book. Micro adjustments are made by 3/4 inch socket wrench and just love the above the table bit changes. Don’t buy the commercially made products, just build your own. Besides that you’re making sawdust!

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