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Which router lift for my new table?

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Forum topic by kennyd posted 07-24-2011 02:16 AM 11620 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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kennyd

103 posts in 2467 days


07-24-2011 02:16 AM

Hello everyone. It’s time for a new tool again and this is always my first stop in my decision making process. I have a new Woodpecker router table with a Incra LS positioning system. Fantastic! I stuck a crappy Pinnacle phenolic plate in it just to get up and running but immediately discovered I want a lift. I’ve been reading everything I can find about the various makes anmd models and have narrowed it down to 3. The woodpecker/incra prl-v2, the jessem/incra master lift 2, or the woodpecker/incra sidewinder 350. Anyone with experiences good or bad with any of the setups please chime in. I’d like to hear from you.

Thanks in advance.

Ken D.

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.


25 replies so far

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2542 days


#1 posted 07-24-2011 03:06 PM

I have the Woodpecker PRL-V2 and like it very much. FYI – I also have the Incra LS positioning system so I have incredible control over both vertical and horizontal adjustments.

Advice – - When you look at the PRL-V2 you will see an exposed wheel on top that you use for fine tuning the height. What I find is that I like to reach under the table and grab that same wheel from the underside if I want to turn it more than just a little bit. You get much more travel per stroke underneath.

Be advised that there is a brake on the vertical adjustment that you tighten or loosen with an allen wrench. If you want the height to remain exactly right, you have to apply the brake. It’s a tiny bit of inconvenience and I mention it only because I didn’t expect that.

The quick up and quick down feature works great. You can change bits very quickly and easily.

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

View Brian's profile

Brian

6 posts in 2554 days


#2 posted 07-24-2011 03:18 PM

I have the Woodpecker PRL-V2 also and I love it. The micro-adjust is fantastic for dialing in. I looked at the Sidewinder and my problem with it is the adjustment was not as smooth as would be needed for making fine changes. They may have fixed that issue, but I would make sure and try it out before purchasing.

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bubinga

861 posts in 2135 days


#3 posted 07-24-2011 03:19 PM

No lift needed comes in 2-1/4hp, and 3-1/4hp

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 2626 days


#4 posted 07-24-2011 09:57 PM

You buy a router lift for the heft and fine, precise adjustments they can provide. Whether or not you consider such things are needed is entirely up to you. But as somebody who has used a plunge router on a regular plate, I wasn’t ever satisfied with the feel of the mechanism and the flexure in the system. I don’t know how sturdy the mechanism in the Triton is, but there’s no way it’d provide the same results as with a big panel raising bit in a lift like the PRL, Bench Dog, Jessem, or Kreg.

IMHO, you pay extra money for router lifts, but there really isn’t a substitute for them, especially if you want to digitize them. I thought it was cool that the PRLv2 was predrilled for the Wixey digital system.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 2626 days


#5 posted 07-24-2011 10:07 PM

As for which lift to choose, I would lean toward an Incra simply because of their metal, magnetic inserts – and since I also have all the Incra stuff, I wanted Incra, darn it! Alas, I would have done the Incra version of the PRL-v2 myself but had to opt for the Woodpecker version since only they make the one that fits in the Bench Dog table. I will say that, so far, the plastic lock inserts in my version are much more sturdy than I thought, much better than the saggy inserts of the Rockler FX lift that I had before it.

Other than that, a lot can depend on which router you choose and how those lifts accommodate a given router.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2280 days


#6 posted 07-24-2011 11:14 PM

Freud FT1700 , and several others now allow above-the-table lift and adjustment / bit changes. The router and the lift kit are probably the same price. You could add a router instead, and use your current router as a handheld tool.

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

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bubinga

861 posts in 2135 days


#7 posted 07-25-2011 11:32 AM

The Triton is only one suggestion,not the be all,end all
Myself,There is no way I can compare, the Triton to a dedicated lift ,cuz I never,owned, or worked with a dedicated lift, but I have checked them out at the shows.
I do own the Triton and like it
IMHO, There are many options available out there

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View kennyd's profile

kennyd

103 posts in 2467 days


#8 posted 07-25-2011 08:05 PM

Thank you all for the information. I’ve read so many router and lift reviews that my head spins just thinking about it. From the reviews I’ve read it seems to me that all of the routers, top brands included, suffer from the same issues. Switch problems from dust getting in, plastic gears in the height adjustment wearing out too rapidly and becoming useless, and several other annoying design flaws. So for me routers with table mounting features are not an option. That said, I do love all of the Incra products that I own and consider them first class so I’ve definately decided on a Incra lift. While I do like the sidewinder lift, the less expensive one looks to be a little flimsy to me. The Jessum Master Lift looks pretty good but their customer support leaves a lot to be desired. Therefore I’m settled on the Woodpeckers PRL- V2. Robust build, great company, and plenty of good reviews here and on the other forums. And I can add the sidewinder down the road if I find it necessary.

Thank you again.

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 2737 days


#9 posted 07-25-2011 08:12 PM

Kenny, I have both the jessem and the MLCS motor lift. The motor lift is great…..you don’t have to crank to raise and lower the router….it also has a wixey height measure that give you a readout….you can raise and lower it in micro amounts….This has been a real time saver….the lift is not more expensive then the others and works great. Check them out at MLCS’s site (they have videos…etc).

My jessem lift is also excellent (it is on the cast iron extension table I have for my TS). I have had that one for over 2 years and it works great….just have to use the crank when you want to go up or down….it does get high enough to change bits above the table (the motor lift does also). Between the two of them, I like them both….and each has it’s pros and cons.

There are alot of lifts out there….the best bet is to settle on a router….then get a table and lift that fits it…has some template bushings…and a good set of table centers (just like a TS it is good to have some zero clearence inserts.

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

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Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 2626 days


#10 posted 07-25-2011 08:21 PM

E.J.: I figured that was what you meant, but you did say that you don’t NEED a router lift with the Triton. I think it’s probably more accurate to say that you MIGHT NOT NEED a router lift with the Triton. My point, much as you restated, is that it does indeed depend on what you want out of the lift.

Kenny: Great choice on the lift. You can’t go wrong with it. Plan on getting the Wixey digitals for it. It’s a slam dunk setup and really cool to be able to immediately repeat your cuts.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2107 days


#11 posted 07-25-2011 08:29 PM

Uh, I’ll say it. I WILL NOT NEED a lift with my Triton. It has one built-in, micro-adjusts, switch is dust-shielded, etc. And by the way, it works like a dream.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View bubinga's profile

bubinga

861 posts in 2135 days


#12 posted 07-25-2011 10:34 PM

Yes I did !! say that you don’t need a router lift with the Triton,and you, very accurately, DO NOT

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 2626 days


#13 posted 07-25-2011 11:16 PM

Then I sure feel awfully stupid for spending so much money on my Milwaukee and PRL-V2. I should have just bought a Triton to begin with!

Edit: But just so I’m not accused of being too sarcastic with that last remark, EJ, are you on record as to saying that the Triton’s lift capabilities match that of all the lifts mentioned in this thread? I’m just seeking clarification as to why you reason as you do.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View kennyd's profile

kennyd

103 posts in 2467 days


#14 posted 07-26-2011 03:56 AM

Wow! I knew this thread was going to open a can of worms. I’m really glad I got to hear/see all of your views. It’s apparent to me and I’m sure to everyone else who’ve been following that each of the lift/router combinations, routers with table adjustment features, or just plain old router mounted to a plate has it’s loyalists. Throw in branding and holy smokes, look out! Again, thank you all.

Now, back to the question at hand. 7 hours ago I thought I was done with this and had reached a decision to buy the PRL-V2. Then reggiek had to go and throw a monkey wrench into the works by pointing me to the MLCS motorized lift. In a word, AWESOME! The cost difference between the PRL-V2 and the MLCS is insignificant and all the bells and whistles make this really appealing. I WANT ONE! There’s only one thing stopping me from buying it. The plate won’t fit my Woodpeckers router table and unless I missed something on the MLCS site I’m sorta screwed because of it. Did I miss something? Does MLCS mount the lift to a plate to fit my table? Anyone have an answer?

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.

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Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 2626 days


#15 posted 07-26-2011 04:37 AM

Kenny: Yeah, we get that way. I just think you get what you pay for. Other than to change the speed of the router, you’d never really have to go under the table with a PRL or the like (once you have a remote power switch…cheap from Harbor Freight). Plunge routers, in general, would need to be locked into place from under the table…and the Triton couldn’t be used with a remote switch since the height adjustment is physically locked into the power switch. So, there’s a lot of reaching under the table.

That said, the Triton is probably the very best value you can get in a router. You could hardly wrong with that purchase.

As for the MLCS, be careful. I believe it can be adapted to your choice of plate, so that’s good. However, it only accommodates the smaller 2.5 hp routers and it is certainly sized accordingly (not very beefy). So, if you want to upgrade routers eventually, you might have an issue. I wouldn’t assume you won’t…there is a huge difference between turning a big bit in my Bosch 1617 and my Milwaukee 5625! If the MLCS were a little bigger then I think it would be worth spending the money on it, IMO. Otherwise, it’s kinda an apples to oranges comparison with the PRL. I got mine for around $289 shipped…so I wouldn’t exactly call that a wash in terms of a price comparison with the MLCS.

BTW, the lift wrench rough adjusts your height VERY quickly with the PRL. Don’t sell that part of it short. It’s a big productivity advantage. No cranking at all. If you change bits a lot on a given project, you’ll love it.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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