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Router Lift, which one do you use

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Forum topic by coloradoclimber posted 07-17-2008 10:27 PM 2295 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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coloradoclimber

548 posts in 3973 days


07-17-2008 10:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router lift prl woodpecker

I’m considering getting a router lift, in particular I’m looking at the Woodpecker Precision Router Lift. With an adapter collar and a set of rings it’s well over $400. Before I drop that kind of money I’m curious what other lumberjocks are using.


16 replies so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3893 days


#1 posted 07-17-2008 10:35 PM

That’s the one I have, but I didn’t have to buy the adapter since I already had a big PC router.

I am very happy with it.

Before that I had an old Jessem/Roclker Mast-R-Lift that had a cogged belt which kept slipping if you didn’t
keep it really clean. So I got the Woodpecker PRL and haven’t looked back.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 3844 days


#2 posted 07-18-2008 01:53 AM

I’ve had a Jessem for the past couple years and it’s doing everything I ask. I’m sure there’s better, but this works for me.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View brunob's profile

brunob

2277 posts in 4074 days


#3 posted 07-18-2008 03:40 AM

I have the woodpecker- It’s great and very well made. Good customer service as well.

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

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David58

1 post in 3518 days


#4 posted 07-18-2008 03:59 AM

I bought the Woodpecker PRL about a year ago to replace a Jessem/Rockler FX that also had a slipping problem. I use it with a PC 7518 motor. It does a great job. No problems so far.

-- David S. - South TX

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3617 days


#5 posted 07-18-2008 04:03 AM

Admittedly I am very new to this woodworking stuff but is there a real advantage to an external router lift over those routers that have the through the table height adjustment? I guess I am not clear on what exactly a router lift does.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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GaryK

10262 posts in 3893 days


#6 posted 07-18-2008 04:30 AM

Mark – I would think that an external router lifts are built a lot more heavy duty. The shafts they move up and down on are larger than used on stand alone routers to keep the weight down.

I can’t see a stand along router being more rigid swinging a 3” diameter panel raising bit.

I am not really familiar with the stand alone routers, but I don’k think they have a indicator letting you know exactly how far you are raising the bit, like the PRL does.

The advantage of a stand alone is that you can either take advantage of the feature or not, but then again it doesn’t take much to pop out my router from the PRL and put it back into the base that came with it.

I think a lot of people use a dedicated router in their router table.

Another advantage is the cost.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 3659 days


#7 posted 07-18-2008 04:55 AM

I have been lots of research on the topic and I have decided to go with a Hitachi M12V and a Router Raizer along with the Xtreme Xtension from the same company. Saw a demo at the Woodsmith Store in Iowa and it just rocked.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View closetguy's profile

closetguy

744 posts in 3797 days


#8 posted 07-18-2008 05:13 AM

I’m using the Rockler lift because I have their table and this one was made to fit the opening in their table. The price was also less than other lifts. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=10777

As for Mark’s question, I used a plunge router with through the table adjustment for a number of years, and I can tell you there is a world of difference between that solution and the lift. I can adjust my bit height in increments of a 1/4 nat’s hair everytime. The PC plunge router I was using with the “though the table adjustment” had a slight slop and I could never reliably move in small repeatable increments. Moving to the lift also gave me the ability to change the bit from above the table where the plunge router won’t let the collet move that high.

The only downside to the lift is if your router motor is not removable from the frame, you will have to buy one that is, or buy just the motor because the lift is design to clamp around a bare motor.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16272 posts in 4123 days


#9 posted 07-18-2008 05:23 AM

I hope we’re not getting off the topic, but I wanted to add my thoughts to what Dennis and Gary said.

I have a Triton plunge router with through-the-tabl;e adjustments, and I certainly can make above-the-table bit changes. That was my main reason for getting it. And as for the solidity issue Gary brought up, my router’s base bolts directly to the table, so I don’t see how you can get any steadier than that.

I do agree, though, that the big advantage of a quality lift is the precision and repeatability of the height adjustment.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3893 days


#10 posted 07-18-2008 06:06 AM

Charlie – What I meant about the solidity, are the diameter difference in the two shafts between the PRL and a regular plunge router.

These 2 shafts are what router is hanging and sliding up and down on. The PRL shafts are greater than 1” in diameter. Which are larger than any plunge router I have seen. The bigger these shafts the less they flex.
It’s pure physics that a 3/4” shaft will flex more then a 1” shaft.

Then there’s the base. It would depend on what your router’s bolted to. If your router base were bolted to a piece of 9” x 12” x 3/8” thick aluminum or the equivalent I would agree that in that aspect would be just as solid.

This is a gross overstatement and I use it only to help someone visualize, but imagine bolting your router base to a piece of cardboard vs. a piece of steel. When bolted to cardboard it would only be rigid to the diameter of the router base and the rest would flex.

Depending on all the factors involved I would say that a lift would be more solid. The difference may be small but “in my opinion” it would be there.

BTW I forgot to mention that you can also change the bit above the table and as Charlie stated he could also do that on his Triton, so I would imagine it would depend on the router and how thick your table top was.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16272 posts in 4123 days


#11 posted 07-18-2008 03:10 PM

I understand now what you were saying, Gary, and you’re right. A plunge router is inherently going to have a tiny bit of play in it. But seeing as wood cannot really be worked to the same degree of precision that metal can anyway, I doubt it would be an important practical consideration. Flex in the table and/or base plate, as you described, would probably be a much bigger factor.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Loren's profile

Loren

9948 posts in 3553 days


#12 posted 07-18-2008 11:11 PM

Veritas makes a clever “router jack” that is inexpensive and might
fit the bill.

Undoubtedly the Jessem lifts are nice. I owned a Jessem sliding table
and the engineering and manufacturing were top notch.

I have never used a router lift myself though. I know that may seem
like heresy. The way you feed and apply pressure to the work
affects the cut more than you’d think it should. If I wanted
repeatability I would buy a power feeder before a lift because that
minimizes operator feeding error, often an issue with both joinery
and profiling.

A lift adds weight to the table as well…. and MDF will sag under
even a 12 lb. router so the lift may magnify the error. I had a
Veritas steel router top that I liked quite a bit because I
knew that inaccuracies would only be coming from me, not issues
with the table.

I’ve been impressed with the thoughtful designs of the Woodhaven
stuff so you might want to check out their system, especially the
tilting router gizmo

I have a Milwaukee router with a hole in the base plate for a long
allen wrench type tool. I never drilled a router table top for it but
it seems to me that between that and some inexpensive machinest’s
gauges you could get very accurate setups. I have an old Brown
and Sharpe height gauge and it’s practically worthless on Ebay but
real handy for checking jointer knives and other precise setup tasks.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3617 days


#13 posted 07-19-2008 05:26 AM

Thanks Gary and Dennis for the explanations. I can see where the increased rigidity would be an asset in getting repeatable results.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 3973 days


#14 posted 07-19-2008 06:24 AM

Point well taken on the table sag. The lifts themselves are heavy, and when coupled with a big router you could certainly see the table sagging. Multiple of the manufactures I checked out recommended either a large stiff table or retrofitting stiffeners into an existing table if you are going to use these bigger lifts and motors.

I am planning on building a custom cabinet and I’ll build in additional stiffeners around the plate hole.

Given what I’ve seen and read recently it looks like there are many heavy duty router lifts that work very well. The woodpecker, bench dog, and jessem (and rebranded incra jessem) lifts all consistently get very good reviews, even carrying the largest routers.

View closetguy's profile

closetguy

744 posts in 3797 days


#15 posted 07-19-2008 07:39 AM

I smiled at your reply CharlieM because when I made the comment about the lack of above the table bit changes I started to put in parentheses (except for those lucky enough to have a Triton). I was stuck with a Porter Cable at the time. :)

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com

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