Router Lift Question & Thanks for the Welcome

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Forum topic by Gerald posted 07-08-2013 09:13 AM 2313 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gerald's profile


51 posts in 2026 days

07-08-2013 09:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router lift tool question sawstop advice

As is pretty obvious, this is my first posting to LumberJocks and I already have a question – the first of many I suspect, the reason for which will become evident as we go along.

My initial question has to do with choosing a router lift. I’m thinking I may want to mount one in the extension table of a 52” rail Sawstop Pro and am trying to decide which lift to go with (Benchdog, JessEm, Woodpecker, or ?).

Circumstances have put me in the fortunate position of having the opportunity to do some major upgrades to an old, but pretty well equipped, shop. I have plenty of floor space to work with (a 52’x40’ pole barn, orginallly built as a combination shop & airplane hanger), so space is not a limiting factor.

I’d like some advice from some of you with more current experience with the newer options. I’ve been making sawdust since the mid 60’s, but have not made any major stationary tool purchases for many years. Most of my stationary tools are Delta/Rockwell, purchased back when they were still around, a significant player in woodworking tools and I worked for one of their distributors.

Thanks for any help you can give me and I look forward to being an active member of LumberJocks.

-- Gerald, Rural North Central Arkansas

16 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3090 days

#1 posted 07-08-2013 02:12 PM

Welcome, geraldvg. It sounds like fortune has smiled upon you—good, old tools in a shop that is nearly as large as Luxembourg.

I can be of no help to your router lift query. I think they’re oversold gizmos. It is my view that I have to kneel down to eyeball or measure the height of the router bit anyway, why would adjusting from the top, in a standing position, be any kind of advantage?

So, my answer, and the first of many you will receive from smarter LJs than I, is, None of the Above.

As for your old Delta/Rockwell stuff, I am a qualified environmental dismantler of those tools which have been found to emit some foul chemicals in a larger shop such as yours.

You would be well advised to ship all your tools to me and I will take care of them responsibly and see that they are no longer a threat to your household and indeed your entire community. It may be necessary to include your router lift, but only if it is a Benchdog, Woodpecker or Jessem. Others seem to be ok.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View EEngineer's profile


1119 posts in 3853 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 02:31 PM

You know, with all that space you have to work with, maybe you should consider a stand-alone router table. I don’t have nearly as big a shop but I have a separate router table. For me, any advantage in shop space is nullified by having to change setup from table saw to router. Maybe that’s just a personal thing.

As far as router lifts go, I have only personally used the Woodpecker Quicklift 420 (not the current V2, the one that preceded it). I love it! In my table, it gives me rapid, above the table bit changes, very accurate incremental height change and a level of convenience you just won’t believe until you try it!

I did direct comparisons between the Jessem and Woodpecker lifts when I made my buy decision. In the end, I paid more for the Woodpecker and never regretted it. The Woodpecker lift was built much more solidly than the Jessem lift and the Quicklift feature has saved me a ton of time just changing bits over the last 5 years!

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

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2351 days

#3 posted 07-08-2013 02:40 PM

I agree with EEngineer, if you have the floor space have a stand-alone router table (or two). I have both a stand-alone as well as one on my table saw. It seems that right when I get the table saw router adjusted correctly something comes along and interrupts me and I need to cut a piece on the table saw and have to undo the router.

I looked at the Woodpecker lifts. If I had to do it over again I would buy one.

Make sure that your table top is strong enough to hold the router and lift. My first table saw router was with a 3/4” board that came with the saw and it quickly bowed. Now my stand alone top is 2 1/4” and the board on the table saw is aluminum (from Sommerfeld tools – I would not recremend this one).

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View lazyoakfarm's profile


144 posts in 3037 days

#4 posted 07-08-2013 04:12 PM

I have the woodpeckers and like it. (SW420) If I had to do it again i would get the PRL-V2. I don’t like the cable lift on mine, it makes the lift feel spongy and launches forward or backward when your just trying to adjust it a 1/16 or 1/32. Its fine if you need to move it a half inch, the fine adjustment is a little difficult.

View Thinkerf's profile


50 posts in 2043 days

#5 posted 07-08-2013 08:07 PM

I’m afraid I have to agree with EEngineer as well. If you have the room – go for the stand-alone work station. It is much more versatile and you can make it so it’s moveable. Attaching dust extraction id much easier as well. I have gone with the JessEm and it serves me well. I have attached a couple of pic for some ideas. The top & fence system is from INCRA and I love it. I boxed the stand in with plywood and added some storage for bits and associated equipment below. The router sits down in it’s own space that is accessible via a hatch door held in place by eath magnets and has a 4” dust port at the back so I can hook it up to mu extraction system and it sure saves on a lot of mess. Cheers and good luck. Thinkerf

View GNP's profile


12 posts in 2743 days

#6 posted 07-08-2013 10:21 PM

I have the JessEm lift in Rockler blue, really like it. After two back surgeries, there is no bending for me. My shop is small, but I still went with a stand alone router table.

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

395 posts in 3322 days

#7 posted 07-08-2013 11:57 PM

I have an INCRA PRL-V2 and highly recommend it. I like having the magnetic plates instead of fiddling with retaining screws. The quick height change is also really convenient. I think the INCRA version is identical to the Woodpecker version except for the magnetic plates.


-- Steve

View Gerald's profile


51 posts in 2026 days

#8 posted 07-09-2013 12:51 AM

I appreciate your offer to “sacrifice” yourself, Lee Barker, but I guess I’ll just have to deal with the old tool smells ;-).
As for your old Delta/Rockwell stuff, ..... found to emit some foul chemicals in a larger shop such as yours.

You would be well advised to ship all your tools to me and I will take care of them responsibly and see that they are no longer a threat to your household and indeed your entire community. It may be necessary to include your router lift, but only if it is a Benchdog, Woodpecker or Jessem. Others seem to be ok.

I think I’m about convinced to go with a free standing table and leave my saw extension to collect works-in-progress as it does now.

-- Gerald, Rural North Central Arkansas

View sawdent's profile


3 posts in 2024 days

#9 posted 07-09-2013 07:15 PM

I have a Bench Dog lift in my Bench Dog Pro-Max table. Got it after raking my knuckles several times doing under-table trial-and-error adjustments. Massive iron and steel construction reduces vibration, very fast, precise adjustments. Uses a socket wrench-type crank tool on a recessed hex adjustment screw in the cast iron mounting plate. Scale is accurate, but I still use set up jigs or other measuring device to verify. Very easy and no more busted knuckles. Downside: have to keep the recess in the plate cleaned free of dust/shavings and limited choices of plate hole inserts (like Woodpecker’s) but otherwise I love it. Designed for a PC 7518 motor but has adapter plates available for smaller diameter motors like my Bosch 1617 EVS.

-- Russell Klein

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2931 days

#10 posted 07-09-2013 09:00 PM


-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2715 days

#11 posted 07-09-2013 09:06 PM

I went with the woodpecker and I have to say that if I had to do it over again I would get the Jessem at about half the price. IMO the woodpeckers line have become overpriced items.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Gerald's profile


51 posts in 2026 days

#12 posted 01-17-2014 06:05 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I’d about decided on going with the Benchdog Pro top, raiser, and even the cabinet. After seeing a recent video on and looking at the latest Woodpecker raiser in Grizzly’s Springfield showroom yesterday, I’m now leaning toward trying my hand at building my own cabinet, top and fence and opting for the Woodpecker to hold the PC7518 motor I just bought on sale. The big effort right now, however, is installing a central PVC based DC system for which I have a question that I’ll put in a new topic post that has to do with glueing PVC to wood.

-- Gerald, Rural North Central Arkansas

View GaryCN's profile


371 posts in 4175 days

#13 posted 01-17-2014 06:13 PM

I’m happy with the JessEm, it does give you quite a few motor options without a lot of extra parts to store/misplace.

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

View Guy Belleman's profile

Guy Belleman

18 posts in 1858 days

#14 posted 01-17-2014 07:43 PM

I have used most of the router lifts and all are good, but I now have a Triton router, which has its own built in lift. From now on that will be the only way I go. I find the Triton runs so smooth and quiet that I have to remember to turn it off.

View Gerald's profile


51 posts in 2026 days

#15 posted 01-17-2014 10:13 PM

Thanks, Guy, for the comment about the built in lift in the Triton. I have a PC that says it has a built in table top lift capability, but it doesn’t operate without opening the binding clip in the base and closing the clip allows the height to change. That made me give up on built in lift configurations. The Triton may not have that problem, but I’m committed to a PC 7518 motor now and will be working from there.

There are several very usable looking raisers available, including the JessEm. I’m liking the looks of the large aluminum fine adjustment thumbwheel feature on the Woodpecker now, however, particularly if I decide to by-pass the BenchDog cast iron table and try building my own cabinet, top and fence. If I’m not happy with the results, I can always drop the Woodpecker in somebody’s prefab’d top. I haven’t come across anyone except BenchDog that makes a pre-fab’d top with a cut-out sized for the BenchDog lift plate.

-- Gerald, Rural North Central Arkansas

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