Router lift question

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Forum topic by Charlie_Papa posted 08-21-2013 11:36 PM 2068 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1868 days

08-21-2013 11:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router lift router table router lift

Hello everyone! I’m about the take the plunge into a router lift, and have decided on the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II. Amazon had one used/like new and I didn’t jump on it, so now it’s $365 :( They also have one that’s 8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch (instead of the seemingly standard 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch) for $285. I’m going to be building my own table to share the table saw’s fence, so do I need to worry about the size? Is it worth the extra money to have a standard size?

I appreciate the feedback of folks who’ve been down this road already. There are so many things that I’d do differently now that I know more about them…

Thank you!

20 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2874 days

#1 posted 08-22-2013 12:45 AM

Hi Charlie—

I think the idea that a router table needs a router lift could use some clarification.

It doesn’t. There, I said it.

I’ve had a professional shop for over 30 years, have built several router tables for our use, including helping amateur woodworkers build their own.

My router table top is hinged at the back. It opens and locks at a 45o angle.

When I have to adjust the height, I lift the top up, look at the bit with reference to the work or a measuring device, and adjust the router appropriately. Lock the router base. Lower the lid and commence working.

How a router lift makes that any easier or more accurate at all I cannot imagine.

You want to put your router in your saw table. I have one of those too. Since one has to kneel down anyway to get a read on the adjustment direction, how the lift makes any difference at all is still a bafflement to me.

Perhaps your $285 could buy you interesting router bits, one at a time, as you need them.



-- " 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 Charlie_Papa's profile


7 posts in 1868 days

#2 posted 08-22-2013 12:55 AM

That’s good advice, Lee, and I appreciate it. What kind of plate would you recommend in its place?

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1972 days

#3 posted 08-22-2013 01:04 AM

I am struggling with the same problem. lee is right, but there are a lot of plans to make one with drawer glides. I think that is the road for me. I just can’t bring my self to part with that much money for a lift

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3392 days

#4 posted 08-22-2013 01:25 AM

I built my table about 6 years ago and put an original Mast-R-Lift in it with a Porter Cable 3 1/2 hp router and have never regretted the expense.

View Charlie_Papa's profile


7 posts in 1868 days

#5 posted 08-22-2013 01:30 AM

Yeah, that’s the other thing: this table saw extension table I’m making probably won’t be permanent, which is exactly why I’m concerned with whether or not to get a standard size. I hope the lift will last a lifetime, and I want it to be flexible. I’m also considering putting slide-out drawers under the extension to house my saw blades, wrenches, and some router bits and accessories, so access to the router may not be the easiest.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10526 posts in 3452 days

#6 posted 08-22-2013 01:59 AM

Not sure the size of the plate will make much difference in use. Like papadan, I to have the Jessem with the PC 7518 and have never regretted the expense.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2098 days

#7 posted 08-22-2013 02:07 AM

some of the tritonrouter line has a built in router lift for when the router is mounted under the table. I think router lift prices are a little abusive but they get it. For my next router purchase I am considering a triton.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2938 days

#8 posted 08-22-2013 02:37 AM

I agree. I use my 3 1/4hp Triton on my TS extension because Triton routers have their own lifting mechanism. It works fine for me. I am sure there are those who will insist that a router lift be a robust and expensive undertaking. It does not have to be that way, and Lee points out that a lift is not required at all in order to use the router effectively. All a lift does is make things a bit more convenient when making adjustments. The built-in lifting mechanism is in all Triton routers I believe. I have the 3 1/4hp and 2 1/4hp models.

BTW, older Tritons used to have an issue with plastic gears. THAT is no longer the case, as of +3 years ago when they upgraded all of their line to metal lifting worm gears. See HERE

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View srvmaniak's profile


1 post in 2080 days

#9 posted 08-22-2013 02:46 AM

Charlie and Shawn,

I’m looking at a copy of “ShopNotes” Vol. 21 Issue 121 right now. It has plans for a shop made router lift that looks to be fairly simple to build. Check it out and see if it’ll work for you.

View Woodmaster1's profile


981 posts in 2611 days

#10 posted 08-22-2013 03:22 AM

Rockler has there’s on sale for 179.00. I have it and the lift works great.

View Mark's profile


916 posts in 1998 days

#11 posted 08-22-2013 03:28 AM

What a beaut set up Horizontal Mike. Verrrry nice.

-- Mark

View douglbe's profile


369 posts in 3985 days

#12 posted 08-22-2013 03:40 AM

I recently built the Shop Notes Vol. 121 router lift and I don’t know what took me so long. For me it works great, very inexpensive, and I always have fun building these things.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2098 days

#13 posted 08-22-2013 06:38 AM

Hmike I had read about the plastic gear thing. Glad it has been resolved thanks for the post.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5702 posts in 2837 days

#14 posted 08-22-2013 06:50 AM

1+ on the Triton or Freud routers with built in lifts.
The Freud is getting harder to find, but I like mine so well I bought a spare last week.

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

View Woodbum's profile


813 posts in 3089 days

#15 posted 08-22-2013 01:10 PM

Charlie-Papa: In answer to your original question; since you have already decided that you want to buy a router lift, not that you absolutely need one as Lee pointed out. But since you asked for personal experience, I own two Woodpecker lifts fitted to a freestanding table and one in my Griz 1023 table saw extension. I use PC 7518 3+ hp router motors in both, and am very happy with both setups. The lifts allow me to fine tune bit height very precisely and make above the table bit changes. I personally would go with the standard size plates since you might want to put them in a purchased table later down the road. Do I need router lifts? Or even a router? Or a table saw or planer or jointer? I think so, even though I could use appropriate hand tools in their absence, but choose not to. The Triton router with the buit in lift and the Jessum lifts are both great alternatives that I considered, but settled on the PRL-V2 lifts with the PC motors instead. This heavy duty setup should last for my lifetime and someone elses too. I will recommend this setup to anyone that asks. Plus I really like the folks at Woodpeckers cause they make a quality product with great customer service; and the PC 7518 motors may be the last decent thing that PC will make since their particpation in the race to the bottom in the tool quality department. I own several older PC tools and hope they never quit, cause I will not replace them with the new junk that PC is putting out these days. It all boils down to individual personal prefences, and we all have our own.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

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