State-of-the-Art Router Table - Popular Woodworking Magazine

State-of-the-Art Router Table

 In Questions And Answers


Imagine making a small height adjustment on your router table with no bending, peering or unlocking—simply a twist of a front-mounted handle moves the bit a mere 1/64 inch. Finally there's a router table that's as easy to adjust as a shaper. This convenience comes at a fairly high price, however. The new JessEm Mast-R-Lift Excel Router Table Top ($550) includes a built-in lifting mechanism. (A complete package including the top, fence and base costs $820.) Changes in bit height can be accurately measured with a dial that's mounted on top of the table. The lift raises the router collet high enough to change bits from above the table without removing the router motor. You do need to be careful not to nudge the front handle with your leg or you could change the bit height.
The lift is designed to grip the motor of the Porter-Cable 7518 3-hp fixed-base router. Reducer rings ($30) are available to fit most other routers. The hole in the top of the lift is a generous 3-5/8-in. diameter, so even big panel-raising bits will fit through it. One 1-1/2-in.-diameter reducer ring is included. A set of four reducers, with hole diameters of 1/4, 1/2, 1-3/8 and 2-1/2 in., is available for $25. At $550, the Excel Router Table Top is around $200 more than a stand-alone router lift. Only a few bits, like lock miters and lock rabbets, really require the extreme precision a lift offers. Nevertheless, a built-in lift and height dial make any routing operation much easier.

JessEm Tool Company, (866) 272-7492,, Mast-R-Lift Excel, top and lift only, $550; with base and fence, $820.


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