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Router Lift Reviews

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift

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JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift

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The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II is the the latest version of JessEm’s Mast-R-Lift router lift which has kept all the great features which made the original Mast-R-Lift so popular and added some new features as well. JessEm invented the router lift back in 1999 and continues to concentrate on producing top quality, innovative router lifts which make router table work easier and more accurate than ever.

Why do you need a router lift
Once you’ve bought a router there are a number of accessories that most woodworkers buy, and the most useful of all of them is a Router Table, which increases the range of jobs you can perform with your router.

However, mounting a router under a router table introduces a number of problems – to get at the router to adjust the bit height or change the bit you have to reach under the table where access is tight and where all the controls are upside-down and backward.

To get round these problems most router tables now come with a removable mounting plate so that you can remove the mounting plate with the router still attached which gives you much easier access. A router lift is the next stage in the router table evolutionary process as it allows you to make router bit height adjustments and bit changes from above the table, as well as giving you an incredible amount of fine control over the height adjustment.

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II carriage and spindlesHow does it work?
All router lifts are made up of the same basic parts – top plate, shafts, lift carriage and lift spindle – and they all work in a similar way. The router is clamped into the lift carriage which rides on the shafts mounted to the top plate; the carriage is then raised or lowered by cranking the handle which turns the threaded lift spindle.

What should you look for?
The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II has been designed with the following essential requirements in mind

  • Smooth, easy height adjustment
  • Accurate micro-adjustment that stays put
  • Good range of adjustment
  • Hard wearing top plate with insert ring
  • Heavy duty construction

Smooth adjustment
When raising or lowering the router, you want the movement to be as smooth and easy as possible, even when you’re using a heavy router in the lift. You don’t want the spindle to be stiff or to stick – the smoother the mechanism, the easier it is to make accurate micro adjustments. It’s also faster to crank it up all the way to get access to the collet for bit changes.

JessEm invented the router lift in 1999 and concentrate on producing top quality, innovative router lifts, making router table work easier than ever šŸ˜€

The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II does this by using doubled sealed bearings on the lift spindle which means that even the heaviest router on the market can be raised and lowered with one finger.

In order to ensure that it continues to stay as smoth as possible, you need to make sure that you clean the threads of the spindle regularly so that it doesn’t clog up with sawdust.

Accurate micro-adjustment
To raise the router you turn the crank handle clockwise and each complete revolution raises the router 1/16-inch, so a quarter turn would give you a 1/64-inch adjustment.

All JessEm Router Lifts feature their patented thread tensioning design which means it’s not necessary to lock the router into position after setting the cutting height. With the latest Mast-R-Lift II they’ve decided to go even further and have added a cam lock that is accessible from the top surface and is engaged with the use of the same crank handle used to raise and lower the lift. A simple twist ensures the lift is locked securely in place so you know it’s not going anywhere.

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II router liftGood range of adjustment
It’s important that you have a good range of adjustment so that you can raise the cutter and collet all the way above the top plate for above-the-table bit changes. The image on the left shows how good the range is on the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II with the collet way above the table top. This just makes your life so much easier when you don’t have to fiddle around under the table.

Hard wearing top plate with insert ring
You’ve probably noticed that you generally get a lot of pretty anodized aluminum in router lifts but looks aren’t everything and the top plate on the JessEm is black because it’s hard anodized which is an engineered surface treatment that provides a thick abrasion resistant coating and is not just a cosmetic treatment that will wear off. Luckily you also get some nice red anodizing on the shafts as well so it’s still up there with the best of them in the looks stakes.

The Mast-R-Lift II also comes with a 2″ insert ring to reduce the size of the cutter opening. For smaller diameter cutters up to 2″ diameter you use the insert ring but remove it for larger cutters up to 3-1/2″. You should always have the smallest opening possible for the siz of cutter you are using as this gives maximum support to the workpiece.

You can also buy additional different sized insert rings separately so that you can get the best possible fit for the router bit you are using.

Heavey duty construction
All the machined components on the Mast-R-Lift II are CNC machined and all the aluminum non wear components on the Lift are anodized for appearance, corrosion resistance and some wear resistance.

For extra rigidity, the shafts on the Mast-R-Lift II are pressed into a shaft mount with hydraulic pressure – not just threaded to the top plate.

How much should you expect to pay?
We foundĀ it on the web for $320 – $330

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What are other people saying?
The Mast-R-Lift II is the latest version just out and so there are no other reviews. Some of the comments on the previous model

  • “Incredibly well made, very functional”
  • “I couldn’t ask for anything easier and it operates soooo smoothly too”
  • “Awesome Lift!”
  • “Excellent choice!”
  • “Jessem simply makes good products”

Any complaints?
Nothing significant that we could find.

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II router liftWhat kind of warranty is there?
The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II is backed by a one-year limited warranty.

 

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Bottom Line
The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II is the the latest version of JessEm’s Mast-R-Lift router lift which has kept all the great features which made the original Mast-R-Lift so popular and added some new features as well. JessEm invented the router lift back in 1999 and continues to concentrate on producing top quality, innovative router lifts which make router table work easier and more accurate than ever.

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