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Thread: Router Lift Questions ...yeah i know ....again..:)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Router Lift Questions ...yeah i know ....again..:)

    Ok so i am getting ready to pull the trigger on a decent router lift.

    I have tried the cheap solution now with my new Milwaukee router i plan on going uptown.

    I need some input. Thought i had decided but got the good old procrastination and fear of having buyers remorse hit me after doing some reasearch and hearing other views. Wish i had not.


    I was ready to pull the trigger on the Kreg lift which is essentially the Woodpeckers Prl lift.

    Except there is a difference to the ones that many of you have that use a crank handle to raise or lower it. And this is where my concern comes in.

    The new one has a rod you insert turn and it releases the lift which you then can raise of lower to whereever. Then when you have fitted your bit you can either get it close to where you want it with the same rod or you can use the thumbwheel for fine adjust.

    Here is where i am concerned and desire some feedback from someone who has a woodpecker with the thumbwheel or similar unit made by Woodpecker for Incra or Kreg.

    Apparently when one has a router in it and there is no weight on the lift the thumbwheel is fine for small fine tuning but not that easy or comfortable for large movement given its 1/16th of inch per turn.

    So this got me to looking at Jessem and their Mast R lift 2 .

    It seems to have several features over the Woodpecker or its private label versions. It gets one back to a crank handle like the early Prl 2 Woodpeckers had. Still 1/16 per turn but its a nice top crank handle. The neat thing is also where in the Kreg/Incra/Woodpecker Prl versions with the thumbwheel the locking of the thumbwheel is achieved using a small allen key, and there is no defined locked point it is feel based. The Jessem makes use of the same crank handle to lock the height adjust but also has a illustrated defined locked point. So you know you have locked it and not over tightened a allen key.

    Price is not an issue despite me being frugal by that i dont mean i am shelling out for a full table etc. But the difference between these various lifts is not big enough to have it steer my thoughts. Hence my current dilema.

    The other item which i dont quiet see as a huge benefit but is something to consider is the Jessem unit has a clamping block that allows a wide variety of routers to be fitted with the same adaptor blocks. In the case of the Woodpecker version you have to get the lift (no matter whose label) with the appropriate blocks to fit your router. So if you have a dead router one day and wish to change over to keep going you aint gonna do that without delay in which case you might well get your router fixed rather than change. It aint a biggie to me since i plan on dedicating my Milwaukee to the router lift and table.

    So anyone out there able to give me some input related to the two options i have mentioned. I am pretty much set on these two manufacturers.

    LV stocks both lifts so i dont have to deal with shipping. Can even get a local Incra but i like the idea of the plastic insert plates rather than metal held in my magnets unless someone has other ideas of the Incra setup that make it better.

    Thanks for any input and wisdom. I know we have lift debates all the time and did take loads of time yesterday to search our forum but my points were never answered in the threads i found.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I am not one to stall progress but, I do feel the original PRL was pretty close to perfect. A quick-lift feature is great and I wish it could have been accomplished without losing the huge guide posts that mounted opposite each other and the automatic carriage lock. I'm sure the changes were in response to customer feedback and I'm sure that even the big-brains at Woodpecker can only solve so many engineering problems per device. I just use a little cordless screwdriver to wind the carriage up for bit changes and then back down to the general area where I will be using the router. In practice I do not find that I move the carriage large distances except for bit changes so, I would prefer a crank, direct or linkage attached, as long as the fine adjustments were easy. Also, I have read posts by folks who have a PRL-v1 in one table and a QL version in another and see no difference in stability.

    I don't know if any of this rambling can be heaped on the already huge pile of info you are undoubtedly weighing in making this decision. I know it took me about a year to decide once upon a time. I have been happy every time I use the router table for years so, I guess I made the right decision for me. Take your time, read and ask EVERYTHING . . . twice . . . . I am sure you will make the right decision for you too.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    I have the woodpeckers PRL-V2 router lift. I wouldn't trade it for the world. It has the quick lift you talk about with the rod and spring which allows you to do above the table bit changes with out special wrenchs. Once done just lower it close to where you need it and use the thumb wheel for the fine adjustment.

    As for the brake I have never had to touch, use or adjust it! The router stays at whatever elevation I set it at.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    I have the Woodpecker Quick Lift. Actually, I got the whole package including the router table, stand and super fence. It all works very well and I have no complaints.

    But if I was to do it all over, I would probably go with Mast-R-Lift Excel II

    In reality, I would probably NOT buy a router lift and table. In fact, I am contemplating selling my setup, but keeping my big Milwaukee router. The reason is I hardly use it, it takes up space and do not see using it much in the future. If I need a table, I would probably just use a sheet of plywood for a makeshift one. I see myself doing more hand moulding. You know, with moulding planes, hollows and rounds. But that is just me. Again, if I was walking down the power road, the Excel II would be the one I would lean toward. I understand they are working on a metal version of their table.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    @Glenn you can have a crank Woodpecker make a retrofit side crank for your version of the PRL.

    @Bill they dont make your one anymore but it looks like a solid unit. Hold on to it all remember one thing to think about is we aint gonna be getting any younger. So someday you may need power to help out in the hand tool department.

    I got loads of things i want to do on a router since i got Router Ladies book and became router friendly. So i will push on and get it set up and take the agro out of using the router in my situation.

    @Alan you my savior. I am delighted to hear your report and that you have the very unit i am looking at.

    Can you tell me what router you have mounted?

    I share Glenns view that we in fact really should not be needing the range of travel that the lift makes possible when you get down to it you gotta bring the collet up above the table so whats that 3 inches if it has a long bit in it and then change the bit and drop it 3 inches.

    So my question is you drop it say 2 inches and need to use the thumwheel to get the rest cause you took the bar out and how does that feel? Is it tough going ?

    Would you rather have had the sidewinder version?

    Alan are the bearings on your unit sealed? Can you tell? How are those posts mounted to the insert plate?

    Do you know what the radius is on the corner of the plate. I have read so many conflicting versions. Some say 1/2 inch some 5/8 inch and even read 3/4 inch.

    If one has the correct router bit i dont see the need to buy a template to cut out the table.

    I was also thinking of going for a clean cut and trying out the Kreg levelers. They look neat.

    Hope someone chimes in that has a Jessem Mast R lift 2.

    Anyone got a Jessem but the latest model by any chance. Good thing i feel about buying this from LV is if i aint happy they will take it back. So its risk free essentially. What i would like to do is go to my local store where they have the two units on display and load up my milwaukee and get a feel for the two myself.

    The marketing is so good on these units and they both look so well engineered that its a very tough call.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Decatur, Alabama
    Rob, I have the incra version of the master lift 2 and love it. One of the major reasons I bought is because I have a 2-1/4 hp router, but will upgrade when it wears out.

    I don't think anyone would be unhappy with the height adjustment of the master lift. I had some second thoughts before I bought it thinking it would be a pain to change bits. In practice though, it only takes 15 seconds or so to get it to height to change bits. From what I've heard of the woodpecker lift, you'd be very happy with it also.

    Personally I like the magnetic inserts, they work well. I think the plastic ones would be fine too. In my opinion, that's just personnel preference. My thinking is the steel plate is easier to level exactly to the table, but I've never heard a complaint on the plastic inserts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Sorry Rob I set here reading this looking at the size of a table and the cost of a router and lift and table I just have to wounder why one would spend so much money and time trying to make a shaper and not just go buy a shaper. For $460 US one could have the griz G1035p and I am sure it will work circles around that table with all the fancy parts.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Sorry Rob I set here reading this looking at the size of a table and the cost of a router and lift and table I just have to wounder why one would spend so much money and time trying to make a shaper and not just go buy a shaper. For $460 US one could have the griz G1035p and I am sure it will work circles around that table with all the fancy parts.
    Thats an easy one to answer Chuck! I already had the big router and it was free to me. I already had a good size collection of bits that I would need to duplicate again for a shaper and then I would need to find some place to store another tool that I find I don't need. The lift was a no brainer.

    Rob I'll get you some more detailed pictures when I get home from work today and answer your other questions. Off to work I go!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    I can answer that one too Chuck I had both and found I used the router table more as it was cheaper to use. For good shaper cutters it gets real expensive real fast. I dont miss my shaper but I am lost without my router tables. That problem is almost solved as I am finishing up 2 New Yankee tables. And thanks to Rob I bought a Mast-R-Lift on ebay last night. Thanks Rob I think
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Well Jay I hope its the mast R lift ll thats the latest version i was mentioning.

    Well i took a drive to LV store today and checked it out and it is so so smooth. So guess what i pulled the trigger and made the decision. Luckily LV had stock they dont keep many the guy on the floor told me.

    The thing that did it for me compared to the new prl was the crank and the lock and at $299 it was $30 plus cheaper than the Kreg. The other thing was the fact that the blocks that clamp on the router are designed to accomodate many different routers so it does add a degree of flex down the road or in an emergency. Its also Canadian made so for once i get to support the home team and keep some Canadian jobs going. THis unit is very very well engineered well packed and with all the screws and adjusters one needs.

    If i have to critisize anything its the documentation. I have no clue why companies do not pay attention to detail in their documentation. There website dont have the latest manual on it so you cannot check the docs out before you buy.

    BUt i already hit a snag that may see this puppy be returned. They say on their site it fits the 5625 Milwaukee yet in the documentation there is no mention of where to put the blocks for this router. I am sure i got to modify my milwaukee to fit it due to the above table height adjustment screw coming out down the one side.

    From what i have found on teh interwebs, Jessem used to get a special version of the 5625 called the 5626 which had the variable speed external to the router and was motor only. They say that fits this lift so i guess there must be some way the 5625 fits. I will be on the phone to them in the morning and that will test their technical support line and will be the deciding factor.

    @Chuck re the shaper I fully agree Chuck i have actualy argued that point myself. But the thing is for me its two fold. 1) The bits i have already and 2) more important is space. This whole lot is going in my table saw to compact machines in the shop and loose the dedicated router table cabinet.

    I will put some more info up and some pics when i get to fit the whole lot together. I got a line of things ahead of it right now but eager to get to it.

    Hold thumbs for the tech support call in the am.

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