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Thread: Jessem Router Table Top Update 2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Jessem Router Table Top Update 2

    So after more than a year of hemming and hawing i pulled the trigger and bought a Jessem Router table top to go with the lift i purchased ages ago but have never settled on what to put it in.

    I am back to wanting this to be stand alone rather than in my saw top as i was going to do.

    What i really like is the solid phenolic and the cut out all having been done by cnc and precise.

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    I plan on using some aluminum angle iron and attaching it to the top via the predrilled and tapped holes and then using it to attach to the sides of the plywood cabinet i am going to build once i can get measurements on the distances between the aluminum.

    Those of you familiar with Jessem will know they make quality products. Canadian made.


    Their documentation sucks. I hope they get to read this thread. They really need to catch a wake up. And call their technical support and it turns into you being made to feel like an idiot rather than a customer struggling to understand their products.

    I have found a great blog that some guy that bought the Jessem Excell table with the hand crank and digital measurement gauge but we should not have to rely on the internet and private blogs in a time of multimedia to be able to fully understand a manufacturers products. I have seen better documentation from a Tai Chi company than these guys. To me it shows a lack of customer service mentality and technical arrogance.

    KUDOS to Lee Valley which is where i purchased this top. On their website they dont show the top as a stand alone item. They have the Excell table all set up in the local store with its lift and stand. I did not want that setup i just wanted the top and when i approach one of the sales people it was no problem to look in the system and see if it was available as components. Sure enough they had it and priced very competitively at $209 Canadian for the top on its own.

    Whats more when they brought it out, i asked if i could see it, well the sales person a lady already had the cutter in her hand intent on cutting the box open. We proceeded to take it out and i was even more delighted because the one on the floor was a black clear phenolic and this one is the same phenolic but coated with what appears to be some sort of white melamine or pretty thick white paint coating as you can see. I wanted it in white.

    I told her i had hemmed and hawed about this and was not sure how it would fit my lift and before the words were out she said well you know you can always bring it back if its not what you want when you get it home. NOW thats customer service. WOW!!!

    If only the product lived up to the sales people Lee Valley has.

    So why my rant about them. In the event that by chance they happen to stumble upon my rant, i want to leave some thoughts behind for the idiots (sorry but it makes me mad that a western company that produces such a darn good product drops the ball short of the line)

    1) There is no dimensions to be found in regards to any of the holes. When i say dimensions, i dont just mean between centers but what the heck the holes are for. Then what thread they are. And how deep. How to deal with tightening a screw into them. I mean they do supply some 1/2" 10 -24 cap screws which you can get a fair bit of purchase on when tightening if you not careful and i can see an idiot like myself stripping these holes if one is not careful. The only way i know which screws are which is because i went and purchased a brand new 10-24 tap today and had to first get the nut in the hardware store to match to determine the tap i needed to be able to clean out the holes.

    2) If one by comparison looks at company like Kreg, its chalk and cheese in terms of info that one supplies over the other. Kreg even have plans and videos to show you how to use the product and set it up etc. This is a router top. They obviously think if they tell people how to diy your own cabinet for it then they gonna lose sales on their metal frame stand. (that's the only logic i can see other than just being blind to the fact that providing some aids to would be customers to use their products in component form would help sales dont you think?) I can tell you in my search for other users info I found a couple of guys that were on the fence like i was in terms of buying this simply because they could not find out all they wished to before purchasing.
    Kreg by comparison show you how to use their stuff to build a whole work bench and more.

    3)But even if you look at the manual they have for the Full Excell stand and top assembly it leaves a great deal of connect the dot conclusions to be made. Communication and customer service are something i have seen complained about on the web on other sites during my research. You would think by now they would have put some effort into it. You may have printed black and white manuals for the purpose of cheap printing but heck man what about color pdf manuals for downloading then at least one can make out what is happening on black anodised products.

    4) A DIY plan and sketchup file would be nice addition to their documentation such that at least there are some clues as to how to attach this top to a cabinet you build. The angle iron is my own doing and i hope it works out.

    5) We live in an age of free you tube uploads for videos and Jessem even has a channel, but dont look for it and any decent info other than marketing splurb to try sell the product. Even then it falls terribly short. How difficult is it to make a video to show off your product today.

    And this lack of information shows. The unit i got from Lee Valley was manufactured in 2012 so they not exactly flying off the shelf @ $939 for a fence, stand, table and lift. So you would think they could sell more if guys were able to buy a top and a lift and diy some of the components. Besides the stand is pressed metal angle iron, have these guys not heard of dust collection. WAKE UP JESSEM.
    My apologies for the Rant but i had to get this off my chest. This is a great Canadian made product falling short because of short shortsightedness of the company. Someone there needs a kick up the backside and i suspect its the owner not staff.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 10-02-2014 at 11:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Nice set up, Rob. That setup is way outta my league at the moment. I got a homemade router table and a broken router, which I hope to replace in a couple days. The router, not the table.

    In arte voluptas - in der Kunst liegt Vergnügen - in art lies enjoyment

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    It's sad that they have such poor customer service/support, they make good equipment, but that's not going to keep them in business. I've shy'd away from buying anymore from them because of the poor reputation.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    First off, congrats on a fine top. I know there are a lot of folks who use JessEm and their products are nicely built. Your RANT experience is why I no longer have any of their stuff but, that's just me. A lot of folks use them and their stuff is top quality as far as the actual product goes so, I'm not throwing darts.

    As in all other router table threads, learn from others mistakes .

    • Build your stand so that the table is well supported. Something like this (or more):

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    A sag in your table after 6 months or so is REALLY depressing.

    • Be sure to leave an overhang on either side and the front for clamping of various jigs and helpers. My first go round was built with the sides flush to the cabinet and I fought it for about a year before I rebuilt it.
    • Design the router compartment so that there is adequate room to do maintenance (cleaning, lubrication, adjustment) on the mechanism without pulling the lift out of the cabinet.
    • Build in more storage than you think you will need then add some more. I have router/lift/table overflow in another cabinet across the room. No big deal but, I could have easily built more small drawers rather than one big one on the left side. My plan was to store my extra router and boxed sets in there. Who knew I'd end up with a small herd of routers ;-)

    I'm sure there's more but, I have to run. Others will chime in. Now the fun part of designing your router table cabinet. I always enjoy the design process; you get to factor in so many folks ideas and experiences.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Router Table progress

    Well i was not going to allow a Drill Press going faulty to get in the way of my project.

    Glenn it must have been mental telepathy that you post on this thread just prior to me updating it with progress.

    To prove i am listening and learning herewith the latest update pictures of my new top and dimensions of the cavities.

    So below is the top fitted with the aluminum angle all cut to size drilled and screwed down secure with the supplied cap screws. Just for others to know these are 1/2" so they go pretty deep. I still cleared out the holes first though to prevent stripping them. Its all nice and secure.

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    Below is the side view showing space left for plywood but also if you see the holes pre-drilled and tapped in a row, they are for the fence brackets so one has to leave space. (note just to have another dig at Jessem, the reason i worked this out is through due diligence not because they provided documentation for the top. So imagine how mad you gonna be if you go to town and end up covering those holes and the buy one of their fences .....its so sad really that a company of such great products can be so blind and short sighted).

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    Below is a picture showing the size of the two spaces left. One for the cavity that the router and lift will live in and the other for the side compartments where i am still deciding on the layout of the draws.

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    Got a sketchup drawing on the go to plan the layout so the entire base will be used for storage. I plan on putting my router bits in one side and having draws for the wrenches and featherboards etc on the other.

    Got a Jessem switch to fit to the table but again have not yet decided where to put it. At the moment i am leaning towards the front in such a location that i can kill it with my knee. That keeps two hands free to hold the piece being routed.

    Really wish i was up to Daves abilities on the sketchup side.

    Trying to push hard to get this done have some templates i want to rout out urgently.

    Thanks for your input Glenn much appreciated. I learnt the exact same thing from my first hurried go round.

    Oh and by the way if anyone is wondering what router is going in this table its going to be my Milwaukee 5265 3.5Hp unit which i plan on dedicating to this table.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 04-03-2014 at 02:07 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Re: Jessem Router Table Top Update 1

    Finally after a long change of course working on my sons car i had my best weekend of the summer and made some progress on something i wanted for a change.
    Managed to get my router table cabinet cut and dadoed in the appropriate areas and mounter the lv casters.

    On Sat i joined Leo in one of those Duh absent brain moments and frankly it nearly pushed me over the edge. Not that the issue was so great just that after all the effort i took to prevent it i still went and made the stupid mistake.
    I had made a cut sheet for my 5x5 3/4 bb ply sheets ( 2 off req for job). Then go to cut the parts and yeah got so darn excited at the way it was coming out, i had a lapse and cut the piece for the back to the wrong size.
    Bad words were said but they did not help.
    Cooled down, remembered the marine corps motto and went to work thinking of a solution. Had no more 3/4 bb big enough for another piece. Then i decided Kreg was the savior so tested getting to scraps to join with pocket screws and decided for the purpose this was going to be good enough. So cut a 6 inch strip of ply, made sure to measure correcly and cut a strip of the mistake piece such that whe two were butt joined the measurement would be correct. (I had cut 1/4" off too much initially and given the angle brackets attached to the underside of the top had to meet my dimensions.
    All ended well .

    Got some cherry cut and milled again improvising and overcoming the fact that my jointer cannot be used at this address due to power issues. cherry is to be used for a face frame.

    So here is the join in the back (pocket screws are on inside)
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    Here is cab front view with top held up to show angle

    Cherry ready for making of face frame

    Still have draws to cut but learnt that lesson so will wait to measure opening before that happens.

    I will post a link to plans i decided to adapt my table from because the guy has a really great package including sketchup files. Need to be at desktop for that.

    Was soooooo nice to be making saw dust again. Knees also co operated for the most part.
    Hope u guys had great weekend if u got to the shop.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
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    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 08-05-2014 at 12:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Looking good, Rob. Gonna be stout for sure.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon

    Looking good!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Oh yeah, What Carol said. That is certainly going to be stout!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Looking good Rob. You are gonna love having that thing. The support looks pretty good but, I still worry about inadequate support along the long dimension near the lift/motor. This is where my first top failed. You could easily pocket-hole a couple of left-to-right ribs of plywood, one in front of the lift and one behind, if you so choose. On the other hand, being phenolic, if you get sag you could retrofit the ribs is required .
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

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