Router Lifts: the basics - Part 5

A router lift really is a simple mechanism. As time goes by, you'll find manufacturers adding features to their lifts in order to increase their profit margins. This is all well and good if the features actually add valuable capability to the lift. Only you can decide for yourself if this is true. Our point here is to examine closely any new features that differ from the ones we show below. Take the time to research the new ones online. You can also monitor the wood working forums for a time to see how well these new features perform before you spend your hard earned money on them.

Top quality JessEm router lifts and those by Woodpeckers give you the router table lift features you need.

So, the main features you need to consider when deciding on a specific lift are really pretty simple:

1) Fit

You need to know that your wood router will work fit precisely into the lift. You should also make sure that your table will allow easy access to the lift controls, especially if you have built it yourself or did not buy a mainstream model.

Note: Of the models I've seen. I recommend either the JessEm router lift 'Rout-R-Lift' or the Woodpeckers router lift 'Unilift'. Both of them work well with a variety of fixed base and plunge-cut routers, and incorporate most if not all of the common features currently available.

2) Stability

Most router lifts are now made of extruded aluminum. In contrast, one model is made from cast iron, and has received high marks due to its tremendous stregth. Whichever model you choose be sure it is rigid and strong and will resist flexing even under heavy loads.

Note: Most lifts sold today are quite stable with firm mount points. They tend to fit well on the vast majority of tables and routers. But, usability is another thing since everyone has their own working styles and preferences. I suggest you find the models that have the features and price for you Then spend some time checking on how well those models have been reported to work for wood workers. Searching on the model number or description in many cases will be enough to locate online discussions or magazine reviews for your specific model.

3) Ease of Use

You should keep ease of use as a top consideration, seeing as this is the primary reason for buying a lift in the first place. Besides easy access to the controls, watch for a 'wow' feature like digital measuring. With it, you know in an instant where you router bit stands. It's a great router lift feature that increases ease of use, but it also increases cost. Another ease of use feature is the TPI or 'threads per inch'. We discuss TPI in the next article.

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