Jessem router lift and AUK router

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21 Mar 2017
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There has been a bit of debate about router tables and lifts so I thought I would write this
A couple of months ago I took the plunge and decided to upgrade my router table.
Having used the new set up for a couple of months, these are my thoughts on the new system as shown.
I decided to build a complete new table and fence assembly with T track guides and a fence with adjustable cheeks and length stops
The top is made from 18mm birch ply with a 9mm engineering plastic working face. I am not sure of the exact type of plastic but it is what we use in work for all our process tables. While relatively soft and cuts with a saw/chisel, it has excellent abrasion resistance. This was bonded down with contact adhesive. I took particular care to make sure that the T track sections were exactly parallel. I used 2 tracks as this gives much better guidance for the cross cut/tenoning sledge which runs in them. One of the problems with T track is that it catches chips etc. To get over this I have made 2 removable strips which fit into the track when not in use.
The rise fall mechanism on the router lift is extremely precise and smooth except at the upper limit which I suspect is just dust on guides. I like the locking feature for final cuts but not sure if it is really required. There is virtually no backlash in the adjuster thread. The table inserts work very well but are quite tight in the aperture and a bit awkward to remove. Replacements are a bit pricy but I will look at some home made options

The main fence has adjustable cheeks and cut to length stops. I bought 2 sets of stops. The cheaper ones in plastic actually work better as the aluminium doesn’t rotate without galling slightly. The aluminium arms are more rigid so on the to do list is to swap the aluminium arms onto the plastic stop body

I have made a second smaller fence with a replaceable central section for making zero clearance setups.

To get the best out of the accuracy of the router lift, fine adjustment on the fence is essential. This is done with a lockable bar behind the fence and a threaded rod with fine adjuster thumb wheels.Thread pitch is 1mm so you can get very precise adjustment I have fitted this into a t track section at the back of the main/small fence so larger adjustments can be made easily and the locking bar assembly and adjusters can be quickly removed by undoing the 2 Bristol levers . I have put a scale on both sides of the table make setting the fence easier. This was made by cutting up 4 very cheap aluminium rulers (£1)

Extraction. I have fitted standard behind the fence extraction. Everywhere seemed to have run out of 100mm flange fittings so I bought an aluminium blast gate and separated it into 2 pieces. I have used 1 piece behind the fence. The other piece I have cut and fits into the T track on the fence to provide overhead guarding and extraction when needed, like using bearing guided cutters.

Standard extraction through the fence works very well even when the cheeks are set with a 10mm gap
For under table extraction when cutting grooves I have a baffle which can be fitted effectively enclosing the router cavity and all air an chips are drawn into the router space along the same sort of lines as the Jessem clean sweep type system. At present the baffle is just 6mm ply but I will replace with Perspex at a later date so I have visibility of the motor and lift mechanism. I generally leave this baffle out to improve air flow to the motor
The Jessem lift is fantastic and the accuracy of the rise mechanism is in a different league to my previous router set up, however there are definitely areas that could be improved
1. There is no depth stop so you have to work to the dial each time (easy to lose track of how many revolutions of the adjusting wrench). I have ordered a digital position scale and will look to fit which will give exact position but no positive stop
2. There is no spindle lock so bit changing is with 2 spanners
3. Access to the collet is tight with the spanners provided. The spanners are garbage and I am currently looking at sorting out better ones
4. The tapped holes for the lead in pin in the plate are both blind so they fill with dust and are a pain to clean out
5. The collet assembly on the AUK router is not as secure feeling as on my Elu router but it seems to work fine, The back nut did come loose on teh router shaft when removing a bit but is now secure
6. I have no idea how to remove both parts of the collet, if the lower portion wears as there appears no way to lock the spindle
7. Fitting a muscle chuck will sort a lot of these issues but that is a further £70 plus £20 for a ¼ inch collets
8. The speed controller works well but a larger knob and a calibrated dial would have been nice
9. The motor set up is definitely quieter than my previous Elu router set up but not much difference when actually cutting
The whole set up has cost around £850 which is probably around twice what I would have paid for a good dedicated router and a table. Was it worth it? Sometimes it is not easy to put a financial justification, however experience to date is very good and I don’t expect to buy another one for a very long time.


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Thanks for posting this - looks like a great set up. I have just ordered a UJK table and lift after spending ages weighing up the options ... still not sure if I should have just done a rebuild of my existing set up!
Yes saw your posts on the UJK thread. If you want details of the fence construction, just drop me a pm. The total sum for the hardware for the fine adjustment was only £16 and very easy to set up
Blackswanwood":1suv3jfj said:
Thanks for posting this - looks like a great set up. I have just ordered a UJK table and lift after spending ages weighing up the options ... still not sure if I should have just done a rebuild of my existing set up!

You will not be disappointed with the UJK set up, if you need a fine adjuster try this: ... les-506247 purpose made, but I find it a nuisance, does not allow course adjustments easily, jams the fence in its track having two T bolts, for most fine adjustments I just move one end of the fence using the built in measurement scales on the side of the table.

Forgot to mention a mod I carried out to the fence, I V notched the ends of the movable fence and made up some melamine supplementary fence bits to fit into the V, these I use as a zero clearance fence when needed, cheap simple and no obstruction to the workpiece.