Tabletop - build or buy for Jessem lift? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Default Tabletop - build or buy for Jessem lift?

I just bought the jessem rout-r-lift for a new 2.25 hp router and looking to assemble a table. I've got space to build out a nice router station along a wall with a good sized table and cabinets and dust control below.

The only table I can see is the phenolic jessem table god $230 that fits the lift. I've seen a few videos and thinking I can double up 3/4 inch plywood and glue laminate on top. I'm decent with a router but not sure how precise I'll need to be to for the fence, miter, and the lift plate cut out.

Anyone know of alternative tables that fit this lift, should I try to build it myself, or just suck it up and get the jessem tabletop?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 09:05 PM
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First time I ever used a router was one I borrowed, in a bench top table. Last time I ever used a store bought table. I'm on maybe my fifth homemade table, lost count. I would never have a store bought table, so I would recommend making your own. And, if it's not quite right, salvage what you can from it, and start over. That way you get what 'you' want, and not what someone else thinks you want.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 09:09 PM
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Dave I'm going to second the build your own router table . As I say that though , I cheated and bought the top from Incra . Thought making the the rest below would be nice , as I can tailor it to my storage needs and dust collection .

Just a heads up , if you get a chance maybe put your first name below your avatar so the rest of the members know you by name

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 09:37 PM
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I have one purchased table top which I only use occasionally and the one I made which gets used all the time. Like Theo this is version #- I can't remember. You can make a dynamite fence of your own for next to nothing with sliding faces and dust control above and around the bit where it will be the most effective since all of the sawdust gets made above the top of the table. The only exception where above the table doesn't work is dadoing. Click on my uploads to see the one I made last which was basically identical to the version before it. If you want to make it thicker or taller you can add t tracks for accessories. You do not need 2 thicknesses of ply. I've seen more people have trouble with warping who doubled up than those who didn't. What you do need is a framework under the top that includes crossbars as close as possible to the router opening. No panel material is made to span long distances and Jessem's phenolic top has been known to warp according to some uses on here.

There is a ton, and I mean a ton, of posts on this forum about building your own table. If you click on the Routerforums.com logo that will take you to our home page where you can find a sub forum on just this, and our Community Search will provide you with hours of material to read on the subject. And of course you have all of us to ask questions of.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all - I've been searching around and found lot us of similar advice in older posts. For whatever reason I'm stuck on having a long router table like I built for my miter saw. So whatever top I use or build it will be surrounded on both sides by plywood tops. The manufactured tops all seem to have rounded corners that I'll have to deal with or live with a less than perfect fit to the side tables.

I've never used a miter jig in my current tabletop cheapo table I have so I'm going to leave that out. A good fence is a must but I figure I can start with a straight piece of wood with a cut out for the bit and clamp it down. Eventually I can put in grove and get some hardware to allow it to slide.

So biggest decision is what type of material to use for the top and how to make sure I cut the opening for the lift perfectly. I can live with that setup for a while and then improve upon over time...
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 10:29 PM
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[QUOTE=Cherryville Chuck;1357866]What you do need is a framework under the top that includes crossbars as close as possible to the opening. QUOTE]

Yep. I've got a spiderweb of 2X4 chunks under my top, which is one layer of 1/2" plywood. I think this table is a bit over ten years old, and no sign of warping. Just listen to Chuck, and you'll come out fine.

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 10:51 PM
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Dave if I did it again I'd go with 3/4" Baltic birch plywood . I love that stuff , super straight and no voids inside the laminates . Just have some strips of wood underneath to provide strength like a torsion box .
I'd use contact cement and have arborite on the top , as it's fairly scratch resistant and also slippery , so the wood slides easily over it.

If you go to the router table pictures thread , there's some great builds there that may give you ideas for building your own

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Ok ,I never insulate
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 11:15 PM
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I'm in w/ the build it yourself crowd...
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks - any reason to go B.B. Over mdf? I've seen lots of examples and they are all using either double mdf or mdf on top of ply. I haven't seen anyone put in supports underneath though. Is that as easy as 2x4s or 2x3 going across both ways?

Trickiest part seems to be cutting for the plate. My plate is three eighths deep so I figure I'll go half inch and use leveling screws. It seems that the rabbet for the plate is the most importantly to get the fit just right. The cutout for the rest of the router hole I can freehand with a jigsaw or template cutter. Sound about the right?
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Drosner View Post
Thanks - any reason to go B.B. Over mdf? I've seen lots of examples and they are all using either double mdf or mdf on top of ply. I haven't seen anyone put in supports underneath though. Is that as easy as 2x4s or 2x3 going across both ways?

Trickiest part seems to be cutting for the plate. My plate is three eighths deep so I figure I'll go half inch and use leveling screws. It seems that the rabbet for the plate is the most importantly to get the fit just right. The cutout for the rest of the router hole I can freehand with a jigsaw or template cutter. Sound about the right?
Is it as simple as 2x4s or 2x3s going crossways? The answer is yes. That is exactly how the floor joists in your house work. They are on 16" centers. I recommend crosspieces near or at the outer edges and near the cutout for the plate. Once again, no advantage to doubling up, and there may be disadvantages based on my observations from those who did over 6 years of being on this forum.

There are a couple of ways to get the cutout right. You want to cut the hole out close to full depth to within 1/8 to 1/4 " of the final size and then you can trace out the size of the plate and clamp straight pieces to the line and use a rabbeting bit or pattern bit to get to the final size and depth for the plate. The table before I got it perfect on the first try. This table I wound up a little too deep which is bad because material bridges across the gaps as it goes over the plate. Once it drops down onto the plate the profile changes. Whatever, crap happens, be prepared to deal with it and move on. It is simply a matter for me to drill some holes and thread them for leveling screws in this case and the problem is solved. There are very few problems that can't be solved.
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