JessEm Router Prestige Package
Review and Photos: Nathan Day
A couple of years ago, in AWR’s Boxmaker competition, I was fortunate enough to win the Jessem Deluxe Router Table package. In my workshop I have two spindle moulders, each with high speed router spindles, but not a stand alone router table. Despite this I still saw it as a great prize and a welcome addition to my workshop.
The package includes a router lift, stand, phenolic top, fence and featherboards. A router table needs a dedicated router. For this review, I fitted my Festool OF1400, which is listed as compatible with the lift mechanism.
The Jessem is a good looking unit. It arrives flat packed but bolting it together is straightforward. The quality of the base and in particular the powder-coating is reflective of the high quality of the overall package.
The main tabletop is laminated phenolic. Not too dissimilar in appearance to compact laminate with its black core and clean white surfaces. Jessem claim it will not sag at all, but I did find about 0.3mm of sag across the length, not too bad considering how much weight is actually hanging off the middle of the table.
Fitting the Festool was very easy. Pre- drilled holes in the plate correspond to those in the base of the router. Grub screws, spaced out around the edge of the plate, allow you to perfectly align the surface of the router plate with the surface of the tabletop.
The fence requires a small amount of set-up, with channels attached to each side of the table providing forward and back adjustment. Wing nuts open and close the mouth according to the size of cutter you are using. Fence adjustments are great, very positive without any need to overtighten.
One of the main advantages of a good quality router lift such as this is that all adjustments happen above the table. Rise and fall is via a key, made very accurate by a graduated scale. Removing the plastic table ring allows good access for changing bits.
The supplied featherboards look quite clunky and very plastic, but they are actually a clever design, both in the way they fit into the channels in the table and the fence, and also in the way they can be alternated. I even used them upside-down as a stronger hold-down. Locking and adjustments here are again easy and positive.
Dust extraction is via a fitting in the back of the fence which I attached to a small vac. A little bit of dust escaped through the bottom of the router, but the table was generally quite clean, especially when the clear, bit cover was fitted and set.
The only real drawback is the table is quite small. I notice this coming off spindle moulders which have a much larger work surface. I had a problem routing some coffee table frames as there was not enough support. Apart from that I would say that this set-up gets a big thumbs up.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Jessem package. The finish on all the parts was great, and once set up, allows for quick start up and change over between functions. A valuable piece of equipment for a professional workshop and a very good looking router table.
Supplied by Gregory Machinery: www.gregmach.com, (07) 3375 5100.
Nathan Day is a furniture designer and maker based in Yallingup, West Australia see www.nathandaydesign.com.au