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Thread: Jessem Excel II Router Table Cabinet Build

  1. #1

    Jessem Excel II Router Table Cabinet Build

    Couldn't find any Jessem Excel II cabinet builds online, so am posting my journey with it. Purchased the Ultimate Excell II package which includes their upgraded aluminum table stand. The Excel II is unique in that it uses a hand-wheel connected to a crankshaft that connects to a gear box, which in turn raises and lowers the router. First, let me say that assembling this router table was a pure joy. Jessem's hardware, instructions and fit/finish are top notch. For building a cabinet, getting around the crankshaft, and the underside aluminum stiffeners, proved to be two of the most difficult challenges.

    Built everything with 1/2" baltic birch. As a newbie, took the opportunity to experiment with walnut veneer on the sides and 6" drawers, while on the cubby-hole pullouts I just used walnut stain and poly. Veneer looked great on day one, but 24 hours later a few tiny bubbles appeared which was disappointing but a good learning experience. All drawers use push-to-open slides (20"). Drawer spacing is 1/8". Built this differently than most I've seen - instead of a solid back panel, I bifurcated the back panel into two parts which are separated by a full-size mid-shelf. You can see the back of the mid-shelf just below the exhaust on the backside photo. This improves rigidity of the mid-shelf, which I deemed important since it directly supports the bottom two cubby-hole shelves using push-to-open slides mounted horizontally on the mid-shelf. On the right-hand side (where the crankshaft is), on the upper cubby-hole I opted for a very thin shelf for pencils, etc., using a hollowed-out 3/4" piece of maple, and mounted the face inverse of the others (i.e., shelf connects at the top of the face instead of the bottom). The lower cubby-hole shelf holds router insert rings (which juuuuuust fit) and wrenches. For the left-hand cubby-holes, I used 3/4" maple shelves with Rockler's 1/4+1/2 inch router inserts. These are great, they hold 1/4" or 1/2" bits nicely. You can pull them out and put them back in without cutting half your finger off, but they are firm enough to keep the bits in place.

    For the exhaust, I opted for a 4" Dust Right port, which I'm currently converting down to Festool-size but eventually will use the 4" port directly. Also regarding dust collection, the two vertical walls on either side of the router are mounted just inside the table's aluminum reinforcer bars. Both walls are tied directly to the reinforcers using 50mm-long, 6mm bolt/nuts via custom-drilled holes through the reinforcers. The left-hand wall is a solid piece, with rear cutouts to slide past the dust port in the rear. The right-hand side wall is made of two boards, which are joined on either side of the crankshaft - so in this case, there's one bolt in the rear to support the rear half and one bolt in the front for the front half. The bottoms of these walls are #8-screwed through the mid-shelf. I found this configuration plenty strong enough to keep these boards rigid, necessary for the upper two cubby-hole shelves. The right-side main panel has just the one 3/4" hole for the crank. I was able to nail this perfectly because the crank mechanism is very rigid and repeatable - so I just drew an outline of the crank up against the panel and used a forstner bit to finish it. The acrylic door uses a piano hinge and a lying-around kitchen cabinet handle.

    One of the things I forgot to mention - it was important to me to be able to disassemble the cabinet whenever necessary. So, for example: (1) I left clearance for the crankshaft attachment to the gearbox, (2) both vertical walls around the router are slide-out, after removing their top bolts and #8 screws underneath, (3) the wood framing behind the glass door is attached to separate pieces so it comes out easily (bottom attached to mid-shelf, sides attached to vertical walls, top attached using two L-brackets), (4) the table top simply pulls out from the top after disconnecting power/dust hose/vertical walls, (5) mid-shelf is countersunk to the side panels using #8 screws, etc. Once assembled, the router sound is nicely muffled and the amount of dust collected in the router area is not bad at all. I'm considering whether to add a second exhaust port, or try out the 4" rear port by itself (i.e., without connecting it to the router table's dust port). Job took longer than I expected, mainly because I kept moving the goal posts. But I'm very happy with the result so far.
    Last edited by Jackie Outten; 03-06-2021 at 11:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Sorry Guys, not sure what went wrong this time. I used the pictures icon at the top like I've done with previous posts. Trying here again:

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    Thanks for reposting the pics That is nice work.

    How do you like the Jessem roller guides. I have some, but they seem kind of oval or something, wondering if its just mine. They press real hard in some spots and not as hard on others, kind of preventing the wood from moving sometimes. I've checked the thickness of the wood with calipers, and only a couple thou difference throughout the length.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    2,521
    Wow. This puts my router table to shame.

    Where did you get the bit inserts? I made mine from MDF blocks. Not nearly as sexy looking.

    Do you have a provision for makeup air for the DC? I put some on the door, I don't see any in yours.
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
    - I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Evans View Post
    Thanks for reposting the pics That is nice work.

    How do you like the Jessem roller guides. I have some, but they seem kind of oval or something, wondering if its just mine. They press real hard in some spots and not as hard on others, kind of preventing the wood from moving sometimes. I've checked the thickness of the wood with calipers, and only a couple thou difference throughout the length.
    Thanks Jason. Roller guides are ok, a bit stiffer than I expected. Maybe with time and use they’ll grow on me.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    Wow. This puts my router table to shame.

    Where did you get the bit inserts? I made mine from MDF blocks. Not nearly as sexy looking.

    Do you have a provision for makeup air for the DC? I put some on the door, I don't see any in yours.
    Thanks Alan, bit inserts are from Rockler. I used a drill press to create rows of 5/8” diameter holes in a 20” long piece of 3/4” maple. The bit inserts just press into the holes, they fit perfectly. As simple as these inserts look, they really are well engineered. A tiny hole in their bottom vents air as bits are inserted and removed to avoid a “vacuum” effect. The walls are tapered so when seating them in the 5/8” hole they go in easy and then form a perfect, snug fit. They can hold both 1/4” and 1/2” bits which is also handy. Regarding DC air inlet, the electrical grommet on the backside allows some air, but I will likely drill holes in the glass door as a final touch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Averill Park NY
    Posts
    213
    Very nice work! I have been looking at that setup
    Some Blue Tools
    Some Yellow Tools
    A Grizzly Collection
    ShapeokoXL
    Blue and White 50 Watt

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by James Kirkpatrick View Post
    Thanks Jason. Roller guides are ok, a bit stiffer than I expected. Maybe with time and use they’ll grow on me.
    Thanks for the info James. Sounds like yours behave like kind do.

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