|Review by lashing||posted 12-04-2010 05:07 AM||24072 views||1 time favorited||13 comments|
I just got this router. So I’ll likely update info as I get more familiar. I noticed there are not many reviews for this new model from Makita so we need one on LJ.
Amazon offered a really low sale price on this for Black Friday. It was $100 less than the sale price here in Canada. Being 10 minutes from Detroit, I had it shipped there and even got free shipping from Amazon. To my horror, Amazon didn’t pack it. They shipped the router in its own box – unsealed. I guess UPS took care to carry it top up as if they flipped it upside down it likely would have spilled out.
It arrived anyway and I gave it a test run. Really I bought this for use in the table. I know – it’s a plunge router. Lots of people use its predecessor the 3612 in tables and it was the power/price that got me to buy it over the Milwaukee or PC 7518.
I like Makita. They often build a good tool. I also like that this router is made in Japan. Their routers have a good rep. I was impressed with the build quality out of the box. True to Makita the manual sucks. Terrible manual with no exploded parts diagram.
The plunge action has me thinking maybe I should keep it out of the table. It is effortless. I’ve never felt anything like the plunge. Apparently there is a new up/down bearing system utilized. It’s so smooth.
There are two LED lights to illuminate around the bit. I thought this would be hokey but actually, I like it. It totally helps. Not a deal maker/breaker .. it is useful and well placed so not at all annoying.
I haven’t put it thru all the paces but the soft start is nice. Plenty of power and it seems to sustain that power under load. It also has a brake so it stops quickly. The only gripe I have in this area is the power switch. There’s a safety switch you have to press in when you power it …. It feels a little flimsy. Minor gripe. With today’s silly rules they were probably forced to put it on to sell to America. Some idiot would change bits without unplugging it and sue.
For the last 2 years I’ve been using a Triton. I really like the Triton feature. It does everything others do not. Its build is a tad plastic though. In comparison the Triton is way easier to setup than the Makita. Putting the Makita in my table …. Well, its much more effort to get the bit in place. The Triton has a great feature of dialing the bit up and down quickly with the knob then using the fine adjust. The Makita forces you to wind forever on the fine adjustment. No quick up or down. Will I get used to this? No one has the feature of the Triton and I rave about those features. Until you try it – you’ll not know.
The Makita has more power than the Triton. This was expected. The Triton is the older 2 ¼ hp model. It performs well but there have been a tiny few instances I felt it might have been the culprit in tearout via not quite enough guts. The Makita appears to have plenty. The Makita gets hotter than the triton. Again – it’s a larger machine.
The bit is straight up 90 degrees. No wobble. The base is rock solid and the whole machine feels completely solid. It wins over the Triton here. After playing in the table a bit I still felt that maybe I should keep it out of the table. While it’s a heavy beast its really nice to handle freehand. Very balanced. The triton is not. Also the bit depth etc isn’t that big a deal to adjust when it’s right there with gravity working with me rather than against me. Unlike the Triton there is no way to take out the plunge spring. So it fights you in a table. I could see mortises being lovely with this Makita. That plunge is so smooth and the comfortable grip and balance actually make me like the weight. It’s like my Makita Circular saw – heavy yes but it actually helps the tool stay on course for their intended operation. Fine Woodworking complained they had to “help it back up” during mortises. I noticed no such thing. I also do not trust Fine Woodworking as in my opinon thye rate tools based on ad dollars not experience. Just my opinion. They rave about Ridgid and Dewalt to much.
Overall the Makita is a finer tool than the Triton and has more power. But we’ll see if the adjustment differences become too large to get over. From what I’ve seen so far – in tough woods like maple the power and stability of the Makita make the adjustment worthwhile. Any bogging down in maple gets disastrous on curves. We all know what happens when grain changes. You or your too cannot hesitate or wander. If you do that piece is going to fly. The Triton was dicey on grain changing curves.
We’ll see how it goes as projects progress. You do not get any extras from Makita. The unit comes with one ½” collet, a ¼ adapter sleeve (I hate when companies do this) a stamped wrench for the collet. No extras, no straight guide. Which brings me to my other gripe – no dust collection? My Triton has a nice plastic dust surround that works great with a shopvac. The Makita has nothing but a straight plastic shield operator side. Nothing on the other side so wood blows everywhere. I think dust collection is available as an accessory. Of course no one carries accessories and I assume they must be ordered.