|Review by Tedstor||posted 03-31-2011 08:08 AM||4072 views||0 times favorited||4 comments|
A couple years back, I bought two craftsman routers off CL. One came with a fixed base and the other came with a fixed and plunge base. In spite of the bad “press” crfatsman often receives, these tools have treated me well.
However, there is one legit shortcoming that I have found. The router accessory world basically revolves around Porter Cable, and Craftsman is no where to be found. This became especially apparent after I bought a HF dovetail jig and needed a baseplate bushing set. Virtually every set in the galaxy is made to fit PC, and thus not fit Craftsman. None of my preferred retailers could accomodate me. Although Sears does sell a steel bushing set with centering cone for $30, I was hesitent to buy it since it will only fit craftsman routers. I have been using my routers a lot more lately, and I could see myself moving into a higher-end product in the near future. At that point, the craftsman bushings would be near worthless.
So, while picking up some doug fir boards in Home Depot yesterday, I stumbled upon this “Universal Router Bushing Set” by Ridgid. The shelf price is $40 which initially seemed excessive since Harbor Freight sells a brass set for $15-20. I also didn’t think the kit was viable for me at any price since the bushings are too small for my router.
However, upon closer inspection, I came to realize that the kit included a fixed baseplate, plunge baseplate, templates, and a brad point bit with counter sink which can be used to make the bushings fit any router. I guess thats where the “universal” term comes from (nothing gets by me [lol]).
The included bushings come in eight sizes (51/64, 3/4, 5/8, 1/2, 7/16, .400, 3/8, 5/16) with a storage case and 1/2-1/4 collet centering cone.
Installing the baseplates was easy. The included instructions are clear and the process is straight forward, although I defintely recommend using a drill press and hold down clamp to drill the holes. I’m not sure a hand held drill would be precise enough.
Once installed, the kit worked as advertised. No real complaints. My two current routers now accept PC bushings which is great because they will be more useful even after I upgrade to a better router. I might dedicate the fixed base craftsman for use in the dovetail jig. And since my next router will almost certainly be PC compatible, these bushings should see a lot of future use. All considered, the price is actually pretty reasonable. (even more so after a 10% military/veteran disc). I hope this helps.