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I love this router so much, I bought another for under the table!

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Review by JCMeyersIV posted 450 days ago 6383 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
I love this router so much, I bought another for under the table! I love this router so much, I bought another for under the table! No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hey guys! Figured I would do my first ever review. Now this is going to be my impressions of this tool, as well as my rating of the accessories for it. I havent used many routers other that DeWalt so theres no point in comparing. So here we go!

I bought the DW618B3 kit over a year ago. I had a 1-3/4hp Craftsman router that just wasnt cutting it for some of the bigger projects i was getting into once I went pro. So upon review and after using a friends DW616 i decided i was going to go with the next model up. The next decision was whether to get the two bas or three base. That decision took maybe 30 seconds. The three bases are all solid and work great. I later purchased the edge guide, and the track saw guide, as well as a second DW618 motor dedicated to my router table.

So right off the bat so those who dont want to read this whole thing heres my pros and cons, then i’ll snap on my rubber glove and go elbow deep on the rest of it.

Pros:
-Great power: I havent had this thing bog down on me yet. Granted i know the proper procedures and take gradual cuts but this seems to handle a good amount of wood.
-Variable speed: It is what it is, not too much to say. Has a fairly wide range I would say. I realize all routers these days have this, but its still nice.
-Good collets: They hold super tight, havent had one slip in a year and a half of use.
-Well weighted: To me, the weight of this tool is just right. I’m a fairly strong person but still, it feels like it wouldnt be a wrestling match for a new comer. Its heavy enough to not get away from you too easily, but light enough to maneuver easily.
-The power cable: I LOVE the fact that the cable is detachable. Makes storage really easy.

Cons:
-Adjustment: While i’ll admit i do like the adjustment of these routers, i dont feel its really geared for precision. This of course only pertains to the D-handle and fixed base, and while usually with those bases youre only doing edge work or flushing, i bring it up because my old router table required the fixed base to be used and when dust gets in the grooves it kind of seizes up.
-Depth “gauge” ring: This thing i dont think I’ve ever used. It falls off with the slightest bump and it will move if you sneeze near it. I can see the point but you have to be so cautious turning the ring to adjust the motor because you can move this accidentally and have no clue how far youve moved it.
-Collet lock: I think it should activate a little outside the housing. It may just be me but sometimes when im trying to change bits with or without the base on its way too difficult to press it down through the base (tool unplugged obviously), with it mounted in a router table, or when im cranking the collet off. That extra 1/16” you have to push it in past the housing can be a little annoying, just me tho.
-No lights: this one isnt really that big of a deal for me, although i have a hand router with a light and its awesome. I can see where this would be a dealbreaker for some, so i put it in here for you guys.

So as you can see, i love this router. But whats the best part of any tool or really anything ever at all? Accessories, duh. Who doesnt love some nice accessories. Like if someone threw a cup holder on your table saw, tell me you wouldnt love it! So heres my quick rundown on the accessories i have, as well as some more pros/cons of them.

Case: This may seem silly to put in, but I really like how easily and how well it holds EVERYTHING even the edge guide has a home in it.
Pros: Holds everything, solid, durable.
Cons: Wont hold lunch or beer.

Fixed base: ‘Tis a fixed base. Good visibility.
-Pros: it holds your router
-Cons: You cant use it as a kick ass coffee mug, regardless of the shape.

Plunge base: I like this fixed base a lot, and use it very often. It has built in dust collection that seems to work pretty well with my dust extractor. It’s pretty much your standard plunge base. Has the turret with the stops with the tallest being adjustable. Operates very smoothly too. The lock down has come up on me a couple times but i cant rule out that i may not have depressed it fully. Visibility is decent.
-Pros: Smooth action, good dust collection, easy to see your bit, flat edge
-Cons: Plunging function cant be used to unclog your toilet… Oh and the possible depth lock slippage.

D-base: This has to be the handiest thing for the router since they started using them to carry internet signals… Wait wrong router… But seriously its like a gift from the woodworking gods. Angels sing when i put my router in it, which can be distracting. Its superior for edge work and gives you unprecedented balance and control. I also like it for the fact that when im working on some pieces with just sawhorses or out of my truck, i can use it one handed to hold the work piece. Although i recommend using extreme caution with this method. One word of caution with this base is if you chose to use the trigger option (you can bypass it and plug right into the router and not plug into the base although then the small cord kind of dangles around) the router HAS to be switched on. Forget to turn it off and the next time you plug in the router to the other bases or the table, it will be trying to take off your digits. I did this ONCE, it was in the plunge base so nothing happened. But thats not really a con to me, seems unavoidable.
-Pros: Much, much better than a standard fixed base.
-Cons: Has potential to be dangerous if motor isnt switched to “off” after use, angels singing while in use can be distracting.

Centering cone: ... Ok lets get real.
-Pros: It’s a centering cone.
-Cons: It’s not a centering ice cream cone.

Edge guide: I think this edge guide is pretty awesome personally. It does just what its suppose to, has long rails/posts, the surface area of the edge can be increased and decreased to reduce the chances of wander. And the dust collection port on it works incredibly well. I use it a lot with round overs just becuase of this feature. It also has a micro adjust knob thats handy for when youre centering fluting.
-Pros: very well thought out, solid, good dust collection, potential to rout fairly far from the edge (sorry, didnt get an exact measurement)
-Cons: None really except it is a tad bulky.

TrackSaw rail guide… thing: I really like this. I’m not a fan of setting up edge guides and a measuring this and that and how far this is from that and there and here to there and the center of this in relation to that divided but the square route of the speed of sound… I like to just draw a couple lines, set up the tool and go. Thats why i sprung the cash for the track saw (But mostly with my shop set up and size, cutting full sheets on a table saw is not only hard, its a tad dangerous.) I have my router guide set up so when the plunge base is on the track, the center of the bit is 3 1/2” from the inside edge of the track. Pretty cool if you ask me. Just a time saver. This is easily accomplished too. The piece that holds the router has a plate where the pegs for the base are and you just place your base against the plate and you have it in the exact same spot every time! It also features a micro adjust function. Only thing i dont like, and i REALLY REALLY dont like it, is that i cant seem to get the slop out of it. It has the same adjustment on it the track saw does to hold it snug to the track but for whatever reason on this they slip. One slips a little and the other slips a lot. This is a big issue to me because im all about detail. If that thing wavers back and fort on a 6’ detail, even if its only 1/16” ill go nuts. Im currently trying to figure out a way to fix this, or just see if it will resolve itself. Other than that its not enough to make me have issues with this.
-Pros: Amazing accessory to add to your track saw, or to your router (it will work with other routers i believe and the track itself isnt too bad of an invetment.)
-Cons: The play in the guide on the track, again, may be resolvable.

And that pretty much wraps up my review of this tool and the accessories i have for it, DeWalt accessories at least. I Just love this router. Like i said, as well as seen in photos, I have two. And I dont plan on buying another router for a long time, if ever again. When i need a more powerful table router, ill buy a shaper. For now I think I’m all set.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed this and are more informed of this tool. Ill be doing some more reviews soon, i enjoyed writing this one a lot!

Check for some new blog entries too! Including my feature on how NOT to use a biscuit jointer, but save yourself an insurance co-pay.

-JC

-- John, NNY, www.facebook.com/JC4Woodworking




View JCMeyersIV's profile

JCMeyersIV

71 posts in 699 days



10 comments so far

View JCMeyersIV's profile

JCMeyersIV

71 posts in 699 days


#1 posted 450 days ago

What looks like blood on my router’s top and on the base, is actually some stain from an unfortunate spill of some Cabots Red Mahogany Australian Oil. My blood is scotch colored.

-- John, NNY, www.facebook.com/JC4Woodworking

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1209 days


#2 posted 450 days ago

You did good; the 616/618 motors are nice and compact and the plunge base is simply the best in the business.

Do hold on to your receipt and warranty info. The 618’s are notorious for having the magnetic speed control ring shatter. You’ll hear a pop, and the router will rev up to full speed. The do work fine that way (once you clean out the broken magnet parts), but only at full speed. Both of my 618’s had this happen. It was a real disappointment as I LOVE the plunge bases. It can be easily fixed if you have a bearing puller (I don’t); the magnetic rings are like $3 at one of the part replacement stores. So just be watchful with the 618. Great review too; thorough and covers all the details. I bought a few 616’s and they work fine for my purposes and have no speed control problems.

I took the turret off of the plunge bases I have; I use rockler’s brass bars to set depth and go in stages by eye. Quicker and easier than using the turrets.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Andygulfcoast's profile

Andygulfcoast

21 posts in 470 days


#3 posted 450 days ago

I’m a hobbyist woodworker, and I too replaced an old, hand-me-down Craftsman router with this set about two hrs ago. I have really enjoyed it.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

890 posts in 2246 days


#4 posted 450 days ago

I put a DW616 in my router table about 5-6 years ago and it never leaves the table. I have abused this poor thing – I always take too much in one cut – and it never complained or bogged down on me. This is a very rugged unit.

The 616 is the single-speed version of the router reviewed here. I don’t run huge bits so the variable speed is not an issue for me. Most of the bad press I see about the 618 concerns the speed control and the too fragile magnetic sensor ring.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1209 days


#5 posted 450 days ago

EEngineer; I agree. Once both my 618’s toasted I replaced the motors with 616’s and they have been super reliable.

I’m not sure what makes the magnetic ring shatter, but dewalt refuses to acknowledge it as an issue. For that reason I’ve avoided the 611 compact.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3334 posts in 1446 days


#6 posted 450 days ago

JC,
Thanks for the review. I have had the three base kit for 3 years now, and I agree it is a great tool. I have 4 routers, and the Dewalt is the one I reach for. I happen to use it for freehand work – fixed base for dovetails, and plunge base for inlays etc. The plunge base shows absolute precision with inlays, resulting in a perfect fit every time. I also love how easily the motor slides out of the base.

Interestingly, I don’t use the D-base as much as I thought I would. The handles are so well positioned on the other bases, I guess I haven’t found the need yet.
I have had no problems whatsoever with this router.
Glad it is working well for you.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View JCMeyersIV's profile

JCMeyersIV

71 posts in 699 days


#7 posted 450 days ago

Thanks for the heads up on the speed control issue ill keep that in my mind. I hadn’t heard that complaint up until now. Glad you all liked the review!

-- John, NNY, www.facebook.com/JC4Woodworking

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

994 posts in 1498 days


#8 posted 450 days ago

How is the fixed base under a table? Thinking of getting it for a homemade router table.

View JCMeyersIV's profile

JCMeyersIV

71 posts in 699 days


#9 posted 450 days ago

The fixed base under the table is ok. Sometimes it can be tricky to adjust when dust gets in the ring. I used it this way for a long time tho and it leaves a little to be desired i think. You ever think about getting a lift?

-- John, NNY, www.facebook.com/JC4Woodworking

View SteelMD's profile

SteelMD

1 post in 632 days


#10 posted 283 days ago

I had the mag ring break on mine too. It was quoted as much to fix it as would cost to buy a new one. It’s still in the box in parts, but if it’ll work at full speed then I’ll throw it back together and mount it under the table until it stops working. I’ll have to allow a little more time for sanding off any burn marks I guess from over speed routing on the wood.

Does anyone have any good suggestions for a good table mount router? I’m looking to replace this or at least buy a backup for when it conks out. I have a hand held for top work, and that will work just fine for now.

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