|Review by JCMeyersIV||posted 06-04-2013 05:50 AM||10239 views||2 times favorited||12 comments|
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.
-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.
-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.
-- John, NNY, www.facebook.com/JC4Woodworking