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Very nice palm router with one annoying flaw

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Review by JayT posted 10-28-2013 05:09 PM 3213 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Very nice palm router with one annoying flaw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had this router for nearly two years now, so feel I can give a good review based on actual usage.

When looking for a small router to do light tasks, I purchased this one because of the price ($89.99 everyday, purchased on sale for $79.99) and I thought the included larger sub-base with the handles looked like a good idea. It has been used quite a bit and overall has been a good investment.

The Good:

  • Soft start. I’ve heard of people not liking soft start motors, but I think they are great.
  • LED lights do a good job of illuminating the work.
  • 8ft cord. Nice length to give you plenty of leash, but not too long that it gets in the way on smaller projects.
  • Spindle lock for bit changes. Again some people may not like this function, but I find it handy and haven’t had any issues.
  • Power. The 6.5 amp motor is plenty strong enough for any bit that should be put in a palm router. If you are doing a lot of extended routing, the motor will get a bit warm, but not bad at all.
  • Depth adjustment locks solidly, there is no play once you get it set, though that also leads to . . . .

The Bad:

  • Depth adjustment. This is really my only major complaint for the router. While able to lock solidly, the depth control is sloppy and very difficult to make fine adjustments. It can be done with patience, but there are much better systems out there. If you are using this router for mostly flush cutting, then it is a non-issue, buy it and be happy. For other work, though, this is an annoying flaw and bothers me enough to dock a star or two.
  • Tool bag. Minor complaint, but the included bag is not very good for storage. One large compartment and a half dozen interior pockets that can’t be accessed very well, unless you have hands the size of a 5 year old child. If you are trying to take the router and some bits on the road, it’s a mess to get them all out again. I need to get on the ball and make a wooden box with separate compartments.

The AWESOME! :

  • The included sub-base with the two handles that first attracted me to the router has far exceeded expectations. It makes for a great deal of stability and control for nearly any task. I don’t even use the smaller sub-base unless it is a tight place. The handles are actually pretty good and the control is spectacular—freehand routing is easily achieved, with normal care and safety precautions. It also allows a nice wide reference surface for flush cutting and any edge profile. If I was going to dock two stars for the depth control, this base would add one back.

If you are looking for a small router to do trimming and edge work, I don’t know if you could beat this one for the price. For any work needing fine control of the depth, another router such as the DeWalt DWP611 would be a better choice. That lack of precision on the depth control prevents me from giving this five stars, but it is still a very good router at an excellent price point.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835




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JayT

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11 comments so far

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Tedstor

1503 posts in 1376 days


#1 posted 10-28-2013 05:22 PM

Thanks for the review.
Can either of the included bases accept bushings?

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Don W

15516 posts in 1311 days


#2 posted 10-28-2013 06:00 PM

good review JayT.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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JayT

2602 posts in 955 days


#3 posted 10-28-2013 06:23 PM

Tedstor, yes according to the instructions, the bases can accept threaded bushings, though I haven’t used them in it, yet.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 992 days


#4 posted 10-28-2013 07:19 PM

I wish my ridgid would except bushings. I absolutely love that little router though. The depth adjustment is amazing, it has tons of power, and does everything I would want it to.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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Tedstor

1503 posts in 1376 days


#5 posted 10-28-2013 07:27 PM

I think I may give the Craftsman a shot. Its currently $76, but I have a coupon for $15 off any tool purchase of $75+. Free shipping too :)

Edit to add: Order placed. For $60 shipped, I’ll see if the depth adjustment bothers me too much. If so, I can easily return it to the local Sears.

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Tugboater78

1230 posts in 935 days


#6 posted 10-28-2013 09:13 PM

Thanks for review, timed nicely as i think i will be getting this and the one lumberjoe reviewed some time back when i get gift card from my employer in a few weeks

-- Justin - the tugboat woodworker - " nothing changed me like the first shnick from a well sharpened, decent hand plane"

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JayT

2602 posts in 955 days


#7 posted 10-29-2013 12:44 PM

Tedstor, Justin, good luck with your purchases. I will be interested to see/hear your thoughts after using the router for a while. $60 shipped makes it an incredible deal.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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Tedstor

1503 posts in 1376 days


#8 posted 10-30-2013 12:57 AM

I just got mine today. Free shipping and only took 2 days to arrive. Nice.
I probably won’t try it out until this weekend. But so far, I concur with everything JayT has observed.
One note- The owner’s manual AND online description BOTH indicate that this router can accept threaded bushings. I was excited about the prospect of using this router for inlays. NOPE. Unless Sears sell some sort of oddball accessory bushing. There is no way a standard bushing will work with either base.
Luckily, I happen to have two sub-bases on-hand that came with a Ridgid bushing kit, that will accept bushings. I should be able to easily adapt one of these sub-bases for the Craftsman. Otherwise, I think I might have returned the router if I had to buy a sub-base or go to the trouble of making one from scratch. $60 is a great price, but not if you need to buy/make accesories.
That aside, The router looks pretty solid and fits nicely in my hand. The two-handled base is a VERY nice feature. I’m looking forward to firing it up.
Anyway, I’ll post my own review in a week or two.

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ajw1978

102 posts in 165 days


#9 posted 11-29-2014 03:50 PM

Ted,

I know this is a year-plus old, but how has yours held up? (Same for you, JayT). I bought a refurb Ridgid for $60 but decided to pass it over to the Old Man for myriad reasons. Was debating getting it back, buying a new Ridgid (for warranty purposes) and even considered a P-C or Bosch, but since I’ve got a lot of CMan tools in my collection already (I’m more loyal to deals/points/coupons than I am brands), I thought I might give this a try if I can combine enough discounts.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

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JayT

2602 posts in 955 days


#10 posted 12-01-2014 03:23 PM

ajw,

A year later, I don’t have anything to add or edit from the original review. I had used the router a good bit before posting to make sure I wasn’t missing anything by being hasty about doing a review. I haven’t used the router a lot the past year (less shop time and more hand tool use) but the pros and cons remain the same for me. No issues with it holding up, yet, either. I think it is a good deal, if you are willing to put up with the lousy depth adjustment. If that’s going to be a sticking point for the type of work you want to do, then I would advise looking around a bit more.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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Tedstor

1503 posts in 1376 days


#11 posted 12-02-2014 01:51 AM

Me too. I use mine almost exclusively for roundovers and with patterns. I never really got into inlay, so my earlier bushing complaint is somewhat moot. It gets the job done. If you can get the Craftsman for $40, its probably a good buy. I really like the two handled subbase.
FYI- I saw the Ridgid for $99 at Home depot and it came with a sheet sander.

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