|Review by Timber4fun||posted 07-18-2008 03:06 PM||14053 views||1 time favorited||19 comments|
Introduction – After 20+ years of woodworking, I have discovered a couple important facts about routers – safety is very important and it is convenient to have more than one router. I have had the opportunity to use a number of branded routers, with my favorite two being Porter-Cable and Bosch. This review discusses the Bosch 1617EVS 2.25 HP Variable Speed Router. My priorities included safety, accurate/efficient cuts, performance, quality components, functionality, size, and price. I am not into a bunch of fancy features that can potentially breakdown easily. I like it simple, clean, intuitive and solid. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is just that. Read on.
Installation – I am not going to go into much detail about installation. If there were problems, I would go into more detail. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router was easy to setup. Just pull it out of the box, get familiar with the components, base, and motor, and fire it up. Of course, read all the safety instructions provided with the tool. When it comes to safety in the shop, the router has always worried me the most with a turning speed of 20,000+ RPM. I bought the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router specifically to be mounted in a router table. Mounting the base was simple. I positioned the adjusting levers of the base facing the front of the router table for ease of use.
Quality – If you have ever used a Bosch tool, you already know they have a reputation for quality that always seems to be a step above most other manufacturers. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is no different. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is very well balanced and has an exceptional feel when held. As I mentioned earlier, I purchased this router for the sole purpose of mounting it to a router table. The quality of the base and levers are very good. The wood handles are a nice touch, but not really a priority for me. I guess having the solid wood handles is nicer than plastic handles. When you power on the motor, you can just feel the quality, precision, and efficiency of this tool. There is no question the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is built with top-notch components.
Performance – For me, one of the primary reasons for upgrading from a smaller router to a larger router was performance. I don’t need the capabilities of a large shaper, but I would like a nice router that can handle large bits. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is perfect for creating cabinet doors using different router bit sets, including some very large bits. It performs extremely well. Since this router was purchased for a router table, I had considered going with a larger 3.5 hp Milwaukee router. I also looked at the 3.25 hp Porter-Cable router, as I have a smaller 1.5 HP Porter-Cable router that I really like a lot. In the end, I stuck with the Bosch 1617EVS 2.25 HP Variable Speed Router. I have no regrets. It has handled everything I have thrown at it. At this point, I am not sure there is a woodworking project I have done or will do that requires anything higher end than the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router. There may be a project that requires one or two extra feeds/passes, but for safety reasons, I would probably do that anyway with a larger router or shaper. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router performs at a very efficient and high level.
Safety – As I mentioned earlier, I try to put extra emphasis on safety when it comes to using a router. A lot can go wrong if you don’t understand your tool. One of the reasons I went with the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is the soft start. When you first start the router, it doesn’t try to jump out of your hands. This is not a very big deal with the router mounted to a router table, but I still appreciate the feature. I have an older Porter-Cable router that I use free hand, but it does not include the soft start feature. I am really growing to like the soft start feature with the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router. While the soft start feature is very nice, the intuitive nature of the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router right out of the box make it a safer tool in the shop. This is a very important design/engineering characteristic of a good tool. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router and I have a good understanding of each other.
Functionality – The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router really shines in the functionality department. There is often a fine line between good functionality and overkill or useless functionality. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router has just the right combination of functionality and simplicity. It all starts with the base. It comes with a coarse and fine bit depth adjustment on the base. The fine bit depth adjustment is very nice and one of my favorite features, especially when your router is mounted to a table. I have come to appreciate that feature. Another nice feature is that the router motor removes completely from the base for easy bit changes. Again, this is a nice feature as the base remains mounted to the router table. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router also comes with their “Constant Response Circuitry”. In short, no matter how hard or soft the wood, the router maintains the appropriate RPM settings for a nice smooth and accurate cut. Furthermore, the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router comes with a “precision centering system”, which makes the router bit track at true center. Again, this improves the accuracy of cut. While many of these features are advanced, the actual router is simple and very intuitive to use. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is rock solid from a functionality standpoint, but also extremely easy to use and maintain.
Size – The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router is relatively small in comparison to other routers in the same class. Personally the size was not an issue for me, as again the router is mounted under a router table. At this point, I have no intention of using it free hand. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind if it were a bit heavier. I am old school where the belief is that heavy usually means stronger and less vibration. Anyway, the size of this router is not a big issue for me, but I wanted to mention it for the purpose of this review.
Conclusion – The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router has been a pleasure to work with up to this point. It provides for a solid combination of performance, functionality and simplicity. Although I wish it had a bit more weight to it, the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router performs at a very high level with accurate cuts along with safety features. The Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router really shines from a functionality standpoint, including the fine bit depth adjustment, “Constant Response Circuitry”, “Precision Centering System”, noise reduction, and general ease of use. Although the Bosch 1617EVS Variable Speed Router includes many advanced features, the simplicity and intuitive nature of the router make it a great tool for any workshop – amateur or professional.
-- Tim from Iowa City, IA