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Low-priced plunge router for hobby use

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Review by ferstler posted 2068 days ago 6316 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Low-priced plunge router for hobby use No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Some woodworkers would shudder at the thought of using a Black and Decker tool for routing work, but actually their Fire-Storm unit is not half bad. I picked it up for $60 at Lowe’s a while back (list was $100, I think, but it was being discontinued), and have used it for several sign-making jobs and other oddities.

The unit is rated for 11,000 to 28,000 spin speeds and has a 12-amp motor that seems powerful enough, and the collet is a 1/2 incher. The on/off switch is also easy to use. One thing I really like about it is the dust-collecting feature, which allows outboard sucktion to pull the dust out at the bottom and lets a vacuum or dust-collector machine extract it from an outlet at the top. This feature works very well, indeed. The top connection gets the vacuum hose out of the way.

The router is big, but not all that heavy, and it has a multi-tiered depth-cut feature that also works fairly well. I say “fairly,” because I did have to take the adjustment disc apart and fine tune it a bit to get it to sit as solidly as I would like. Hey, we should not expect Chinese technology to be absolutely perfect for just sixty bucks.

Anyway, it is a decent tool for jobs that require not too much precision. Besides, what really determines a router’s abilities are the cutters one uses, and you can put even the most premium-grade versions in this machine.

Howard Ferstler




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ferstler

333 posts in 2118 days



5 comments so far

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PetVet

329 posts in 2086 days


#1 posted 2068 days ago

I too have this router and it does have some nice features. I have a Porter Cable mounted in my router table and I use the Black and Decker for free hand work. The soft start is great, it has a micro-adjustment, although as Howard states, it isn’t as accurate as one would hope. Seems plenty powerful, and I find it is not hard to control when doing free had cuts. It handles both 1/4 inch and 1/2 in bits. The base plate seems to be an odd size. Really not a bad second router.

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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Tomcat1066

942 posts in 2394 days


#2 posted 2067 days ago

I’ve got a couple of other Firestorm tools, and while they aren’t great, they tend to be OK for some stuff. I had actually been looking at this router for a while when suddenly they weren’t around anymore. Oh well. ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

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AaronK

1389 posts in 2063 days


#3 posted 2059 days ago

any idea of how this compares to the Skil router plunge/fixed set?

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Greg

221 posts in 2056 days


#4 posted 2054 days ago

I found this one at lowe’s on clearence too. after about 20 hours of use it seems to be pretty decent overall. The dust extraction at the top is great. I’ve been using it for mostly freehand sign work. It’s also fairly quiet, and easy to change bits. For what it’s worth I’ve always had pretty good luck with B&D tools.

Greg

-- Greg S.E. Ga. www.thesawdustfactory.net

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sandhill

2102 posts in 2522 days


#5 posted 2052 days ago

I have the Porter Cable mounted in my router table as well and don’t really like it. After two years and not much use the bearings are going and the machine is over heating now. I will not get another one. Maybe I will try Festool next time.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill http://www.sandhillwoodworks.com/

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