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Forum topic by thebigmuddy posted 03-17-2016 11:50 PM 997 views 1 time favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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thebigmuddy

53 posts in 303 days


03-17-2016 11:50 PM

After using my Skill router that I bought for $20 at a garage sale, I’ve realized that I need something more substantial. I’m looking for something that will meet my needs as my skill sets evolve. Also any advice on a router table build would be appreciated. I realize that there are probably hundreds of different routers and thousands of different tables, but I really don’t know where to begin. As far as price goes, I consider this to be an integral piece of equipment so I’m not afraid to spend a couple hundred bucks. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

-- The craftsman is his own harshest critic... Jeff (me)


30 replies so far

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 614 days


#1 posted 03-18-2016 12:41 AM

You will get many opinions on routers here, I like my Bosh, no mater you get spend the money on a soft start and variable speed, and a combo kit with a plunge rig to go with it, a D handle also is nice when not in a table. As far as a table this seems to be the standard max set up, I am making a simpler version of it this month, less drawers and I bought a table top and fence st up for the cabinet. Free down load.
http://www.crestonwood.com/plans.php

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

977 posts in 915 days


#2 posted 03-18-2016 12:46 AM

Router come in three basic sizes, small (1hp), med (2hp) and large (3hp).

Routers are like clamps – you can’t have too many.

Often you will have a small 1/4” unit for laminate trim etc. Then you’ll need a dedicated medium for your dovetail jig so you never have to reset the bit. Finally for casework and making moulding you’ll need a big 3hp 1/2” Variable Speed unit mounted in a table as 3hp is a lot to handle freehand. VS is a requirement on big bits with mandatory RPM safety limits.


3hp Milwaukee router. Incra plate mounted. Shares Incra LS-III w/TS

The real cost is in the carbide bits (don’t waste your $ on HSS). A good raised panel set can easily run $150 or more. I’ve spent 2x on bits what I’ve spent on routers!


Invest in a digital height gauge for precise bit setting.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7210 posts in 2838 days


#3 posted 03-18-2016 12:48 AM

If you’re going to put it in a router table, you’ll want variable speed, ample power, and the ability to accept 1/2” shank bits. If for hand use, it’s best to get something that’s comfortable in your hands, which usually means smaller and less powerful. The combination kits with a fixed and a plunge base are pretty versatile…most are 11-13 amps (~ 2hp). There are lots of good choices….we all have our favorites. I like Milwaukee routers alot. Bosch, PC, DW, and Makita are all good routers. The MW5625 and big PC are the workhorses found in many pro shops. Hitachi is often a good value. Triton has some nice above table features.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7910 posts in 1842 days


#4 posted 03-18-2016 03:21 AM

I have 2 Porter Cables and have never had a complaint about either one. Years ago I used a PC router at Fruehauf and it was a workhorse.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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oldnovice

5723 posts in 2830 days


#5 posted 03-18-2016 04:39 AM

I have two Porter Cable routers (nearly identical, with both plunge and fixed bases), a very old Craftsman (1/4” only), and a Bosch Colt.
I use the newer PC in my Bulldog router table which is a wing on my table saw.

I have to agree with MadMark when he said ”Routers are like clamps – you can’t have too many.” There are many times when it would be quicker to pick up another router than to change bits.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3075 days


#6 posted 03-18-2016 06:12 AM

I am more of a minimalist…

I started with a Craftsman 1 HP router years ago. Only 1/4” bits and no table. I lucked into a deal on a homemade “Norm Abrams” router table (the crestonwood link gives credit to Norm for that design) and put a DeWalt DW616 into it – 1.75 HP, no soft-start, no variable speed, 1/2” and 1/4” chucks. It has done everything I needed to do on the router table in the last 9 years. The old Craftsman still serves for any hand-routing, which is very little since I built the router table.
I did splurge on a Woodpecker router lift for the table. With .001” dial, a simple test cut and measure with calipers puts the second cut exactly where I want it 99% of the time. The Quicklift feature makes above the table bit changes quick and easy – I don’t think I have been “under the table” for years!
So keep the old Skil for hand-work. Buy a “cheap” (no frills like soft-start or variable speed) 1.75HP router like the PC 690 or my favorite – the DeWalt and build your own router table around it.
The crestonwood plans are as good as any for this design – it is s solid workhorse and searching the projects here for router table will reveal dozens if not hundreds of them running in shops. Then search to find the Norm Abram episode where he shows exactly how to build it.
Take the money you save by not buying a fancy over-powered router, ready-made router table or expensive electronic devices for setting bit height and put it all into a router-lift. Don’t be suckered into a “router-raiser” or anything else that depends on the router base to be a lift – get a real router lift with precision dial-in. Jessem and Woodpecker make great lifts.
Buy good carbide bits – I can’t tell you how many of the HSS bits I burned up in one project. You will have more money in router bits than everything else in much less time than you think. If you decide you need a bigger router, different table style or whatever, there is no reason good router bits won’t work just as well in a new setup.

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

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

977 posts in 915 days


#7 posted 03-18-2016 05:25 PM

EEngineer: $30 for a digital height readout is not an ”expensive electronic devices for setting bit height” ! It’s cheaper than a single router bit. If you’re trying to cut rails & stiles it’s a must.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View DalyArcher's profile

DalyArcher

72 posts in 581 days


#8 posted 03-18-2016 06:03 PM

https://www.amazon.ca/Bosch-MRC23EVSK-Combination-Fixed-Base-Variable/dp/B002LASDGA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458323790&sr=8-1&keywords=bosch+router

this is the kit I went with. I will freely admit though, I am a bit of a Bosch loyalist. It is powerful enough with the variable speed to spin big stile and rail bits and the plunge base with trigger control makes routing mortises at the workbench a pleasure.

I also went with the bosch router cabinet/table. I priced building one myself, but by the time I bought tracks, an insert plate, a switch, etc… I wasn’t saving enough to justify it. I will build a full size “Norm” table when I finish my new shop.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3075 days


#9 posted 03-19-2016 02:12 AM

I can buy a simpler depth gauge for $9.99. I didn’t buy that either. I already have a dial caliper that I have had for 25+ years. I don’t need them.
If you’re trying to cut rails & stiles it’s a must.
Bullcrap! It can be done without that. But I will admit, I went with the router lift, a BIG expense when I was getting started – it is all a matter of what makes it easier for for you in your shop.
As I said… minimalist.

I laugh whenever I read here about 5+ routers, the need for 3HP routers and how to spend more than $1K to get started when I made my first projects with a $50 router, a $50 circular saw and hand tools like a hammer and hand drill AND they all came out pretty decent. It simply isn’t necessary!

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

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

977 posts in 915 days


#10 posted 03-19-2016 02:38 AM

If you don’t mind fiddling you can set up the R/S set in a few minutes. If you’re returning to make more of the same, hand tweaking is unacceptable. You sneer at a DRO but swear by the calipers? WTF is the diff? We both agree a 0.001” height indicator is required.

DRO prices have dropped thru the floor. Precision that used to cost thousands can be had for a sawbuck, cost is no longer a reason not to use DROs. I have an angle cube, depth indicator for the saw/router, an 8” caliper and a height gauge readout on the planer. I didn’t pay $150 for the lot. Not only are they more accurate, they are much easier for these old eyes.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5723 posts in 2830 days


#11 posted 03-19-2016 03:15 AM

+1 MadMark, some of the “add ons” have really dropped so far in price.
Ten years ago a digital display was out of the question but today they are very affordable.

Roger Clark aka Rex, a much missed Lumberjock who passed away in 2014, told me that he bought milling cutters instead of router bits, which are in many cases less expensive, but just as good as router bits. I have bought a number of bits for my routers and found that Rex was absolutely correct. Remember, for a router you need to make sure that you get the right shank size as there areally many more shank sizes availabe. Some of the manufacturers are Niagara, Kodiak, and Onsrud and some are also available from Amazon.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View chiseler's profile

chiseler

121 posts in 351 days


#12 posted 03-19-2016 04:22 AM

I agree with Mark,Routers are like clamps,I currently have 7,and am in the market for another.Then again I ‘ve been doing this for a living for over 35 yrs.,and I work alone.I like to dedicate routers to particular tasks rather than switching back and fourth,and I prefer porter cable even though I have a couple of bosch routers.As far as those fancy measuring devices..I don’t know.I guess if I had one I would learn to love it,but for now ..why fix what ain’t broke.My router table is in my TS to the right of the fence with a separate clamp on fence,and yes it gets in the way sometimes but not often.I made a few 9”x9” router bases out of 3/8” plexi,and let them into the square hole I cut into the TS top right of fence.This way if I have a set up that requires more than one router bit, this makes it easier to switch back and fourth by just dropping a router in instead of switching bits.

-- Scott.Triangle,NY Becareful and don't forget...They cut meat too!

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chiseler

121 posts in 351 days


#13 posted 03-19-2016 04:54 AM


If you don t mind fiddling you can set up the R/S set in a few minutes. If you re returning to make more of the same, hand tweaking is unacceptable. You sneer at a DRO but swear by the calipers? WTF is the diff? We both agree a 0.001” height indicator is required.

DRO prices have dropped thru the floor. Precision that used to cost thousands can be had for a sawbuck, cost is no longer a reason not to use DROs. I have an angle cube, depth indicator for the saw/router, an 8” caliper and a height gauge readout on the planer. I didn t pay $150 for the lot. Not only are they more accurate, they are much easier for these old eyes.

M

- MadMark


Hey Mark,where did you pick up the readout gauge for the planer,and will they attach to any planer?
Scott

-- Scott.Triangle,NY Becareful and don't forget...They cut meat too!

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

977 posts in 915 days


#14 posted 03-19-2016 05:12 AM

Got the Wixey gauge from them and yes it’ll fit most any planer.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1976 days


#15 posted 03-19-2016 12:02 PM

I own seven routers, and three of them are Bosch. I like Bosch…
The only Bosch I have seen that is a turd is that little Colt. For that I have a Dewalt and a Rigid. I like the Dewalt better when I need balance since the standard plate is bigger.
I like the Rigid when I need to get in close and tight.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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