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Fixed-base VS plunge router

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Forum topic by itsme_timd posted 2394 days ago 13918 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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itsme_timd

688 posts in 2416 days


2394 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question router

Hi All,

I’m looking to upgrade my router soon and am looking at a Milwaukee 5616-20. It has pretty good reviews and I know Milwaukee to be great tools – I worked for them for a few years.

I know there are many features, brands and price points on any tool so I’m making sure I maximize my money. Right now I see my main use as making dovetails and also basic profiles.

Any info is appreciated!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA


20 replies so far

View gerrym526's profile

gerrym526

265 posts in 2393 days


#1 posted 2393 days ago

Tim,
The Milwaukee router you’re looking at is well made as you said. I’d take a look at the Bosch 1617-about the same price, great router. The advantage of the Bosch is that you can add a plunge base later (or buy it together with the fixed base as a package). That way you have 2 routers for the price of one. Porter Cable has the same set up, and I’m sure other manufacturers do as well. There’s lots of competition in the router market today, and I wouldn’t get hung up on the Milwaukee brand-other manufacturers feature the same high quality in their products in the same or better price range. The real test is when you go to your tool supply house, pick up lots of different routers and see how you like their ergonomics-each is different. You’ll be using it for many hours, so it’s like wearing a pair of shoes-make sure its comfortable.

Regards,
Gerry

PS-I have 5 different routers-use them all and like them all!

-- Gerry

View Hawgnutz's profile

Hawgnutz

526 posts in 2661 days


#2 posted 2393 days ago

I got the PC with 2 interchangable bases. That way I can leave the fixed base in my router table and still use the plunge base, separately. I leave the fixed base attached to my table and when I need to use my table, I just screw the motor to the affixed base.

The Milwaukee with both bases got real good evaluations in the testing of different woodworking magazines, so I think you would be real happy with their twin base unit. The twin base unit is like getting two routers for the price of one.

God Bless,
Hawg

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View LONGHAIR's profile

LONGHAIR

94 posts in 2399 days


#3 posted 2393 days ago

On your main question, it depends upon how you use one. For most people a fixed base unit is probably the way to go. Dovetails and other edge treatments do not require plunge capabilities, so you can stick with the shorter/better balanced fixed base. Plunge routers work well in joinery work and other application where the cuts are in the middle of the work piece. They can do edge work too, of course, but are taller and less stable out there. This is why many companies sell the combo kits with both bases. “Theoretically” this is the best of both worlds…and for a home hobbiest, it might be. For the more serious, the professional, or the tool junkie, seperate complete units are more convenient.

Your second point, The Milwaukee is an excellent router and a very well designed product as a whole. The case is genious. You can put the router back on the clamshell’s base right-side-up with the bit still adjusted to where you were using it. The collet wrenches are great.They are solid forged pieces, that sit in a molded pocket in the case. There are even a few holes that will hold 1/2” shank router bits, right there in the base plate of the case. The body-grip and strap are really great, especially for edge work. The first one of these I bought was the 1 3/4 hp version, though I am considering another in the larger rating. I already have several routers but for most jobs this one is my pick.

View Hawgnutz's profile

Hawgnutz

526 posts in 2661 days


#4 posted 2392 days ago

Tim, try this site when you decide on a router and want to buy one: Toolking
They have realy good prices on, mostly, reconditioned tools. I have been very happy with the tools I received from them. (A PC variable speed router and a Dewalt cordless circular saw) If you worked for Millwaukee, you know that these “reconditioned” units might just be returns that have been re-tested and sent out as reconditioned.

Anyway, I hope that helps. The Milwaukee looks like a dandy router that should give you years of service and could then be passed down to your children.

God Bless,
Hawg

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View itsme_timd's profile

itsme_timd

688 posts in 2416 days


#5 posted 2392 days ago

Thanks a lot for the info, you guys are always a huge help when I have questions!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2621 days


#6 posted 2389 days ago

I have both plunge and fixed base routers. I find that I use my plunge like a fixed base and am more finicky about setting router bit depth so I like the fixed base concept. As mentioned earlier, if you have to cut circles/elipses/curves or joinery where the router will be sitting in a jig on the workpiece, a plunge router is really the right tool for that job. The multi based systems are nice, but with routers, you may find as many do that a stable of them is of great convenience. Have a couple of fixed base 1 3/4HP…especially for dovetail jits and edge treaments, a couple of plunge in the 2HP range for joinery..nice to have the power when plunging for morises, a fixed base permanetly mounted in a table in the 3 1/2 HP range because you’ll want to spin a panel raising bit a some point, a trim router because they are easy to handle and wonderful for edge trimming and flushing pieces, and a portable router with a plunger that can go in it when using multiple bits sequentially is a great setup. I’m no minimalist though and if I was, one of the mixed kits would do you great.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Joey's profile

Joey

275 posts in 2400 days


#7 posted 2389 days ago

My suggestion from personal experience, I’d go with the dewalt that has both a plunge and fixed base. Dewalt bought PC and Delta a couple of years ago. So that technology goes into there routers now, I’m not sure but they may be made at the same plant. The Dewalt comes with a built in dust vac system on the plunge base, which makes a huge difference with routers.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms http://woodnwaresms.com

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2547 days


#8 posted 2388 days ago

I have a dual base Bosch in my table. It has taken a beating and the few times I’ve used it out of the table it has been a joy to use. I also have a 3.5 horse Makita plunge, a fixed base Miwaulkee, another fixed base Makita, a Bosch Colt, there’s even a 1/4 inch Craftsman and a router base for the Dremel tool. I like the Bosch and the price was right.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View itsme_timd's profile

itsme_timd

688 posts in 2416 days


#9 posted 2387 days ago

Well I ended up buying a Porter Cable 9690LR, haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. It’s a fixed-base model but I can buy a plunge kit for it as well, which I’ll probably do soon.

Another nice bonus with this router… HD had a special going where I got a 5 1/2 RO sander free, also Porter Cable.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2822 days


#10 posted 2387 days ago

Here is a Combo Router Review for basic information on a few. I personally have 4 (and need 3 or 4 more) routers. I have a Milwaukee single speed fixed router and it is limited to edge trimming due to the single speed. I have a Hitachi vairable speed 1 3/4 hp fixed based router used mainly for dovetails a Ryobi variable speed plunge router for mortises and a 3 1/4 hp variable speed plunge router for raised panels. From now on all of the router I purchase will be 3 hp or bigger, variable speed plunge routers because when it gets to a point where one person only wants 1 router to do all of their routering , I want to be knowlegable about all of the Big Names to give an educated opinion.

At this time I would recommend the 3 1/4 variable speed plunge router by Hitachi. All the others have limitations and for the all around router you need one that will do everything. (Just an opinion)

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2542 days


#11 posted 2387 days ago

I have the 1 3/4 hp version and I love it! The only thing I regret is I bought it when they first came out and I wish I waited. Now they sell a multi base kit which is the same router with a plunge base also. I would recommend that set. Porter-Cable also makes a similar two base kit but I love the ergo hand grip on the Milwaukee! I hear the PC has good dust collection features though.

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View jerry mayfield's profile

jerry mayfield

36 posts in 2670 days


#12 posted 2387 days ago

There must be a reason that only plunge routers are allowed to be sold in Europe.
I have nine and six are plunge type.

Regards

Jerry

-- jerry,mlchigan

View jerry mayfield's profile

jerry mayfield

36 posts in 2670 days


#13 posted 2387 days ago

There must be a reason that only plunge routers are allowed to be sold in Europe.
I have nine and six are plunge type.

Regards

Jerry

-- jerry,mlchigan

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2573 days


#14 posted 2387 days ago

I have 6 or 7 routers and only one of them is a plunge router.

It very rarely gets used. I have one combo set but I have never even taken the plunge base out of the case.
I think it would depend on what you plan on doing with it, which you would get.

Not that it matters but all of them are PC’s.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View itsme_timd's profile

itsme_timd

688 posts in 2416 days


#15 posted 2387 days ago

Thanks again for the input. I think the fixed-base PC will serve me well for now and I’ll add the plunge base when the need arises.

I am curious as to why they would only allow plunge routers to be sold in Europe??? I could see them being preferred over fixed-base units but I wonder what the reason for ‘outlawing’ them is?

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

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