Question about buying a router

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Forum topic by JFORD posted 05-25-2010 04:40 AM 1878 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2949 days

05-25-2010 04:40 AM

Hello to all. I am new to Lumber Jocks and I am looking into buying a router and table. Any suggestions for the new guy? Josh

9 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#1 posted 05-25-2010 05:53 AM

Hey Josh Welcome
I have a pretty good number of routers and a couple router tables. It depends on what your budget is and the kind of projects you want to make. Many want routers with built in lifts in there router tables so the main one I can think of is triton it comes in two different powers with two different prices. As for every day routing I use my Porter cable 690 “D” handle . I’m sure you will get lots of ideas from others about this subject . One way to select routers is to read the input here and then check the reviews hear and in a place like Amazon.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 3159 days

#2 posted 05-25-2010 05:59 AM


I’m new here too. 3 months back I purchased the ridgid 2.25 H.P. combo unit and it has worked good for me.
I ‘m waiting for my router plate to get here. My table is homemade the top is incra. I had to order a new incra plate cause my router does not line up the the old plate. I found the router table on e-bay came with an incra 17 inch router jig and all the templates too. I’ll have to post later once I get it all together again.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3020 days

#3 posted 05-25-2010 06:11 AM

Well, I was going to buy one of the high dollar cast iron MCLS tables. I decided against it. I ended up getting one of the cheap $100 Ryobi router table/router combos from Home Depot.


The little cheap one is actually better than I expected. Height adjustment from above table. Fairly nice composite fence for a cheap setup. My plan is to use the cheap one to build a decent one. Then I will have a spare for supplemental work.

I have limited space (one side of a garage) for a workshop and space is at a premium. Everything will need to be multi-purpose. I want the base to include storage space and be at the same height as everything else. Then I can configure them to support longer stock.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3032 days

#4 posted 05-25-2010 07:20 AM

One of the hidden costs that may be in your future if you use the router table a lot is a lift. I didn’t even know what a lift was when I was buying my first router. I ended up buying a router (Hitachi KMV12C) that, while priced very well and a great performer, wouldn’t fit a lot of router lifts out there.

So, even if you’re not looking to get a lift right away, make sure you get a router that is compatible with some of the nicer lifts. Or, get a router that already has above-the-table bit changes and above-the-table height adjustments. The Triton 2-1/4hp model is a good buy, especially for under the table. I like mine a lot. Check out the reviews – they’re pretty good. As a handheld router though, you might want something a little lighter/smaller.

You’re going to end up with more than one router anyways. :)

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 3263 days

#5 posted 05-25-2010 08:47 AM

Hi Josh, and welcome to Lumberjocks! I add my +1 vote for the 2 1/4HP Triton. I just got mine, and already it has shown itself to be indispensible, and easy to use.
The bolt pattern for the Triton is the same as a PC 7518, and there is at least one router plate I’ve found that already has the holes predrilled (Incra Magna-lock Router Table Plate) 413075: Model MLP7518-AL. I know we cannot say which site to find an item on, but as a1Jim would say, it is a very (wood) worker crafty location…..

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3096 days

#6 posted 05-25-2010 01:50 PM

I know nothing about your budget or how you intend to use your router so I will give you some general comments. Most people want to have a separate router for their router table and hand held use. If you are not ready to buy 2 routers now, you should still think about that as an ultimate strategy and buy accordingly.

The router for the router table should be a fixed base router (not a plunge router). It is good to be able to adjust the router height from above the table. Many routers have built in mechanism for above the table adjustments. However, I have found that my separate router lift gives me much smoother and more precise height adjustments and the quick release option makes for very fast, above the table, bit changes.

Your hand held router should be a plunge router. There are many high powered ones that are also heavy and, IMO, a little awkward to use. I find that a medium weight router (2 hp) is often the best compromise between power and weight. I have both a heavy duty plunge router and a medium weight router and I grab the medium weight router 90% of the time.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 3442 days

#7 posted 05-25-2010 02:26 PM

There’s a number of brands of routers that give you both a fixed base as well as a plunge base. I survived a number of years with a Bosch router 1617 single speed router that had both bases. It’s 2hp. The motor can be moved between the bases giving you pretty good versitility. If I had it to do all over again the only change I would make is to get the variable speed model. Being able to slow the RPM’s a little will give you better ability to use larger bits (raised panel) in a table. I picked up a Bosch VS1617 on e-bay a while back for about $40 which I keep in my table and use the single speed for hand held operations. To richgeer’s point, it’s 2hp and much more comfortable to use than a larger one. As far as the table, I tried an “el-cheapo” table once, complete waste of money. I have since added a “built in” to my assembly table. I positioned it fairly close to the center of the table giving me just over 3’ infeed and just under 5’ outfeed. This gives me a more stable feeling when working with larger pieces compared to most tables I’ve looked at. Hope this helps.

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View TheDane's profile


5438 posts in 3685 days

#8 posted 05-25-2010 05:00 PM

I have a Porter-Cable 690 Series Router Combo Kit with both the plunge base and fixed base … I get a good deal of use from both bases and the motor (694VK) is a variable speed. I think I gave about $230 for it.

I bought a used Bench Dog Contractor router table through Craigslist … the guy wanted $100 for it, and he threw in a Porter-Cable 6902 router. I bought a Woodpeckers Quick Lift 350A ($200) and an MLCS variable speed control ($35), so I have about $335 invested in my router table.

The 2 PC690 routers can handle both 1/4” and 1/2” shank bits.

I have a Ryobi laminate trimmer that is pretty much committed to roundovers and chamfers, and a Skil plunge router (1/4” shank) that never gets used. The Skil was the first router I ever bought, and I always found the plunge mechanism to be way too stiff. I also prefer 1/2” shank bits … I think they are safer and give you a better, smoother cut.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View MisterCat's profile


22 posts in 2945 days

#9 posted 05-26-2010 06:02 AM

Josh, I have the same Hitachi KMV12C that live4ever has. It’s installed under a tablesaw extension wing (Grizzly 1023 RLW), and I find it works very well and it save space in the garage. The motor twists out of the base to make bit changes easy, and a digital height gauge by MLCS or Wixey makes it easy to set bit height without a lift. All in all the Hitachi is a great router that’s only slightly compromised by the fact that it’s not one of the ‘standards’ everybody makes accessories for.

The things I don’t like about it are: 1) the grizzly insert isn’t flush with the table, but sits down about 1/64th. Because it’s a circle supported at its edge, using tape for a shim is difficult. 2) The router on/off switch and speed control are at the top of the router, which means they aren’t easy to get to when mounted under a table.

I’ve also read some good things about the cheap Ryobi table from Home Depot. For a $100 it makes a good ‘starter’ table to see how much you use it and what features/flaws to consider when you move on.

My 2 cents,

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