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I'd like a 2nd router.... but not a 3rd

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Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 937 days ago 1913 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mainiac Matt

3872 posts in 953 days


937 days ago

Years ago I bought a PC 7538 router (3 1/4 HP plunge model) when I was building a timber frame house. I later put a fine threaded depth adjusting knob on it and set it up in a Rockler router table. Needless to say, the router is a beast and mounting and dismounting it from the table is quite the task (and the older, undersized plate doesn’t help, as the router is too big to go though the hole in the table).

So I’d like to keep the big PC set up in the table full time and am looking for a smaller router for all the typical hand held work (edge treatment, flush trimming, etc….)

But…............. I’d also like to take a crack at dovetails cut with a router jig some day.

I’d like to avoid getting both a 2 HP router and a trim router if I can…. and am wondering, can the Dewalt DWP 611 can do all of my and held work? Or will I be condemned to buying a 2 HP router for dovetails?

If this little puppy is up to the task, is the kit with the plunge base worth an extra $65? I don’t see myself doing any inlay work…. but I’m thinking that having the handles may make the difference working the router on a dovetail jig.

Thanks for any words of wisdom….

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!


40 replies so far

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1045 days


#1 posted 937 days ago

It starts with a second router, then before you know it, you have 39…

I had the same dilemma. Got the 3HP in the table and a PC690 on the bench

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Mainiac Matt

3872 posts in 953 days


#2 posted 937 days ago

PS…

I’ve used the Grizzly trim router at work and for $45 it seems like I couldn’t go wrong picking it up to complement a nice multi-base 2 HP unit … but the depth setting on the Grizzly is pretty week, and you have to make multiple adjustments if you want to hit the point of tangency spot on with a round over bit.

Also for consideration…. ALL of my bits are 1/2” shank… So if I punt the 2 HP router and try to get the job done with the DWP611… I’m going to have to put some money into tooling again.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

4980 posts in 1933 days


#3 posted 937 days ago

From my perspective several routers are necessary. I have a PC7518 for heavy work such as panel raising in my router table and a Bosch 1617 for the lighter work in the router table. I looked at the Dewalt 611 and it is not capable of using 1/2” bits but is great for handheld work. Routers are like potato chips…you can’t have just one. I am up to 8 or 9 routers now and most are 2.25hp models. Probable a few more than I need but I keep certain bits in certain routers for frequent tasks.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

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pintodeluxe

3318 posts in 1438 days


#4 posted 937 days ago

The good dovetail jigs come with 1/2” shank bits. Those won’t fit in the trim router. Neither will your existing bits. I have a table router, handheld router, and a laminate trimmer. I can tell you I never use the trimmer for dovetails.
I use the Dewalt 618 in the fixed base for dovetails and it works great. For a 2.25 hp router, it is very light and easy to use. It will feel like helium next to your PC router. Plus it will accept 1/4 or 1/2” bits.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5414 posts in 2000 days


#5 posted 937 days ago

Dunno about the DW, but I grabbed the Hitachi M12VC specifically for dovetails…it’s quiet, light, precise, well balanced, well made, has variable speed, plenty of power for the task, accepts 1/2” shanks, and accepts standard 1-3/16” bushings without an adapter. It’s also usually a nice bargain (currently $109 shipped from Amazon). I kept this one over some other really nice 2hp routers because it was lighter, which is handy for dovetails.

You’ll love having a 2nd router…. I’m managing fine without a trim router, so you might make it without a third!

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

3872 posts in 953 days


#6 posted 937 days ago

before you know it, you have 39

that’s exaclty what I’m hoping to avoid?

I’m already maxing out my limited storage space with seven different flavors of drills :^( (and still no hole hawg)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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Dwain

323 posts in 2484 days


#7 posted 937 days ago

Well…I have several routers. I definately see the need, one for dovetails, one for my dado jig, I have three Harbor Freight routers that I bought for about 17 dollars each. I keep a roundover bit in one, a small flush trim bit in another and a chamfer bit in the third. For small work, they are great. I grab one, adjust it and go. The best part is that I don’t use them enough to really wear them out. I have had them for over two years! This isn’t anything i would suggest for the production shop, but for hobbiests, it is great. I find that I one big router in the table, one for general purpose, one for my dado jig, one for my dovetails and the three HF routers work fine. re,

I am a power tool adict. There, I said it. Now give me a cup of coffee and move on to the next guy in the circle…

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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Mainiac Matt

3872 posts in 953 days


#8 posted 937 days ago

The good dovetail jigs come with 1/2” shank bits.

that info. may tip the scale…

are you able to operate the lighter 2 HP fixed base routers with one hand?

I’m a little taken aback by how much the upcharge is to get a two base kit…. Not sure I really can justify the expense to get a plunge base, especially when I have the beast….

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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Mainiac Matt

3872 posts in 953 days


#9 posted 937 days ago

I am a power tool adict. There, I said it. Now give me a cup of coffee and move on to the next guy in the circle…

somehow I gather that you’re not really looking for a cure :^)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Reaper621's profile

Reaper621

125 posts in 954 days


#10 posted 937 days ago

My dad has a DeWalt plunge router that works great for hand held work. The majority of what we do aside from that is all on the Delta 3hp shaper table. It’s a monster, and we use the heck out of it for raised panels.

I would go with something more substantial than a 1 1/4 horse router. Our DeWalt 2 horse is plenty light for handheld work. But that’s just my opinion, you may want to go to a store to compare weights, wave the routers around for a bit, make sure you can handle them first.

-- Laywer by day, Carpenter by later in the day.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5414 posts in 2000 days


#11 posted 937 days ago

...are you able to operate the lighter 2 HP fixed base routers with one hand?

The Milwaukee 5615 and 5616 have the BodyGrip feature that allows one handed operation with good control. A D-handle also allows for one handed use, but I don’t know if it provides as much control. Those routers are also excellent choices, but are heavier and generally more expensive than the Hitachi.

Reaper’s advice to handle the routers is excellent.

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

View Scot's profile

Scot

344 posts in 2021 days


#12 posted 937 days ago

1-1/4 porter cable is my favorite for dovetailing and all free hand stuff. Just heavy enough to be stable but light enough to use all day long. and it will surprise you at just how much you can load it up.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1699 days


#13 posted 937 days ago

I’ve read lots of comments on this site recently about routers. I sense a theme. People want lighter, easier to handle routers for hand held work and they are finding that the lower horsepower units are adequate for most tasks.

In my case, I have one heavy duty (over 3 hp) router that I virtually never use. I have 3 that are mid-range (2.25 hp) including the one permanently mounted in my table. Most recently, I picked up a Hitachi M 12 VC (1.75 hp). Each has a different feel and personality and I like them all. The mid-range machines have been my standard and I like having more than one because I can set up 2 routers with 2 different bits and/or bit depths and minimize bit changes when work on a project that requires multiple router settings. One of the disadvantages of routers is that once you remove a bit you have no way (that I know of) to repeat the exact setting you had previously. That is why so many of us have multiple routers.

As an FYI, my new Hitachi was purchased to be a dedicated dovetail router, but I have been trying it in other applications and I like it. I don’t notice a difference between its power and the power of the mid-sized routers I have.

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

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Mainiac Matt

3872 posts in 953 days


#14 posted 936 days ago

Thanks for all the replies guys….

Have any of you, who are using the Hitachi, having problems with 1/2” bits slipping? And did yours come with a square collet nut?

Amazon has the 1.25 HP Dewalt (without the plunge base) on sale for $114, and I’m very tempted.

But the Hitachi (without the plunge base) is also inexpensive at $110

I’ve accumulated some nice tools over the years…. mainly because I’ve spent my money carefully and have researched each decision in an effort to get the “right” tool and avoid redundancy.

The other half of this router decision is whether or not I should get a kit with a plunge router. My beastly PC can plunge if I really need that ability. And I really don’t have any plans to do inlay work…

Hmmmm…. decisions.. decisions…

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1799 days


#15 posted 936 days ago

I’m certainly no expert, but ….

1) My Bosch 1617EVSPK is smooth, powerful, feels exceptionally comfortable for hand-held work, and was reasonably priced. I see a LOT of favorable reviews for the 1617, written by much more experienced folks;

2) My wife and I talk about this. Turns out, she can only wear one pair of shoes at a time, but … that hasn’t stopped her from …. ;-)

I feel safe in saying that … the inveterate router-junkies around here … in the early days … were pretty sure THEY had it under control, too.

Tools happen.

-- -- Neil

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