Router Question, Bosch 1617 in Particular

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 12-21-2012 10:03 PM 13091 views 0 times favorited 48 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 1990 days

12-21-2012 10:03 PM

I’ve been looking at 2 1/2 hp routers. It seems from comments on this forum and reviews that Bosch 1617 is a better setup than the Porter Cable 890 series. In both cases I was considering the fixed & plunge base kits. I had been considering the Hitachi M12VC, largely because of its cost advantage.

Right now, that cost advantage is wiped out with the Bosch. They also have an additional base for about $60 designed for router table use.

Reading on this forum, it seems the Bosch doesn’t allow for above table bit changes. Is that true? Is it true with a lift? Do other routers (Porter Cable, DeWalt, Hitachi) support above table bit changes?



48 replies so far

View JayT's profile


5626 posts in 2207 days

#1 posted 12-21-2012 10:14 PM

I believe both Triton and Milwaukee routers allow above the table bit changes and depth adjustment. Triton makes a 2HP (model MOF001) and a 3-1/4HP (TRA001). Milwaukee’s 5616-20 is a 2-1/4HP.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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519 posts in 3012 days

#2 posted 12-21-2012 10:19 PM

I have the Bosch And love it. I don’t use it in a table. I have a Porter/Cable 3 1/4 hp in the table with a lift. Hartville just had the Bosch kit on sale for around $200.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 1990 days

#3 posted 12-21-2012 11:29 PM

More homework…the 1617 is replaced by the MRC23. The kit is $90 more…the low price on the 1617 is apparently due to clearing inventory.

Is the MRC23 worth it? It is full of new features; the 1617 is a decade old I believe.

Is this photo showing above the table bit changes? There seems to be 1/2 or more of travel left with the nut just below the table.

If you use the 1617 in a router lift, is the who bit change issue irrelevant?

This is a video of the MRC23:

View knotscott's profile


8012 posts in 3372 days

#4 posted 12-21-2012 11:36 PM

AFAIK, only the Freud FT1700/FT3000 and Triton routers offer true above table bit changes with a collet long enough to protrude above the table, auto collet lock when the collet is fully extended, above table height adjust, and above table height lock. Most others (Milwaukee included) only offer above the table height adjustment. For those with collets that don’t extend above the able, you can buy a bent wrench that reaches beneath the surface if you remove the insert.

Here’s a one handed topside bit change with the Freud FT1700:

Here’s how it works with a bent wrench:

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

View BurtC's profile


103 posts in 3126 days

#5 posted 12-21-2012 11:38 PM

I got the 1617 and never regret it. Love this thing, also the deluxe edge guide, dust hood kit and the table.
My kit came with the fixed base with micro-adjust. Nope, can’t swap bits above the table.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3305 days

#6 posted 12-21-2012 11:41 PM

I have a 1617 in my router table that I have used extensively for the last 5 years…however I use a separate lift from Incra…the Mastr Lift II aand it is worth its weight in gold. The new Bosch router MRC 23 seems to have the on/off switch in the handle and this would never work with a separate lift since I remove the motor from the base to install it in the Incra lift. Anyway you look at it the Bosch is a top quality router.
Each router has its good features that are better than others….
I also have the PC890 kit and it is my favorite for hand held use and with the plunge base. It also has a on/off switch on the base bottom that I like because it automatically turns it off when I set it down.

the Milwaukee is great for using with one hand because of the web strap…but i always have to struggle with getting bits in and out of the collet.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3155 days

#7 posted 12-21-2012 11:44 PM

Before my current table setup, I used my 1617 in a Rockler FX lift. Yes, above the table bit changes are no problem. However, I really cannot recommend that particular lift. But I’m sure other lifts will give similar capabilities with even better performance. As mentioned above, the motor comes out of the bases for installation with a lift. I don’t know if you can change bits above the table with a plate on any of the available bases.

-- jay,

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3574 days

#8 posted 12-21-2012 11:48 PM

I believe the Bosch routers are good routers but I always liked the availability of parts and accessories for PC products.
I’m fond of the “D” handle PC 690 for use as a hand held router. and a larger more powerful router for use in a router table.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jmartel's profile


7885 posts in 2146 days

#9 posted 12-22-2012 12:00 AM

One thing to consider with the Bosch 1617 is that it does not accept standard guide bushings (i.e. Porter Cable bushings). To use them with the Bosch, you need the quick change adapter:

And a threaded adapter:

THEN you can use standard bushings.

What I did with mine is I bought the quick change adapter, and I bought the Bosch set:

That included the RA1100 threaded adapter, as well as normal bushings. Something to consider. I didn’t know about that when I bought my router.

If you find a good price on the Bosch, take a print out of it to Lowes, and they’ll price match it and take 10% off. I got mine for $167 after taxes.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 1990 days

#10 posted 12-22-2012 12:42 AM

knotscott, with bent wrenches all can change the bit from the table top?

a1Jim, Bosch has a D-handle for the 1617, about $80. Is it worth $80?

The 1617 combo klt is $165, the best I’ve found on the MRC23 combo kit is $275…big difference.

While Bosch talks about the advantages of the MRC23 and its use in a router table, they never talk about its use in a router lift. Can the plastic interface to the base electronics live in a lift? Better, the instructions say:

To prepare for use of the switch:
1. Make sure the router table’s switch and the router table switch are both turned off.
2. Plug the router table switch cord to wall outlet.
3. Plug the router into the “pigtail” socket on the router table switch.
4. Lock router switch on: squeeze trigger, depress lock-on button, and release trigger.
5. Use the router table switch to start and stop the router.

It sounds like it needs to be connected to the base to work.

The 1617 is sounding better.

View Lifesaver2000's profile


551 posts in 3109 days

#11 posted 12-22-2012 01:13 AM

I noticed that the 1617EVS has a lot of complaints about the switch in the reviews, but most seem to be for units that would have been purchased about four years ago or more. Does anyone know if they have changed things so the switch is not a problem now?

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3132 days

#12 posted 12-22-2012 01:45 AM

How would you hook up the D handle to the 1617….

Home Depot sells 2 motors 1 for $159.00 with 10 ft. Cord, Model # 16176

the other $179.00 with Short Cord for the D handle, Model # 16186

I was wondering if the motor from the D handle would work with a lift…

I want a D handle for free hand but would like to hook it up in a table also when need…

I have 890 that will stay in the other table cause its top heavy for free hand routing…

-- Rick

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3574 days

#13 posted 12-22-2012 02:02 AM

A lot of folks think that a router set with both plunge and standard body’s are the best bargain The couple of sets I’ve seen the switching from standard to plunge bases is a bit of a hassle. The other thing is it’s all but impossible to do every router job you have(that’s why I have 38 routers) . You really don’t need a lot of horse power for a hand held router where a router to be used in a router table a little more horse power is desirable because you use larger router bits in the router table. You might consider something more than a router set.
As far as “D” handle routers they are much easier to use because you control the on and off with a trigger . Non “D” handle routers you try to turn the router off and on while holding a very torquie machine while loosening your grip to reach the switch. Of all of my students in any particular class I teach all of the students want to use one of the two ‘D” handle routers that kind demand shows the proof is in the user.
As far as the newer model Bosch verses the older one I think the newer model has very helpful upgrades like LED lights and soft start.these are great things to have so the extra cost might be justified.
One more point is that if your looking for best value I’ve seen Sears combo kits sell for $119 with the lights and soft start I didn’t like their old routers so I haven’t purchased any sears sets but my students have and I was surprized at how well they worked. What ever you select good luck.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 1990 days

#14 posted 12-22-2012 02:02 AM

Working on the router table, eventually with a lift, is one of my objectives. I have a router…a $50 Harbor Freight 1.5 hp plunge with 1/4” collet. It really isn’t that bad. As a dedicated plunge router the trigger is on the grip, it has a dust collection port, a primitive fence, and even a micro adjust knob. Best of all, it actually works. I’ve never used it with anything requiring a template, and it is hard (impossible?) to see the bit if the dust collector is on but it works and is fairly smooth.

I figured the 1617 at $165 would work with the upcoming router table (I have a few posts about that) and be a general upgrade for other work. I was expecting that it could be bolted in place initially and in a router lift later. The Porter Cable 895 kit was $235, but the Bosch 1617 is usually rated higher and was $70 cheaper. There is the router table ($53) and D-handle ($80) options. If you bundle options together to reach $100, I think you get $25 of each time through Tuesday.

The 15amp rating of the MRx23 is probably more indicative of its cutting power than the 2.3hp. The 2.3 hp compares to the 2.25hp of the 1617, an insignificant 2.5% that may not even be bigger production variations. The 15amp rating is 25% higher and in line with 3.25hp models.

Time to get the 1617 kit?

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51276 posts in 3132 days

#15 posted 12-22-2012 02:31 AM

Stay away from 895…

It’s top heavy & the base plate is too small, I had to make a bigger one for mine…

The lock for the shaft broke on mine after changing bits in a month of use…

It’s cheap & very Chinsie…

1617 has soft start…

-- Rick

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