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My First Router

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Forum topic by HillWilly posted 11-14-2014 11:52 PM 1129 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HillWilly

54 posts in 1576 days


11-14-2014 11:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router routers power tools newbie help question

Hi LJocks. Haven’t been on in a long time even though I browse on a regular basis.

I have read review after review on routers but it seems that most are aimed at more experienced ears. I have shopped every used tool outlet I can find looking for that bargain and I come away more confused every time.

I have decided that this is where I break away from my tradition of old/well used/reconditioned tools and buy new. My question is simple. I am not a tool snob so can any one recommend my first purchase of a router and give me your thoughts on why please? I am lost in the haze.

-- ...and whether or not it is clear to us, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should...DESIDERATA...Max Ehrmann


11 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7225 posts in 2843 days


#1 posted 11-15-2014 12:12 AM

What to get depends in part on how it will be used. The desired traits for hand use differ from those of a router for table use. For hand use, smaller and comfortable are more important than raw power. For table use, ample power and variable speed to slow down the larger bits is important….topside adjustment features are nice to have too. For either, get one that accepts both 1/2” shank and 1/4” shank bits, and buy 1/2” shank bits whenever feasible.

On a tight budget, the current line of Craftsman routers gets pretty decent marks. I also like the Hitachi M12VC….it’s light, quiet, has good power, variable speed, and is often a decent value for < $150. The Milwaukee routers have impressed me a lot, but tend to cost more than the Hitachi or Cman routers. DW, PC, Bosch, Makita, and Triton all have offerings too.

Choosing router bits

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

View jacquesr's profile

jacquesr

339 posts in 891 days


#2 posted 11-15-2014 12:19 AM

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2150 posts in 1640 days


#3 posted 11-15-2014 12:32 AM

x1 knotscott

Almost any of the routers are good. I have 2 porter cable 690’s one of them is in my router table, I am waiting on delivery of a Dewalt 1618. I just retired a craftsman still agood router but only has the 1/4” collet and I want to start getting 1/2 shank bits.

I think the key is having both 1/4” and 1/2” collets, soft start and variable speed would be nice but add to the cost.

several of the magazines have compared the various routers if you have a fine woodworking subscription their article is very good. You may be able to access some of the other magazines without a subscription.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 892 days


#4 posted 11-15-2014 12:51 AM

Money, no object, then the Festool OF1400 EQ is probably the best hand held plunge router made now a days.

If you want something a little more cost effective, I think the Bosch line is pretty much the best hand held router out there right now in its price range. Triton and Milwaukee still get high marks but mostly for table mounted applications.

Most other mfg like Craftsman, Porter Cable, DeWalt, etc. have compromised quality over the years to widen margins. All of them are a mere shadow of what they once were.

These suggestions are based on feedback in the router forums.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1513 days


#5 posted 11-15-2014 01:07 AM

When I was in the market for a first router, I primarily looked at the Bosch (1617, MR23EVS), Dewalt (618), and Porter Cable (890 series) offerings. Each have their pros and cons and I ended up getting the Dewalt. I now also have a Bosch MR23EVS and I have to say, I tend to prefer the Dewalt since it is lighter and easier to handle. A con for the Dewalt (if you are looking to table mount) is that none of the bases include “above table” adjustment.

One other that I anticipate will pop up in your search is the Hitachi M12VC. It tends to run more inexpensive than the 3 aforementioned routers.

-- paxorion

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2854 posts in 2699 days


#6 posted 11-15-2014 01:35 AM

I had a Craftsman from the 80’s but needed one that had 1/2 inch collet. I bought the Bosch 16117EVSPK when it was on sale at the big blue box store. I liked it, and finally bought a second one.

They have worked well for me, including making raised panel door panels.

Then I bought the 3 1/4hp Triton for table use. Love it!

Now, I have the DeWalt 611 combo compact router.

I use them all for different jobs.

The plunge bases work great for hand held operations. The fixed bases mount under the table. It is easy to pull the motor and switch between the bases. Except for the Triton. I bought it for table use, and removed the plunge spring per the manufactures instructions.

Good luck in your search.
Here are a few links to some of my adventures. :-)
Mike
Adjustable Height Dual Router Station

Custom Buffet

Drawer Construction

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#7 posted 11-15-2014 01:36 AM

I have the Dewalt 618, PC 890 with grip vac, and Bosch 1617. I think they are all pretty good tools, and they all come with a plunge base. I definitely have my favorites. The Dewalt feels the lightest, with the lowest stance of the bunch. The Dewalt fixed base is great for cutting dovetails on a jig. The plunge base is accurate enough for gap-free inlays.
I use an excellent Freud in the router table, so I can’t really say how the others perform in a table. I do give my handheld routers a good workout. Ultimately, get your hands on them. You will quickly find one that feels better in your hands than the others.

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

View HillWilly's profile

HillWilly

54 posts in 1576 days


#8 posted 11-15-2014 02:59 PM

Thanks a bunch LJocks. Now I have a good starting point. Now, once again, more research on best prices and sources. HWEET! Also any info on “must have” accessories might steer my choice in routers.

-- ...and whether or not it is clear to us, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should...DESIDERATA...Max Ehrmann

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 892 days


#9 posted 11-15-2014 03:04 PM


Thanks a bunch LJocks. Now I have a good starting point. Now, once again, more research on best prices and sources. HWEET! Also any info on “must have” accessories might steer my choice in routers.

- HillWilly

A router with good dust collection at the router bit and the accessories to accomplish that is always a good start.

I rarely use any other accessories with my hand held router. Most are useless, like edge guides. Better off with a speed clamp.

A circle cutting jig is handy, but most make their own jig.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View HillWilly's profile

HillWilly

54 posts in 1576 days


#10 posted 11-15-2014 03:39 PM

Thanx Kscott for the link on router bits

-- ...and whether or not it is clear to us, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should...DESIDERATA...Max Ehrmann

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1513 days


#11 posted 11-15-2014 04:30 PM


Thanks a bunch LJocks. Now I have a good starting point. Now, once again, more research on best prices and sources. HWEET! Also any info on “must have” accessories might steer my choice in routers.

- HillWilly

A router with good dust collection at the router bit and the accessories to accomplish that is always a good start.

I rarely use any other accessories with my hand held router. Most are useless, like edge guides. Better off with a speed clamp.

A circle cutting jig is handy, but most make their own jig.

- timbertailor

+1 on picking the router with good dust collection. If we exclude Festool, the plunge base for the Dewalt (616/618, 621) and Porter Cable (890 series) all have a dust collection column that is quite effective. Other routers have similar features (e.g. Triton) or add-ons (Bosch) to accomplish similar dust collection results, albeit with a more obtrusive setup IMO.

I have a collection of speed/edge clamp guides like what timbertailor suggested. The wider track ones are stiffer, and they also work well to guide other tools too (e.g. circular saws) My favorite so far is the new Bora WTX that I picked up not too long ago. An edge guide can be useful for repeat-ability and micro-adjusting.

-- paxorion

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