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Forum topic by phk posted 11-20-2014 02:30 AM 1321 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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phk

17 posts in 1871 days


11-20-2014 02:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hand-held routers routers router recommendations

I currently own two routers. One is a 3-1/4 HP Hitachi M12V router that I keep installed in, and dedicated to my CMT router table. The table and router have been modified per some ideas in the late John Lucas’ website Woodshop Demos. It works great and the modifications make it super easy to use.

I also have a 35+ year old Craftsman router (not sure of HP) that is losing its bearings (a good match for me!) so I’m in the market for a new router to use for hand-held routing tasks. It seems clear to me that I want a kit with both fixed and plunge bases. I’m reading a lot on this and other sites about compact routers, particularly the Bosch Colt, the DeWalt DWP611PK and the Makita RT0700CX3 as well as heavier (+/- 2-1/4 HP) units such as the DeWalt DW618PKB.

My question is, since I have a dedicated router for my router table, and only really want one other router, which type of router would make the most sense? I do most of my routing on the router table and use the hand-held router for projects not suitable for the table such as large unwieldy pieces, dadoes, etc. I’m a hobbyist so my tools don’t get particularly heavy use.

Any thoughts?

-- PHK - Martinez, CA


16 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4230 posts in 1664 days


#1 posted 11-20-2014 02:53 AM

Replace the bearings in your C-man and get back to work :)

Cheers,
Brad

PS: I also have a vintage C-man router, and it’s a real workhorse.. don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it.

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Sawdust4Blood's profile

Sawdust4Blood

392 posts in 2486 days


#2 posted 11-20-2014 03:19 AM

I quickly became a convert to the handheld routers. I also have a larger router that mostly stays in the table and use the handheld (a Bosch Colt) for trim work and light routing. While I am really happy with the Colt, I understand there are now even better handhelds on the market with different bases to expand their utility.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13487 posts in 1321 days


#3 posted 11-20-2014 03:25 AM

I like the hitachi km12vc for my handheld routing. It has a fixed base and plunge base, soft start, variable speed and runs really smoothly.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1490 days


#4 posted 11-20-2014 04:52 AM

Does the C-man have a 1/2” collet? If not, I’d suggest any of the medium powered routers—1 1/2 h.p to 1 3/4 h.p. Personally, I much prefer a D handle for handheld work. For one thing, the trigger in the handle means you don’t have to let go with one hand to turn it on or off. When both hands are one the router, you don’t have to worry about the sometimes disconcerting effect of torque on startup.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4858 posts in 2278 days


#5 posted 11-20-2014 06:22 AM

I happen to have all the handheld routers you mention except the Makita. I would go with the Dewalt 618 no question. The 611 is my second choice, but it won’t accept 1/2” bits so that can be limiting.
One thing you will notice about the 618 is the low, stable stance, especially in the fixed base. Also the plunge base is smooth and accurate.
Good luck with your choice.

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

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 983 days


#6 posted 11-20-2014 07:57 AM

I have the dw616, dw618, dw611 and the colt.

The 618 stays in a jessem lift most of the time. I used to use the 616 for handheld tasks but it only gets used for dados and other things that require a 1/2 collet. I used the Bosch colt a lot when I first got it. Nice for rounding over edges, flush trimming and other things of that nature. Then I bought the 611 fix/ plunge combo on Amazon. I do not use the colt at all since the 611 arrived. The plunge base for the 611 uses the same guide bushing that my larger router use.

The dust collection attachments for the DW611 work better than anything I have used on a router up to this point. I ordered them from amazon with the router, if memory serves they were $8 each.

View phk's profile

phk

17 posts in 1871 days


#7 posted 11-20-2014 07:38 PM

Wow. Thanks All for your feedback. I don’t think I’ll go to the trouble of changing the bearings on my Craftsman. It’s a good excuse to get a newer router with other features (multiple bases, variable speed, etc.). I like the idea that the Hitachi has both 1/4” and 1/2” collets but the reviews on the router on Amazon are mixed and the supplied collets seem to be a problem. The Craftsman has a 1/4” collet. I have both 1/4” and 1/2” bits, though. I’ve read very good reviews of the DeWalt routers and will probably go that way. I like the idea that the 611 is lighter weight and it sounds like its perhaps a little easier to handle. I would also have a use for my 1/4” bits. How much does one give up not being able to use 1/2” bits in a hand-held router. Is there a collet adapter available for the 618 so that it can also take 1/4” bits?

Anybody know if anyone other than Hitachi makes a good router that will accept both 1/2” and 14” bits. My Hitachi M12V will accept 1/4” bits with a collet adapter. I would like to keep the M12V in the table, though. I think it’s a little heavy for hand-held work.

Thanks again for all the feedback. Additional comments are certainly welcome.

-- PHK - Martinez, CA

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1490 days


#8 posted 11-20-2014 07:50 PM

A 1/4” collet adapter is simply a sleeve that fits in the 1/2” collet. Though some routers come with them, they are essentially universal in design, and there’s no need for them to be specific to any particular brand of router.

However, the collet design (1/2”) does vary quite a lot on routers, and they are usually not interchangeable. Some are better than others. I happen to like the PC collets, because they have a C clip on them that makes releasing stuck bits easy. They also are a very robust design

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8254 posts in 2893 days


#9 posted 11-20-2014 08:24 PM

I’m not sure about other routers, but all of my PCs will take either a 1/2 or 1/4 PC collet.
A few times, I’ve had a problem with bit slippage when using the 1/2 to 1/4 adapter sleeves. With both the 2 slit and 3 slit types. So, if you can, I’d recommend a router that will support both the 1/2 and 1/4 collets.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1490 days


#10 posted 11-20-2014 09:03 PM

Thanks for reminding me. I do have 1/4” and 1/2” collets (not adaptors) for my PC 690. I even have a 3/8” collet, which I got for running HSS end mills to cut aluminum. It seems that at one time, some 3/8” shank bits were available, though I haven’t seen any for years.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View UpstateNYdude's profile

UpstateNYdude

696 posts in 1448 days


#11 posted 11-20-2014 09:20 PM

Its expensive, but the Festool 1400 is a wonderful piece of machinery if you can float the cash.

-- Nick, "Choking to death on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover." - JG

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 983 days


#12 posted 11-21-2014 09:13 AM

the dw616 and dw618 come with a 1/4” and 1/2” collet, no adapter needed. The dw611 and bosch colt are only 1/4” collets. I do not know enough about other brands to speak on them.

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 889 days


#13 posted 11-21-2014 02:35 PM


Its expensive, but the Festool 1400 is a wonderful piece of machinery if you can float the cash.

- UpstateNYdude

Agreed. The only other real choice according to everyone in the router forums for a hand held is a Bosch.

Quality control really seems to have disappeared among the other mfgs. PC’s seem to have slid the furthest from their once high perch in the last five years or so.

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

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8254 posts in 2893 days


#14 posted 11-21-2014 02:53 PM

Agreed. Glad I got all of mine years ago.

Quality control really seems to have disappeared among the other mfgs. PC s seem to have slid the furthest from their once high perch in the last five years or so.

- timbertailor


-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View abie's profile

abie

818 posts in 3235 days


#15 posted 11-21-2014 03:36 PM

PHK:
I live close by and recommend the Trend-1 from England
it is both a plunge and hand held, Priced around $110.00
It is a sweet machine and has all the attachments

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

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