No announcement yet.

Another router question

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Another router question

    I hesitate to ask this because I'm sure lots of people have their own preferences - it's a bit like the "what's the best saw?" question ... but here goes ..

    I'm thinking of getting another router sometime in the new year - the one I have here is a cheap one on a small table from Crappy Tire which I got when I moved over here ..

    I'd never used a router previously ... woodworking novice here remember ...

    Any suggestions what I should be looking at when upgrading as far as any aspects of routers go - and maybe just as importantly any things/models to avoid at all costs?

    Scrolling with a Dewalt 788

  • #2
    Ian -- many moons ago when I was just a young sprout I was one heck of a router user --I liked the table router a lot and a good plunge router is a must have- but since I have gotten older I decided to go back into wood and get my act together-any who-I bought all my tools I could afford but I also found out I couldn't rember to much on how to use my router-it had been 10 years siince I had used one-
    First off is find a book cause I couldn't rember beans about how to use one-- without proper instructs you will kill yourself with one --needles to say that is another story but what ever you do find out how to operate one first --

    I ended up selling both routers and table and enough bits to make a grown man cry for almost nothing-
    just because I didn't know what I was doing.


    • #3
      Ian, I know practically nothing about routers myself. I've had an old Skil fixed base sitting in my garage for at least 10 years that I had to have but never used. I have to rub the bit against something to get it to start, but it does work. I did buy a keyhole bit for it a couple months ago for a couple crosses I made and it did the job.

      People in the know are going to ask you what your intentions with this tool are. I've seen them from 1/2 hp to over 3 hp so it's going to depend a lot on what you are planning on doing with it.

      I'm been looking at plunge routers myself. I have no idea what I want 1 for, but I do. I would also like a lathe. Why? I don't know, just do. This happens to me mid winter when I start getting bored.

      Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


      • #4
        I recommend a porter cable 690 series...simply because you can buy it in a kit with a fixed base and a plunge base. This covers mounting it in a table or safely plunging dadoes, keyholes, lettering etc. The motor simply turns and pulls out from one base to another. Be sure you get the one with the adjustable speed, that's 690as, or ls..something like that. Like a scroll saw, adjustable speed is important for control and to prevent burning. I don't find power itself to be that important in a router, it's more the adjustablility of speed and comfortable grip. You don't want one too tiny, but you don't want a hulking monster with lights and vaccuums and bells and whistles. I have a router with a vac..the bag is bulky and a neusance...just build a table with a fence and hook a shop vac to that for dust collection...otherwise you can sweep up afterwards because your not making dust so much as you are making chips.
        For anyone not too familiar with routers..they are the most dangerous tool in a woodworking shop, and the cause of the most fatalities, so do be careful. Always set the router down upside down and don't let go until it comes to a complete stop...don't set a router down on its side...the most common injury and death comes from people setting a router down on it's side with the bit facing their stomach..which may sound silly, but it's actually the most natural way to put down a router without thinking about it...accidentally turn it on, or turn it on without realizing the "kick" of a router will remove your stomach in a hurry, your shirt will help to pull the router in to you so that you can't muscle it away, and it all happens in a split second.
        Jeff Powell


        • #5
          I'll second Jeff's recommendation. Unless you're planning on raised panels and using very large bits, the 690 series is an excellent router.
          Scrollsaw Patterns Online
          Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


          • #6
            The router combos offered by many of the major manufactures are great options. These combos have both fixed and plunge bases that are interchangable with one motor. What this means is that you can mount the fixed base in your table, then remove the motor (easily done in most cases) and slip it into the plunge base for freehand work. Unless you plan on spinning big bits like raised panel cutters, a 1 1/2 hp or 2 1/4 HP router will give you all the power you need. Look for variable speed and soft start, very nice features on the better models. DeWalt 618, Porter-Cable 890 and Bosch 1617make very nice combo units that are pretty highly regarded on other woodworking forums I visit. Hitachi, Freud, Makita and Milwaukee are other good brands, but I'm not familiar with the availbility of combo kits in those brands. I've asked for the Dewalt 618 3 base combo for Christmas, based mostly on reviews I've read on the internet.

            As for which ones to avoid at all costs, low cost routers in general are probably not the best choice. Routers operate at extremely high speeds and precision, so it probably makes good sense to spend a little more to get one of the brands I mentioned above. I know Craftsman has a bad reputation for their routers, with one exception being their clone of the Bosch 1617. I've had Craftsman routers for years and am looking to upgrade as well, which is why I've asked for the DeWalt for Christmas. I haven't had some of the problems with Craftsman that others report, but at this stage of my life, I'm ready to step up.

            Good luck. Routers are very versatile and useful in the shop, but can be very dangerous. If you are a new user, educate yourself before jumping in and spinning bits at 30K rpm. Unlike the scrollsaw, mistakes with a router happen suddenly and violently. Be careful!
            Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


            • #7
              I agree with everything above. In short you needs lots of power and sharp bits so the tool is not fighting the wood. Both fixed base and plunge have their benefits so a combo is a good thing to have access to. I personally have two. One fixed base permamently mounted on table and a plunge router.

              A good router table is escential also.

              -Just do'in the best I can every day


              • #8
                Originally posted by workin for wood
                the most common injury and death comes from people setting a router down on it's side with the bit facing their stomach..which may sound silly, but it's actually the most natural way to put down a router without thinking about it...accidentally turn it on, or turn it on without realizing the "kick" of a router will remove your stomach in a hurry, your shirt will help to pull the router in to you so that you can't muscle it away, and it all happens in a split second.
                Ouch, gutted by a router. Maybe it's a good thing that my old router needs to be "kick started" with the edge of something to get the bit to start spinning.

                Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


                • #9
                  All very good advice. I would reccommend the Porter Cable combo.I think just about every router raiser things for table mounting a router for easy lifting and fine adjusting are designed around the PC router motors. I have a few routers, Bosch being my best routers (I even have a 1617 kit unused that I got for a good deal right before santy claus brought me a 1618 kit). My craftsman is what Id call an ok router. I did burn up the windings on it when I used it on the router table without the vac going, and some shavings got inside it.I have a skil plunge router, which is ok for simple cuts and keyholing, but its no Cadillac by any means.The B&D router is the first router I bought.It works well as long as I dont expect much from it. I dont even know where I have that router its been so long ago.
                  A table to mount one isnt really a must for someone beginning routing, but it does make life so much easier, and cuts safer and more accurate. Another thing I dont know if it was mentioned already, but the collet size. Get one that either has a 1/2 inch chuck, or a combination of 1/4 and 1/2 inch chucks.True the router is dangerous, as is any powertool. Common sense is the best tool in the toolbox, if its used, everything just goes so much smoother. Dale
                  Dale w/ yella saws


                  • #10
                    The router is a very versatile tool and most people do not even begin to tap it's potential.
                    For most scrollers it is used to round over the edges of our projects.

                    I do not make furniture

                    I have a plunger router which was given to me as a present. I don't think, for the type of work I am doing a plunge router would be the best choice.
                    I have it mounted in a router table because it is easier and safer for me to pass the wood over the bit rather than the other way around.

                    The Plunge- standard combos are a great choice. Skil makes a combo which takes both 1/4 and 1/2 bits, It has enough HP to do both.

                    I have seen great use of laminate trimmers also known as palm rounters. They have more HP than a dremel but are easy enough to use safely on light work.

                    There are things that you can do with a router that you cannot do with any other tool.

                    I have seen so many people get routers and dovetail bits and jigs and they end up making almost no boxes. They looked cool in the store and that is why they bought them.

                    Read as much as you can, find out what you want to do and get the right tool for the job.
                    CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                    Unconfigured Ad Widget


                    Latest Topics


                    • will8989
                      Reply to Park the scroll saw for awhile
                      by will8989
                      So many are selling them here it’s not worth us making them. However, we do very well with our dough boards. Nobody else makes them. We have an order for a dough board and matching pepper grinder. The walnut board I could make into a beautiful basket or two and sell for lots more than they are getting...
                      Today, 08:15 PM
                    • will8989
                      Reply to Bats and Moon Puzzle.
                      by will8989
                      I use #7 on my younger kid puzzles. Easier for them to put together.
                      Today, 08:11 PM
                    • will8989
                      Reply to Mitre saw material clamps
                      by will8989
                      I did forget to mention he cut a finger on his left hand with the bandsaw. Just took skin off. Lucky again. Told him he was calling 911 next time.
                      Today, 08:08 PM
                    • jim_mex
                      Reply to Forum format
                      by jim_mex
                      Thanks Carole - that is much better and I now feel a little stupid for not noticing that option!!...
                      Today, 02:19 PM
                    • handibunny
                      Reply to Forum format
                      by handibunny
                      Jim, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, on the left you’ll find some style options that change the font size and color. I’ve been using Defalt vB5 Style, and it seems to be about the best for my iPad, but I’m still experimenting with my iMac.
                      Today, 12:29 PM