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Posted: 6/25/2003 7:17:33 AM EDT
Can someone recommend a brand/model of router for serious hobby or professional use? Also, I've noticed one can pay $3 or $30 for the same type of bit, so I'm wondering what one is paying for with an expensive bit? Finally, what's a good router table? I currently have a Delta, and the body of the router screws into either a portable, handheld body or into a base on a table. In the case of the table the router bit is raised or lowered by turning the whole router body, and there is an adjustable backstop to control the other dimension. Only problem with this arrangement is setting it to a specified depth/edge measurement and repeatability of settings. Educate this woodworker with the black-and-blue thumbs and miscellaneous missing fingers. [BD]
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:33:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2003 7:37:26 AM EDT by illigb]
I have 4 different routers. Each serve a different purpose. I like Porter Cable. My 2 workhorses are that brand. One is a plunge router, the other stays mounted in my router/shaper table. Router bits... Cheap bits are usually tool steel. Intermediate priced bits are usually HSS. Expensive bits are carbide. The type of bit you use depends on the application and the wood. Hard oak, use carbide. Edited to say... it sounds like you need a plunge router. There is a depth gauge and thumb stop that ease repeatability. [img]http://media.ptg-online.com/media/pc/Products/Tools/ExtraLarge/20021101200000_7529_72dpi_500.jpg[/img] This looks like mine...
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:40:57 AM EDT
I understand that these are professional quality: [url]www.benchdog.com[/url] Here's an article about them: [url]http://www.startribune.com/stories/535/3927374.html[/url]
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:42:22 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:59:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1: I have two by Craftsman (bought them CHEAP at a pawn shop) and HATE the depth adjustment. It is a sliding plastic sleeve that surrounds the whole body of the unit and is NOT easy to manipulate.
View Quote
Ditto that. The lock nut broke on mine, and for now I've got a regular bolt/nut on it. Major pain to adjust, particularly when it's upside down on the flimsy little stand I use.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 8:25:12 AM EDT
Let me keep you from learning this lesson the hard way, like I did. Cheap bits don't last. Use only carbide bits. They are worth the price.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 8:39:56 AM EDT
You might consider getting a router that accepts the half inch shank bits. A friend showed me how to build a really neat portable target stand that needs a slot for a one by two. Because my Porter Cable will take the large shank bits I bought bit at a specialty woodworking tool shop that will make the wide "by two" cut in one pass. Compared to making multiple passes with a narrower bit or many cuts with a dado blade its worth the price. The feature I don't have is variable speed. This would be usefull when using large bits (as above) or when working in odd materials such as plastic. Good luck. Vic.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 8:41:32 AM EDT
From what I've read, you need to be sure to get a router with the "standard" bottom so you can put different inserts in it. One example is an inlay kit. The kit is made to fit a specific size opening and if the router is non-standard it won't work. Another thing you pay for on bits is the bearing guide. Cheap bits just have a steel post that rubs on the wood and can burn it. Good bits have a steel wheel, which I think uses ball bearings, that can sit still against the wood. I have to vote against the Craftsman also. I find it pretty easy to adjust but the base doesn't look flat to me. I do love that light though. Jim
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 9:42:54 AM EDT
Porter Cable plunge router, just like illigb showed. If you don't need a plunge router then get the Porter Cable routers that have a removable base, this way you can have two or three relatively cheap bases set up the way you want and then transfer the motor from base to base. As for a table I have worked in custom woodworking shops that used a shop built router table. They work fine and the money you save from buying a quality table can be used to purchase better quality bits. For more or better information you might want to say what you are going to be using your router for primarly. Simple roundovers, or raised panel cabinets? Your primary use will have a large effect on what is the best router for you, if you are going to be doing light hobby work then a 1 1/2 horsepower is heavier and less convienent than a 1 horsepower and you will never use that extra 1/2 horsepower.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 10:08:48 AM EDT
OK. Porter Cable, DeWalt, Bosch, Makita, Hitachi and Milwaukee all make excellent routers. Triton out of Australia is also an excellent router. For a serious woodworker you should be looking in the 2HP plus class so you can drive some serious bits and expect good service life. half inch bit shanks are less subject to deflection under stress and build up heat much less quickly so the bit lasts longer, resin build up is less and burnt wood is reduced. Variable speed is a desireable feature since it can reduce kickback, wood burning, tear out etc. So is a soft start motor. For a fixed base router I strongly prefer d-handles as they provide much more positive control and greater switch safety. Many router's offer d-handle bases as an accessory. I have two routers personally, a Porter Cable 690 with both fixed and plunge bases. It is a nice basic 1.5 horse router with collets for either .25 or .5 inch bit shafts. It's noisy as all get out and is only one speed, but it's a workhorse light-duty router. My table router is a Bosch 2.5 horse fixed base. It's a little under-powered for panel raising bits in less than 3 passes, but it's a good, rugged machine. My dad's shop contains three routers. A d-handled 2.5 horse Bosch, a 2.5 horse Bosch plunge router and a big 3.25 horse Porter Cable fixed base router in a JessEm/Jointech Mast-R-Lift base. This is a frighteningly expensive set up (about 250 for the lift and another 300 for the router motor), but makes repeatability possible and provides exceptional control and ease of adjustment and bit changes from above the table top. Along with the Bench Dog and Woodpecker professional systems, you are talking about the best router table systems short of a CNC mill. There are a number of router table router alternatives though including the Router Raizer (an aftermarket add on for many brands of plunge routers that allows adjustment from above the table) The Triton router is set up for adjustment from above or below, so is the latest Milwaukee Plunger. Many of the router manufacturers are building those features right in. Router tables: Depends upon what you want to do, how much space you've got, etc. My dad's router table is part of his Tablesaw right hand extension table, and they use a common fence, the Jointech SawTrain fence system. The system is set up for making complex joints on the router table side, mostly for smaller casework, boxes, etc. I like this system for that purpose. The Incra system is probably as good. The Leigh router jigs are more versatile however, though most people who use them professionally have more than one to limit their need to be constantly readjusting the things. The heavier the router going into the router table, the tougher the table itself must be. A set up like my dad's will cause many router tables to sag and need reinforcement around the router plate insert to prevent this. Most of the portable router tables are fairly light duty and I wouldn't recommend any of them unless space is at a premium. The Rousseau and Bosch units (the same company makes them) are pretty strudy though. Router bits: Carbide is king. But all carbide isn't equal. For bits that are going to be getting a regular work out, you may want to spring for premium grade stuff like CMT or Freud. The Taiwanese import carbides (in the big sets for 125 bucks or so) are getting better. Most of my bits are imports out of the Woodworker's Warehouse brand. They cut pretty good, not perfect, but pretty good. Some accessories to consider: Router bit cleaner and lubricants to remove pitch and resin build ups and keep the bearings spinning freely, as well as to prevent corrosion. are a good investment. Dust collection set ups to reduce the dust you'll be breathing when working are also a must have. My dad's shop has a 1200 CFM dust collector and a good Delta air cleaner for the finer dust. These make working in the shop a much nicer experience and dramatically reduce the fire hazards. hope this helps, out of time now.
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