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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393652 06/02/13 05:16 PM
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IT kind of depends on what you would be using the router for, Ken. You might consider getting the router first, I'd suggest a 2 to 2 1/2 hp plunger type/fixed base kit, to familiarize yourself with it. I have a Bosch 1617EVS with both bases, so far only used the fixed base to make some homemade plinth blocks out of 1" mdf sheet cut into strips. I'd like to get the Milwaukee 5625 fixed base for an in-table installation someday...that router is a beast!!


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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393670 06/03/13 01:02 PM
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I agree that the table is not "required". Although, having said that, I use my table much more than I do using the router on it's own.

You can buy a table that has the fence and various inserts included. However, you still need to spend some $ to get a good one. Cheapos = extremely hard to adjust the fence and the insert fittings can be a wood ruining, catch point if they are not perfect. In short, if investing in a table, don't go for the budget ones. Wait until you can get a good set up.

Another option is to build your own. If you check out wood working magazines, there are constantly new plans for all sizes of router tables, from simple to complex. Most home made versions allow you to get a much superior product without spending the premium on the really high end tables. It will still be an expensive project vs the budget models but you will be much happier and have bragging rights.

You can do pretty much anything, router-wise, without a table though and even with a table, there will still be times you need to disconnect it and use it freehand. In fact, it will make you really wish that you owned two routers so you can leave one permanently affixed to the table.

So I agree. Buy the router first and learn how to confidently freehand it. Then, as cash allows, use it to build yourself a nice table.


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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393676 06/03/13 04:23 PM
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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393681 06/03/13 07:40 PM
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Ken have a look at Skil. I bought an 1830 which takes both 1/2 and 1/4 shank bits. It has a light which is super handy with all the dust flyin around. If you into round overs at all they are mostly 1/2 shank bits.Lots of stuff you can do with the router. I made dado's for my stereo cabinet, cut holes for speakers using a circle cutting attachment.Also the 1830 can be a fixed base or plunge which is handy.

Last edited by Socketman; 06/03/13 07:49 PM.

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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393683 06/03/13 11:25 PM
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As expensive as the router seems, over time the bits and accessories will likely add up to a lot more. I have several routers and dozens of bits, and a homemade table. It's an extremely useful tool that can do joinery, edge shaping, circle and curve cutting, rabbets, dados, grooves and much more.

My advice would be to invest in a good 2+HP 1/2" router with a plunge and fixed base. Start out with a basic set of carbide bits and add to it as the need arises. I tend to buy mid-quality bits and replace them when they invariable chip or get dull.

You can definitely make a serviceable table for well under $100 out of some melanine and a T-track kit from Rockler or the like. Having a stationary set-up dramatically increases the usefulness of a router.

If you feel the need to spend a little more money on routing, there are a couple of things that I use a lot. One is a laminate trimmer, which is great for light duty edging and round-overs. The other is a Leigh dovetail jig. It's pricey but makes true dovetails (not the hokey rounded corner ones). The purists may flame me for this, but I can make a dozen drawer boxes in a couple of hours that you can't tell from handmade.


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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393710 06/04/13 05:28 PM
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I have several routers. Out of all of them, I still find myself reaching for my 'old' trusty PC 690 that I've had for about 15 years. It's just damn easy to use, easy to hold, easy to adjust, etc, etc....http://www.amazon.com/PORTER-CABLE-690LR-11-Amp-Fixed-Base-Router/dp/B00005QEVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370365852&sr=8-1&keywords=pc+690+router

I bought a new Milwakii fixed/plunge kit a couple years ago, thinking to replace my 690 when it finally dies, but I still use the PC. http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-5616-24-...rds=5616+router

The 5616 is one heck of a router, and pretty comfortable, but I still prefer the 690.

If you are set on a table set up, do it right the first time. The best table router motor is a PC 7518 (you can buy the motor without base for less). A good insert with lift is mandatory. I have the Pinnacle lift and love it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlOIyGeJtOk

I use the Incra fence, and love that too. For table, I just built Norm's table from New Yankee Workshop, but made the table a bit larger. You can buy the plans and a video to build it.

http://www.symionic.com/newyankee/index.php?id=53#!/~/product/id=7916628

Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393711 06/04/13 05:31 PM
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Cool, thanks Mike! The two Porter Cable options seem like the most cost effective plan, at least if I'm going to be crazy enough to buy two of the things. We'll see what I actually end up doing; really depends what I want to build next.


I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!
Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393729 06/05/13 01:37 PM
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Well, last night I built something simple, largely by hand, and remembered that great feeling of satisfaction that one gets from woodworking. My wife wanted a pattern to lay out in the garden beds for planting; a simple 3x3 of 1 foot squares. I figured I could knock that out pretty quickly out of scrap wood I had around, and I was right (where pretty quickly=~2 hours). Gotta say, chisels are awesome. That has to be the fastest I've ever built anything, and that includes time cutting some uprights for a garden fence I'm building, which is taking a lot longer.


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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393736 06/05/13 04:14 PM
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Woot Chisels!!!
I figured you would bring 'stabbity' into your new hobby sooner or later.


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Re: Got Wood?
MarkSJohnson #393737 06/05/13 04:21 PM
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Ken, I'm sorry that I'm late with this.

I use a Triton 2 1/4HP router in my router table and I like it....though it operates differently than most. It has some safety features that, for instance, don't let "B" happen unless you've already done "A". OTOH, it has built-in, through-the-table height adjustment, variable speed, and such which make it a great router for a table. I've told myself that if I needed more power, I'd but the Triton that you linked to.

Mike mentioned his PC favorite; I have a variation that I like better than the 690: The 691 which is essentially the same thing but with a "D" handle. I find it more secure and like the trigger switch as opposed to the switch on the top that most routers use...requiring you to start it with one hand off the router.

I also have a DeWalt 611 kit as a compact router, and it's awesome. Very-highly reviewed.

The thing you start to find is that many woodworkers have more than 1 router....some have 5 or 6. Different designs fit different needs. My GENERAL rule of thumb is that I use the smallest router that will do the job...simply because it's the most comfortable.


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