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i'd really liketo buy a router.   theres so much you can do with them. but theres so many different brands  fixed or plunge  really don't know which one   any advice out there    just have small shop

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Hi Mike,

 

I have two of these Ridgid Routers.  I bought one about a year ago and fixed it to a table and then went out and bought another one for freehand stuff.  The price is right, the guarantee really good and they work great.  I have used them for trim, raised panel doors and edging with success.

You're right, there are bunches of different brands and all the name brands are pretty decent. I suggest you go with a kit, one that has both the fixed and the plunge bases included. That way you can use it either way, depending on the job. About 2 +/- H.P. is a pretty decent size. Look for variable speed, soft start and both 1/4 and 1/2" collets so you're not limited on bit selection. I would avoid "adapters" that reduce 1/2" collets to take 1/4" bits. Spindle locks are nice but shouldn't make or break a deal. Finally, since it's going to be your tool, you really need to examine them for ergonomics. Go to Lowes, HD, wood shows, woodworking stores, anywhere that has them on display so you can handle them. Check how they feel to you, well balanced?, controls; on switch, speed conrol, plunge lock, easy to reach and use? If you can find someplace you can actually use it, so much the better. Probably a woodworking show or class will be about the only place thats gonna happen.

Hope this helps, good luck

thank you both really helpful

John Schaben said:

You're right, there are bunches of different brands and all the name brands are pretty decent. I suggest you go with a kit, one that has both the fixed and the plunge bases included. That way you can use it either way, depending on the job. About 2 +/- H.P. is a pretty decent size. Look for variable speed, soft start and both 1/4 and 1/2" collets so you're not limited on bit selection. I would avoid "adapters" that reduce 1/2" collets to take 1/4" bits. Spindle locks are nice but shouldn't make or break a deal. Finally, since it's going to be your tool, you really need to examine them for ergonomics. Go to Lowes, HD, wood shows, woodworking stores, anywhere that has them on display so you can handle them. Check how they feel to you, well balanced?, controls; on switch, speed conrol, plunge lock, easy to reach and use? If you can find someplace you can actually use it, so much the better. Probably a woodworking show or class will be about the only place thats gonna happen.

Hope this helps, good luck

Hello Mike.  Looking for a router depends on several things depending on what you are wanting to use it for,  If is is to be used as a handheld router it will then depend on how big of bits do you want to be able to use it on.  How big the materials are that you wish to be able to cut is a factor also.  If you are wanting to use it as a table mounted router you really would want to have something entirely diffferent.  In my cabinet shop I have several routers of which are from the trim routers that allow you to cut things like laminates, veneers and light materials.  They are for the 1/4" shank router bits and since they are a trim router the speeds are adjustable. What makes these great are the ability to use them in tight areas however they are small based and harder to keep vertical to the cut line.  You can get these in fixed or plunge type.  I prefer the plunge type.

For larger projects and general routing I use the larger based routers and prefer the soft start and variable speed versions and again my choice is the plunge type.  I also prefer the 1/2" router bit shank as they are more viberation free.  Most of the larger routers have a collet insert to allow you to use the 1/4 ' or the 1/2" shank bits.  The reason I perfer the soft start variable speed router is that I find them to be more user friendly allowing you to start the routing process without it trying to jump out of your hands.  The varible speed allows you to choose the bit speed to  fit the job.

Another factor to consider is the router to be used for general routing is the type of handle control.  I have routers with both the knob on each side and the ones with the "D" handle and knob. Here again both have their advantage mainly control and ability to route in limited spaces.  It is kind of a user choice in this application meaning what can you easily control remembering the safety factors as to eye shield and ability to see the routing action as the control of the on and off switch.  The better control of the power switch is the "D' handle varrible speed style which usually have the switch control in you hand at all times (kinda like a drill)

If your are looking for a table mounted version you need a bigger sized in the 2 1/4 hp to 3 1/4 hp range with a large base and heavy frame that will have the ability to be mounted upside down on a table.  It needs to be a variable speed controled by a seperate speed control of which you can adjust bit speeds.  It is best if it is a soft start version.  One of the largest concerns is the ability to remove and install bits and adjust router heights.  There are several router lifts on the market and all have their advantages and disadvantages depending on user preferences .  I would use a router using 1/2" shank bits only as they have a big advantage over 1/2" bits not only due to there being more bits profiles avaible but because they are just more rugged and withstand heat and stress much greater that the 1/4"  They is also less viberation thus giving you a smoother cut with less chatter.

 

As far as brands, again this is a users choice in what you like.  I stay away from the router like skill. black and decker and and the cheaper brands as they simply do not perform well.  Routers like porter cable, bosh, hitachi, ridge, fein, and triton are excellent choices.  In my shop I have two router tables of which I build raised panel cabinet doors turning bits as large as 3 inches in diameter.  I have the hitachi mv12  3/14 hp in one table and a triton tra001 3 1/4 hp in the other table.  Both are the soft start versions and have electronic speed control, (another desireable feature in table mounter router systems as it maintains constant speed depending on load requirement) and 1/2 inch collets. I use the triton to cut many different crown molding and other custom moldings in all types of wood.  In my hand held  router  selection I have  Bosch, porter cable and a craftsman all for different uses. Some are plunge and some fixed.   All have given great service and I have no complainants as to what I can do with them.  Once you choose your router, a word of advice, stay away from the cheap router bits. Buy the more expensive ones which save you time money and frustration.  A cheap bit will make the best router dangerous router and into one that will make you want to pitch into the garbage can.   Good luck Mike, take your time and check out the wide selection at a good tool store.

wow thank you very much

Jay Boutwell said:

Hello Mike.  Looking for a router depends on several things depending on what you are wanting to use it for,  If is is to be used as a handheld router it will then depend on how big of bits do you want to be able to use it on.  How big the materials are that you wish to be able to cut is a factor also.  If you are wanting to use it as a table mounted router you really would want to have something entirely diffferent.  In my cabinet shop I have several routers of which are from the trim routers that allow you to cut things like laminates, veneers and light materials.  They are for the 1/4" shank router bits and since they are a trim router the speeds are adjustable. What makes these great are the ability to use them in tight areas however they are small based and harder to keep vertical to the cut line.  You can get these in fixed or plunge type.  I prefer the plunge type.

For larger projects and general routing I use the larger based routers and prefer the soft start and variable speed versions and again my choice is the plunge type.  I also prefer the 1/2" router bit shank as they are more viberation free.  Most of the larger routers have a collet insert to allow you to use the 1/4 ' or the 1/2" shank bits.  The reason I perfer the soft start variable speed router is that I find them to be more user friendly allowing you to start the routing process without it trying to jump out of your hands.  The varible speed allows you to choose the bit speed to  fit the job.

Another factor to consider is the router to be used for general routing is the type of handle control.  I have routers with both the knob on each side and the ones with the "D" handle and knob. Here again both have their advantage mainly control and ability to route in limited spaces.  It is kind of a user choice in this application meaning what can you easily control remembering the safety factors as to eye shield and ability to see the routing action as the control of the on and off switch.  The better control of the power switch is the "D' handle varrible speed style which usually have the switch control in you hand at all times (kinda like a drill)

If your are looking for a table mounted version you need a bigger sized in the 2 1/4 hp to 3 1/4 hp range with a large base and heavy frame that will have the ability to be mounted upside down on a table.  It needs to be a variable speed controled by a seperate speed control of which you can adjust bit speeds.  It is best if it is a soft start version.  One of the largest concerns is the ability to remove and install bits and adjust router heights.  There are several router lifts on the market and all have their advantages and disadvantages depending on user preferences .  I would use a router using 1/2" shank bits only as they have a big advantage over 1/2" bits not only due to there being more bits profiles avaible but because they are just more rugged and withstand heat and stress much greater that the 1/4"  They is also less viberation thus giving you a smoother cut with less chatter.

 

As far as brands, again this is a users choice in what you like.  I stay away from the router like skill. black and decker and and the cheaper brands as they simply do not perform well.  Routers like porter cable, bosh, hitachi, ridge, fein, and triton are excellent choices.  In my shop I have two router tables of which I build raised panel cabinet doors turning bits as large as 3 inches in diameter.  I have the hitachi mv12  3/14 hp in one table and a triton tra001 3 1/4 hp in the other table.  Both are the soft start versions and have electronic speed control, (another desireable feature in table mounter router systems as it maintains constant speed depending on load requirement) and 1/2 inch collets. I use the triton to cut many different crown molding and other custom moldings in all types of wood.  In my hand held  router  selection I have  Bosch, porter cable and a craftsman all for different uses. Some are plunge and some fixed.   All have given great service and I have no complainants as to what I can do with them.  Once you choose your router, a word of advice, stay away from the cheap router bits. Buy the more expensive ones which save you time money and frustration.  A cheap bit will make the best router dangerous router and into one that will make you want to pitch into the garbage can.   Good luck Mike, take your time and check out the wide selection at a good tool store.

Hey what about that plunge router at wal mart I thank it is a skill it $ 69.00 it looks to be a good tool and as for some of us? I own  black and decker tools and one of my drills is 9 years old my  black and decker router is 7 years old so hey take it easy on the black and decker and skill and we had this happen before.
Well David, when you got your black and decker tools they still had quality.  Recently my neighbor got a black and decker drill and it smoked the first or second time out of the box so  he took it back, got another one and it would't even run.  I know this happeded as he brought the second one over for me to look at.  I had to loan him one of my drills so he could get his job done.   I know the older ones were fine, it is the new ones that should be junked out.  My nephews are general contractors and they started out with several skill tools.  As time went on they needed to add some  and replace some and the quality and performance just does not touch the performance of the older ones . They have one skill that about a year old that they call the, "HOWELLER" because it screams so much when you turn it on that you can't use if very long.  It's not that I'm prejustice against them it is that I just know this first hand and will not reccomend them to anyone.   I have a black and decker professional cord drill that is a 3/8" chuck, that I used to bore pocket holes for the kreg jig.  It is about 15 yrs old and works fine.  The only explaination must be the new ones don't "cut the mustard like the old one did and still do ".

David Dean said:
Hey what about that plunge router at wal mart I thank it is a skill it $ 69.00 it looks to be a good tool and as for some of us? I own  black and decker tools and one of my drills is 9 years old my  black and decker router is 7 years old so hey take it easy on the black and decker and skill and we had this happen before.
Hi David - I agree with Jays' comments but just to throw in some perspective. General Tools makes a pocket hole jig about 1/3 the cost of the Kreg. Why do people opt for the Kreg.?

David Dean said:
Hey what about that plunge router at wal mart I thank it is a skill it $ 69.00 it looks to be a good tool and as for some of us? I own  black and decker tools and one of my drills is 9 years old my  black and decker router is 7 years old so hey take it easy on the black and decker and skill and we had this happen before.
Well you got me there Jay may tools are getting old and the drill anit going to last much longer.

But David,  it isn't the tool or the grade of the tool that is important.  It is the guy thats running the tool.  Tools only do what the craftsman tells it to do.  The differnce in the tools is how well they mind you when you tell it what to do. 

 Now I been looking at your page, reading your posts and have  seen the photos of what you can do.  I have to say not only are you a gentleman but a mighty fine craftsman too.  Tools wear out but a craftsman never does, he just adapts to what he has to work with.

David Dean said:

Well you got me there Jay may tools are getting old and the drill anit going to last much longer.
hi mike, wish i could add something but after reading jays comments he covered it all pretty good. i will add that i have a ridgid and a triton, both are good routers would buy them again. have a hf router but havent tried it out yet. dad has a makita it is also a good router, just go with a good name brand and you should be happy with it.
I would recommend hitting the pawn shops.  they usually have a decent selection of power tools and if you know what you're looking for you can find some really great deals.  I recently bought a Bosch 1617 fixed base and plunge base that came with the router edge guide.  Both of these together @ $250 on Amazon.  I spent a good 30 min in the pawn shop checking out the unit and plugged it in and smelled the motor - no burn smells.  Got the whole package in the original case for $125 and the thing runs great.  I spent a Saturday morning hitting @ 5 pawn shops and making notes of what models they had, did the research online and then went back to make an offer.  You never know what you might run across but you have to be careful that you don't pay too much....

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