Cheap Routers are Expensive

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I just ruined a 12' long piece of oak because the depth adjustment on my Craftsman router slipped while beading the edge of the oak. Not sure what happened, but I am nervous about using it now. Never had a problem on pine, but it seems like oak stresses the machine too much.
In looking at some posts on router recommendations, it seems like Porter Cable are well thought of. Is that still the case?
Incidentally, how long should a good bit like PC last?
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I was researching this just recently, so here's some links:
http://groups.google.ca/group/rec.woodworking/browse_thread/thread/798acc12466dbddc/58a2cf95f9110899?lnk=st&q=grego+woodworking+porter+cable&rnum=1&hl=en#58a2cf95f9110899
http://groups.google.ca/group/rec.woodworking/browse_thread/thread/55d58e68f5cc2255/a780a7a92119e492?lnk=st&q=grego+woodworking+porter+cable&rnum=9&hl=en#a780a7a92119e492
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
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Bill Stock wrote:

I don't agree with a lot of the negative reviews, mine doesn't seem to have any of the problems they mention. I bought it on mid 2004 to replace the Craftsman which ruined a couple boards with its automatic random height adjustment.
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Yeah, it's difficult to gauge the negative reviews sometimes. Often you only here from the guy who got a lemon or someone who has unrealistic expectations about a consumer device. There are also the negatives for features I will never use or don't want to pay for, so I don't care about these. Nor do I take the magazine reviews at face value, often they'll rave about one product and then give the nod to another. Of course the product with the biggest ad is the one that got the nod.
I put more faith in GregO's review of this particular model. I'm hoping Santa will leave me a shiny Triton. It will sure beat the lump of coal I got last year.
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Bill Stock wrote:

consumer and my first use of it. The craftsman router would always chatter when making a cut and the pc with the same bit was smooth as could be. I just wish they hadn't discontinued their cordless router. I have an old 7.2v Makita laminate trimmer that I use with little bits like a 1/8" roundover and wanted to get the PC since it would share the same bases as their corded.
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Yeah, that is an inherent problem with many Craftsman rougers.

At one time they were probably considered the best but they have come out with some reas stinkers in the last few years and many have been reported that they run hot. Bosch, Milwaukee, anf the unique Triton have been getting along with not too many complaints.

That would all depend on how hard you push it and the type wood. The life can be for years or weeks.
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On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 13:51:40 -0500, "Buck Turgidson"

So you've become familiar with the self adjusting depth feature of Craftsman routers. That feature sucks.
Yeah, PC routers are good. So are Bosch.
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Buck,
I have several routers but I like my $100.00 Porter Cable the best.
cm

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craftsman. (Bummer man! I know the sinking feeling of messing something like that up, whether it's your fault or your tool's...)

reconditioned). See both Pat Warner's site (patwarner.com) and several recent threads here for more recommendations and opinions.

Longer than cheaper bits, but not as long as nicer bits. With a few exceptions, you get what you pay for: CMT, Amana, Whiteside, etc. are excellent; Freud, infinitytool.com, leevalley.com, etc. are very good, I haven't used PC but I'd guess they'd fit with other higher-end borg-level stuff here, MLCS is good for the price, and finally, the cheap <$1/ea chinese/eBay/HF bits are passable if you only need them once and don't expect a perfectly smooth cut. Of course, others' opinions may vary along this gradient... Good luck, Andy
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Cheap routers are not only expensive, they'll rob you of the enjoyment of your hobby. That little slip up sort of ruined your whole day, didn't it?
We tend to argue a lot about which brand is "best", but I think you can rest assured that any router from Porter Cable, Bosch, Dewalt, Hitachi, Milwaukee, Triton, Freud and maybe Rigid but NOT Ryobi or Black & Decker will be much more satisfying to use than your Craftsman. PC has been beaten up lately around here, but I think we hold those manufacturers to a higher standard.
I have two PC routers plus an old Craftsman and a Ryobi that never get used anymore. My big 3 HP PC 7518 has a collet that gets warmer than I thought it should. I called Porter Cable and they said it was normal because of the tight clearances in the bottom bearing. But they sent me a new router anyway, which gets just as hot. I never measured the temperature, but it's too hot to hold comfortably when changing bits after 15 minutes or more of use. It's slightly annoying sometimes, but it doesn't ruin my day. I have at least 5 Porter Cable tools, and I've never had one yet that really disappointed me.
If I were in your shoes, I'd probably buy the Porter Cable 690 kit with plunge and fixed bases. I've never heard anybody call the 690 junk. Getting the proper size router for your application is more important than which brand among the best. I love my PC 7518 in the router table, but if I only had one router, I wouldn't want that one to be it. It's just too big for most of my hand-held applications. Good luck on your upgrade.
DonkeyHody "He who lieth down with dogs waketh up with fleas."
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They have a much longer history in routers and probably invented the router that we know today.
They sell more routers than anybody I'm aware of.
They also make some pretty nice routers, which is a bonus.
A bit's life depends on what you have been doing with it.
There is no real way to measure the effective life except in feet cut and I doubt anybody would actually keep score.
Buck Turgidson wrote:

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Sun, Nov 19, 2006, 1:51pm jc snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (BuckTurgidson) doth lament: I just ruined a 12' long piece of oak because the depth adjustment on my Craftsman router slipped while beading the edge of the oak. Not sure what happened, but I am nervous about using it now. <snip>
I used a bottom of the line Craftsman router for several years (until a bad solder joint broke), and replaced it with another, that's also been used for several years. Never had a problem self adjusting problem with either. However, I have a theory on that.
I'm thinking frequent height adjustment loosens it, allowing slip. My router lives in my router table, I use only flush trim bits, and don'adjust height. If it ever did slip i'd probably use adhesive on it; or, if I ever figured on adjusting height, I''d rig some type of screw stop instead..
Thes el-cheapo models do exactly what I want and need, I'll keep on using them. However, if I needed a router I'd adjust height on, I'd get something else..
JOAT Democratic justice. One man, one rock.
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I'm thinking frequent height adjustment loosens it, allowing slip.
I had a couple with the problem. The problem was with the bit slipping in the collet not the height adjustment slipping.
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Mon, Nov 20, 2006, 5:25pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net (Leon) doth sayeth: I had a couple with the problem. The problem was with the bit slipping in the collet not the height adjustment slipping.
I had that problem too, when I first started using mine. Turned out it was caused by bottoming the bit. Now I bottom the bit, then raisie it maybe 1/8", no more bit slipping.
You saying that, in just that way, now makes me wonder if part, if not all, of the so-called "self-adjusting" problems aren't just the bit slipping.
JOAT Democratic justice. One man, one rock.
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(Leon)

That may well be the case, however in my case I was fortunate. The bit would slide deeper into the collet. I just had to readjust and do it again.
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Leon wrote:

Mine had both. It was a $99 plunge router but the plunge lock would slip a little in harder wood so I had add another nut to the depth stop and lock the depth with the nuts tightened on top and bottom. Then it would let the bit slip a little bit in the collett, sometimes up, sometimes down. It didn't have the second nut so you could tighten the collett with two wrenches, just a motor lock in the top of the router and one nut on the collett. I would get a wrench on the collett and lock the motor and bearhug the router trying to get the collett tightened enough to prevent slipping but it would still slip. I managed to get it tight enough to make the motor lock stick, I would have to smack it hard to lock or unlock, must have slightly bent the locking mechanism and the bit still slipped. I ruined enough wood to pay for the PC router so I went and bought one and ebay'ed the craftsman and was honest and said the lock sticks and the collett slips and the plunge lock slips and still got a few $ for it. The PC router has a shaft lock because all the magazines who review routers instead of using them think its necessary but if they ever used one they would know you can't get enough leverage holding the router in one hand and a wrench in the other so it still has the double nut collar, hold two wrenches with the handles slightly apart in one hand and squeeze them together and the bit is locked tight and doesn't move.
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Buck Turgidson wrote:

I went from a Craftsman to Porter Cable earlier this year (when PC had their recalled motor problems. I wan't affected but it was big news here), and I've been thrilled with my PC kit.
I had a problem with my Craftsman router in which the whole motor assembly fell apart while I was hand-routing a dado in some plywod.
The motor literally dropped loose in the housing. It scared the crap out of me. I put it back together and stuck it in my Craftsman router table, and there it has stayed.
One thing that I love about my PC 893PK is that it's *quiet* when it's not eating wood. My Craftsman was loud just cutting air.
-Nathan
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Yes, the 890s are rather quiet. The 690 is a screamer. I have three routers. 690, 892, and 8529. Never had a problem with any of them.

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I have three larger PCs, a 7518 in a router table, a 7529 plunge that I hardly use cause it's too big, heavy and awkward and a 891 to replace the 7529. I like the adjustmen and plunge better on the 7529 then the 891 but the smaler one is easier to use. I'm happy with them and they have never given me any trouble.

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Woops, hit something that made it send...
Anyway, I also have a PC trim router that I don't like the depth adjustment on cause you have to loosen the base on to use and it seems kind of tippy. Looking for a better idea.
On bits: Can't say I've ever worn one out but I've had crappy ones like from Rockler and Whiteside. Now I only buy Amana if at all possilbe, they cost more but are worth it in me experience.
m

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