Choosing a router?

I have an old 1.5 hp Crapsman router that I use. But now I want to upgrade. I'd like to have a 2 hp fixed base that takes 1/2" shanks but then I'd also like to have a plunge router. I'd also like to have 3+hp router for a router table. I can't afford to buy them all. Could a person buy a 3 hp plunge like a Dewalt or Bosch and use it for everything? What is the drawback of a plunge in a router table? Is there a router that is a good all around? Regards. -Guy
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Like all tools, it depends upon what you want to do with them. A 3HP router will allow you to do brute things quickly, but is very heavy if you take it off the router table.
If you do both, then go with something like a Porter Cable 690 "kit," or whatever their new number is. It allows you a lot of flexibility for several reasons:
1. It's the industry standrd, so virtually every accessory made for a router is made to fit it first.
2. The motor is removable, so you can get a great many attachements as needed.
3. It is built to last for generations.
Here is what I've done: I've gotten a few of their 1001 bases, which run maybe $10, and kept those permantently on my router table built into my table saw extension and a mortising jig). I have a plunge routing base and a D handle base for hand work.
There is never a problem wiht hogging off large abounts of wood with intricate cuts because you don't do that with a router under 3 HP (this is 1 1/2 I think). I've done curly maple frame and panel doors with it. You do it in smaller increments, but in the end, that is safer no matter what size router you have (that huge frame bit is scary no matter what is spinning it) so it's always safer to take it in very small amounts, and you have less of a chance for tearout.
People seem to love the idea of a plunge router ina router table, with a fine adjustment knob doing micro adjustments. I never found the need. The PC screw in and out with ease, in very small amounts. Frankly, if you need that much precision with outside help, I could see getting that JessEm router lift, or getting the PC 693 (that's the plunge base I mentioned before) and getting a Router Raizer. Someone I know got one and said it worked great, and it's a lot cheaper.
If you are a production shop it's a different story of course.
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I seen this combo kit but I wasn't sure what to think...............does the combo style router do as well as a dedicated plunge or dedicated fixed base router? I thought maybe they tried to fit the needs of both styles in one router but were not as good as the dedicated ones. Is that the case here? Regards. -Guy

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I agree, my 690 is going on 6 years,2nd switch and brushes and collet. It never comes out of the router table and does about 50% of my routing including boxjoints, round overs, rabbits and patterns. The other 40% is done by a trim router and about 10% by a 2 hp bosh plunge router. I could put a plunge base on the PC and get by without the bosh but I have it so I keep it set up for the plunge jobs.

router
it off

several
router is

needed.
maybe
saw
handle
intricate
router
it's
chance
fine
screw
much
or
a
lot
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If I needed a single "do everything router" I would go for one of the 1-3/4 or 2 hp combo kits. That way you get a plundge base and fixed base router. I assume this would also make it easy to put in and take out of a router table since the motors is easily removed from the base. Just leave one base (plunge I guess) installed in the table. I have a PC 7813 in my table, DW 625 for plunge, and a few combo kits. The vast majority of handheld work I do with one of the combo routers. They have enough power for most tasks and are easy to hande. For me the 625 or 7813 are too awkward for most hand held stuff. IMO the only reason for that much power is turning big bits like panel cutters, rail & stile cutters, etc.

upgrade.
also
router
like
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upgrade.
also
Be sure to check out www.patwarner.com for some good information and tips. Ed
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Based on the three I've owned and my experience my ideal all round router would have the following attributes.
Note - This is for an all round router. IE one that will do general router chores very well and will still be able to handle things like raised panels or detail work but not on a steady diet.
The router would have a motor or over 1 3/4 horse but less then 3 horse power. It would have a large opening in the base (that's the metal base not the plastic sub base. My Bosch 1613 VS taught me that one), it would be a plunge router, have variable speed, have soft start, have both 1/2" and 1/4" collets, and, accept the de facto standard Porter Cable after market accessories.
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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I'd start with a DeWalt 621, see where that takes you. One appraisal here: http://www.patwarner.com/dw621.html ***********************************************************************

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Good to see you here Pat! Tales of a Boatbuilder Apprentice http://pages.sbcglobal.net/djf3rd /
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I have a 3 1/4 hp Hitachi in my router table. The only thing I need that much horsepower for is raised panels. I have been using an old Black and Decker router for handheld work.
I took advantage of Home Depot's sale this weekend and bought the 1 3/4 hp Porter-Cable combo kit. It will serve all of my handheld routing needs and, as it seems to be the industry standard, just about any aftermarket router accessories fit.
Here's what I would suggest. Get the combo kit and use the fixed base in a router table and use the plunge base for everything else. You don't need the plunge feature in the router table but you will need it for freehand use when cutting stopped dados.
Dick Durbin
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I too still have my 1.5 Craftsman but wanted something better for raised panels. I went for the Bosch 16717 EVSPK, 2 bases & variable speed. Very pleased with my purchase. I also find the router to be less noisey than my older one.
D.Martin
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I replaced my first router (coincidentally also a Craftsman 1.5hp) with a DeWalt 618PK combo kit earlier this year and I love it. Everything is compatible with the PC690 mounting holes and it all the same accessories that fit a PC690 fit the DW618. It's rated at 2 1/4 hp, and I don't doubt it for a second. I have made raised panel doors without a hint of bogging the motor down in a deep pass.
It's a variable speed router, it comes with interchangeable bases depending on what diameter bit you need, and the dust collection is great. As you can probably tell, I love it.
My only regret is that I missed out on the 3-pack which includes a D-handle. The fixed base is attached to my router table, and an extra fixed base would be nice.
If you can find somewhere locally to get your hands on one to check the feel I would advise you to do so, but I bought mine based on 2 or 3 reviews and tool tests.
To answer one of your points regarding drawbacks of a plunge in a table, unless you use an aftermarket lift mechanism they are not easy to adjust for height.
Have fun looking!
Adam (back on list after a two year absence) Gilbert.

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