HF Trim Router - Stay Away

We've all taken our turn at bashing Harbor Freight tools, however I believe there are times when what they supply is adequate for some tasks. I have been looking to acquire a trim router to do some routing for inlay experiments and I couldn't decide between the Bosch Colt and the Ridgid 2400. Anyway, when I saw the HF router at less than $20, I thought I'd get it and get some hands on experience to help me in my choice deciding between the Bosch and the Ridgid.
Well, I got some experience!!!
Last night I installed a 3/32" round-over bit in my brand new HF trim router. I was careful to tighten the bit well because I've heard stories. I set the depth again being careful to tighten well because I've heard even more stories. I then proceeded to round over the edges on a 2' long piece of 1X3 pine. I finished one side and was beginning on the second side when the router started vibrating excessively. So much so that I had a hard time hanging on to it. I was able to shut it off and then saw that the router had twisted in the base housing, shearing off teeth in the height adjustment knob and scaring up the body in several places. Then the bit fell out.
The router is really a piece of junk, which, when you think about it, should be no surprise at the $20 price tag. It's going back to HF for a refund. Anyway, if you had the same idea I had about getting this router, I advise strongly against it.
Now I'm back to deciding between the Bosch and the Ridgid, hopefully in time to get a letter off to Santa.
Bill Leonhardt
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I recently purchased the Bosch Colt and love it. It's small and compact but everything is very solid and the thing just "feels right" in every respect. I considered the HF and Ridgid offerings too and am very happy with my decision to go with the Bosch. The quality to price ratio seems extremely good to me and I think it represents excellent value.
Of course, the HF trim router seemed to offer good value but I was concerned that what happened to you might happen to me! Some HF tools do offer good value assuming light usage but there's always a risk they'll turn out to be poor quality and inadequate. Sorry that happened to you. I don't think the Bosch Colt will disappoint.
--
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Glad to hear that; mine is due to be delivered tomorrow.

One does not expect inexpensively priced products to be ruggedly built; one does at least expect them to perform the function for which they are sold (can't even use the word designed in this case). Unfortunately, some things have been "value-engineered" to the point they can't even perform their defined function. At all.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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You'll love it. Now you'll have to decide whether to use it and get it dirty or display it on the mantlepiece in pristine condition ;-)

Amen!
--
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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On Nov 26, 3:23 pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Malcom,
I've heard generally good things about the Bosch, but there were a few people in the Amazon reviews that reported problems (and failure) with the spindle lock and not having room enough to get two wrenches in to loosen the spindle once the lock quits. I'd like to hear your experience.
Thanks, Bill
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On Mon, 26 Nov 2007 16:05:26 -0800 (PST), Bill Leonhardt

Same problem with mine. Aside from that, it's a sweet little machine.
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Chuck Taylor
http://home.hiwaay.net/~taylorc/contact /
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Chuck Taylor wrote:

Just a comment but right now Coastal has a deal where you get one with a 1587 jigsaw for 160 bucks, which looks like a pretty good deal to me if one needs a jigsaw.
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Changing the bit isn't super convenient in terms of access. Maybe it takes a few more seconds than it could or should. However, I haven't found it a problem or even a significant inconvenience.
Obviously, I've not experienced any failure and the assembly doesn't seem fragile or inherently unreliable to me.
I wouldn't worry about it unless you expect to changing bits a *lot* and need to do so rapidly. In that case, it would be prudent to at least look at some other products.
--
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On Mon, 26 Nov 2007 20:23:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

The more I read the phrase "offer[s] good value", especially in the middle of sentences like those, the less I understand what it means.
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Chuck Taylor
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My bad. Crappy English.
Sometimes, HF tools allow you to complete a job at a very low cost. That's good value. Sometimes they break and fall apart before the job is done. That's bad value.
Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Not exactly profound...
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I have a HF 1/2" breaker bar that I recently used with a 3 ft pipe extension to loosen a crankshaft pulley bolt. I was a little worried the bar wouldn't stand the stress of me practically standing on the 3 foot extension - but it held up. So maybe their wrenches and sockets are acceptable.
I never buy any "edge" tools like chisels or drill bits from HF since I figure the metal is low quality. I think I'll add tools that spin at 20,000 rpm to that do not buy list. Sounds like that HF router is unsafe and should be recalled.
Has anyone tried their torque wrenches?
Mitch
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If you're planning on adding a 3ft extension and standing on it, I'm guessing that it's gonna break ;-)
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Now I thought a trim router only used a straight bit and was for trimming off the extra formica that hangs over the edge when you laminate your own countertops. Even a $20 tool should be able to do this. Maybe you were trying to do too much with it and really need to buy a cheap ($50) router?
Respectfully,
James
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I bought the cheapo 1/2" router (at $38, I think) and found that a little work with a slipstone on the collet was enough to get the sucker to clamp. Consider the low-end tools to be a starter kit, be prepared to rebuild 'em before any heavy use, and they ARE bargains.
A friend wanted me to buy the trim router for him, but when I saw it in the store, it screamed "self-destruct" to me, and my friend got my advice to seek elsewhere. He's happy now with his Bosch.
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Bill:
A Trim Router is just that. Small, easy to handle for trimming that 16th inch or so of laminate to clean the edge.
But I agree that those chinese trim routers are trash.
Take it back to HFT and get your $ back. THey have been good about this with me (Don't buy their small right angle drill to drill beyond a 1/4" hole!)
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SNIP orig msg

Dear Hoos,
I have to disagree. If I had tried panel raising bits, your argument would hold. But 3/32" roundover isn't outside what I feel is the capability of a trim router, just, it seems, outside the capability of the HF trim router. In all honesty, the winged part of the bit may have caught the end of the board causing a large resistance to be felt by the router. That shouldn't cause it to distruct, however.
In the Dec 2006 issue of Woodworker's Journal, they present results of testing 8 trim routers (but not the HF or the two Grizzlys). In the tests, the author did 3/8" round-overs and 1/4" deep dadoes in a single pass with a 1/2" bit in maple. That's more than I would have ever tried, but it shows what the author, at least, considers reasonable usage. The Bosch and Ridgid were ranked the best in that article.
BTW, the fist time I turned on the HF router, I was surprised by the jerk-in-the-hand I received because of such a fast ramp up to full speed. It showed me that the soft start feature is important, especially when attempting fine work.
Bill Leonhardt
PS - I've quit worrying about the spindle lock on the Bosch and will ask Santa for one. I just have to decide whether to ask for the kit with all the extra bases or go bare bones.
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