Importance of variable speed

<de-lurk> OK, so SWMBO went and bought me the DeWALT DW616PK router kit for my birtday.
Here's me dilemma: I'm very thankfull for the gift (duh!) and certainly don't want to do anything to discourage future gifts of this sort. OTOH, I'm concerned that the 616 might be pretty limited, given that it's a single speed unit.
My research on the net has resulted in much confusion; many sites (and my router manual) recommend less than my router's rated speed (24,500 RPM) for what sound to me likt reasonably normal size bits. For example, the DeWALT manual recommends 12,000 or less for bits over 1 1/8" in hardwood, 18,000 for bits over 1/2". A Jesada white paper isn't nearly as drakonian, but still recommends stepping back to 18,000 at 1 1/4".
So, is all this information lawyer driven or accurate?
If it's accurate, I guess I'll have to make the hard decision to either return this kit and wait the 1 - 2 weeks that the 618 seems to be back ordered everywhere (thus taking the risk that SWMBO will not continue to buy me tools for gifts and delaying my ability to start using a router) or buy a decent speed control (which will make up the price difference between the 616 and 618, but won't make up the power difference, though it will give me a speed control I can use for other things).
If I can run 1 1/8" - 1 3/8" bits in this thing w/o safety issues (for either myself or my wood), then I would rather keep it and perhaps get a bigger router for dedicated table use later (when/if I can justify it).
Any thoughts? </de-lurk> - Greg
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"Greg" writes:

Routers that deliver 20,000 RPM and up do well for small bits.
Basic fact of woodworking.
Like clamps, you can never have too many routers.
Sooner or later, you will get a large, multispeed, table mounted router, capable of handling large diameter bits at speeds as low as 8,000 RPM.
HTH
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Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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So I've read. The issue is, what are "small bits"? I've read differing claims from sites saying to make the first speed step down when the bit gets bigger than 1/2", to sites saying not to worry about it until 2".

Yeah, it seems like the same is true of most classes of ww tool - clamps, routers, hand planes, hand saws, power saws, chisels ... why can't I ever get interested in an *inexpensive* hobby? <grin>

That was my thinking when I was deciding what router to get first. However, about a week ago we got other news that has adjusted my budget priorities: it seems we're going to have a little one eight months or so from now. So the chances of my being able to shell out another $200 or $300 for another router in the next year are slim to none. Maybe in a couple years.
I was thinking that I could get by with the 618 a lot longer than the 616, given it is rated 1A higher and has variable speed. It might even do as my only router for years, assuming I can get by w/o using horizontal panel raising bits.
OTOH, right now all I need it for is some very light edge work (wood outlet plates for the kichen -- SWMBO likely bought the router for me for that reason alone ;-) and flush trimming and mortise and half-lap work. The 616 can do all of that fine, I suppose.

Some, yes, thank you! I'm giving myself a day or so to decide, and if I can't decide by then, I'm keeping the 616. That whole "fish or cut bait" thing. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Gj --
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"Greg writes:

Most bits list the max RPM on the package. One (1) inch is about max for "small" classification.

SFWIW, you will get the biggest bang for the buck by getting a Porter-Cable or equal kit that has a standard and a plunge body.
They are still out there for $200.00 net.
HTH
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Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Thanks for your input.

I wasn't very clear ... I got the DW616PK, the 1 3/4 H.P., single-speed, fixed and plunge kit from DeWALT. The "618" I'm refering to is the 2 1/4 H.P., variable-speed version of the kit. Goes for about $235 (if I can find it in stock somewhere).

Yeah, that's about what the DW616PK went for.
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Greg wrote: Group: rec.woodworking Date: Mon, Jul 14, 2003, 12:30pm (EDT-3) From: snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Greg) <de-lurk> OK, so SWMBO went and bought me the DeWALT DW616PK router kit for my birtday. Here's me dilemma: I'm very thankfull for the gift (duh!) and certainly don't want to do anything to discourage future gifts of this sort. OTOH, I'm concerned that the 616 might be pretty limited, given that it's a single speed unit. <snip> ****************************************************** You can always buy an external variable speed control unit. It's housed in a small box with a plug and cord, a receptacle and a speed adjustment knob. It will work with any universal motor like those in routers, electric drills, etc. They are inexpensive. Peace ~ Sir Edgar.
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Damn right she did good. And I have thanked her. Your points are well taken. I just want to "optimize" the situation; perhaps it's a character flaw of mine, but I tend to try to come up with the optimal solution to a situation, given the circumstances.
Regardless, thanks for your input.
Gj --
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