Newbie router question

I'm just getting started in woodworking and want to add a router to my circular, jigsaw, drill etc. Given how important a router is I want to get one that won't let me down as I progress.
I almost just went out and bought one until I found out that cheaper isn't necessarily something that you can live with. Example... there was a Craftsman w/ 2hp and a sep. plunge base for $99.00 making it seem like
the deal of the century until you got a grasp of how "fat" and ungainly it was. What's more the viewing of the bit was opstructed and it became clear that this would NOT be a router I could live with. I'm new at this but it was obvious after just a couple of minutes with this unit that down the road I'd be wishing I hadn't bought it.
After doing as much research as I can I'm really leaning toward the Porter-Cable 892. Not only can this router be either fixed or plunge based , but it can go over or under the table. A bit more than the Craftsman , DeWalt, and Milwaukee I looked at but it just seems that this might be the one I can grow with.
Anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks
Strike
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I too am looking into purchasing a router Budget is under 100 bucks. I would like a Craftsman (I like Crapsman,OK) anywho, I want to be able to use it to do lettering as well as have it fixed to a table that I will build. Which ones will do what I want?
Rich
I hope we both can get good answers within this thread.
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Rich wrote:

If that is all you budget has, the Craftsman router is not a total waste, but not as good as the PC, DeWalt, Bosch, and a few others. I had one and used it for about two years before I gave it away upgraded.
I've not done any lettering, but I think a plunge router is best for that but I'm sure others will be more specific. My first foray into routing was a Craftsman router with table that was selling for $129. It worked, but the quality if nowhere near what the better brands and better tables can do. I don't regret it and now have about $1000 into a router, table, fence, lift, etc. as well as a plunge router.
What do you get for the extra money? Accuracy, ease of use. The table was limited as the fence could only be set back a couple of inches from the bit. I did something this afternoon that required a 6" setback. The miter gauge in the C'man table was so sloppy is was useless. The lift makes micro adjustments easy and bit changing much faster. All that is nice, b ut not worht going heavily into debt for. Rather tha wait ten years for it, get the C'man now and start cutting. If you can swing it, get one of the other brands and you will not regret it. -- Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Rich wrote:

You remind me of the guy who was hitting himself in the head with a hammer.
When he was asked why he hit himself in the head with a hammer, he responded, ".. because it feels so good when I stop."
I still have a couple of Craftsman routers and over the years have destroyed a few more.
I don't and won't use them any more, they simply are of limited quality and my units are at least 20 years old.
When you are using that $100 Craftsman router and the bit slips because of the poor router construction clamps and/or locks, destroying an expensive piece of material, might want to ask yourself how much you saved.
My advice is to save or borrow another $100, spend $200 and get one of the quality combo kits that includes a plunge base.
I bought the P-C unit and have not regretted it.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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wrote:

table for $125.00. You can add a plunge base later.
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On Sun, 22 Feb 2004 14:21:34 -0500, striker
I have an article on your first/next router purchase on my website.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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I bit the bullet last year and bought the Porter Cable "suitcase" with both the fix base and plunge and have never regretted it. Solid as a rock.

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you are on the right track. I was given a Sears router years ago for an X-mas gift. Tried it out and found I couldn't see what was going on at the business end, just like you. Got a refund; got a Porter Cable. Been happy with my 2 Porter Cable routers. The sears routers tend to have a unique feature known as ARHA, or Automatic Random Height Adjustment. That's a feature I'd just as soon skip. :)
dave
striker wrote:

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I have a feeling you have enough votes against Craftsmen. The PorterCable 890 series is beautiful...and true to PC builidng and designing standards. Beth reviews it herre: http://www.woodshopdemos.com/nprod-11.htm
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striker wrote:

My first router was a Craftsman. It did the job. I still have it and use it. The limitation (for me) was the 1/4" shank limitation...other than that it worked well for me. Of course, nobody is going to argue against the PC or any of the other 'better' brands. I've graduated to a Triton.
As most woodworkers will tell you, you're going to end up with multiple routers. I've dedicated my old Craftsman to a horizontal mortising setup...which can be seen at the bottom:
http://christophermerrill.net/ww/shop/SimpleRouterTable.html
The FIRST thing you should do after buying a routers is buy "The Router Joinery Workshop" book (Carol Reed). I wish somebody had given me a copy when I got my first router. The SECOND thing will be to build a table - I highly recommend the design suggested by Ms Reed as a first table (also shown in the above URL). It is not fancy, but does the job quite well.
BTW, you can get a refub Milwaukee Body-grip on eBay for $120. Not a bad deal for a very solid router.
C
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Chris Merrill
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If price is an issue, consider the PC 690 instead of the 892. It's been around forever, has almost as much power and is barely more than the craftsman - about $140 at Amazon IIRC.
Michael
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