Newcomer looking for router advice

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I am a newcomer to this newsgroup (4 days) and also to woodworking (4 months) although, like most homeowners, I have done numerous carpentry projects over the years.
Apart from new equipment, I have an old Craftsman radial arm saw and a Craftsman Router (model 315.17370) which is about 30 years old.
As a first project I am making a display case which calls for blind dovetail joints on the drawer front. I have a dovetail jig so this should be no problem but my old router does not want to hold the dovetail bit securely. It slips down and scorches the wood half way through the process.
I have asked Sears to overhaul the machine but they say it is far to old for new parts and they would charge me more than it is worth.
I find inserting and tightening the bit very awkward (seems to need three hands in a very small space).
Now my questions.
Is it my lack of skill or may I legitimately blame it on the machine?
Is bit installation easier on more modern machines?
Why do routers use collets instead of chucks like drills?
I am currently leaning towards the Bosch 1617PK or the more powerful 1617EVSPK. Is this a good choice for hand held use?
Best Regards, Jack Fearnley
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On Monday 24 Jan 2005 10:00 pm, Jack Fearnley scribbled:

This is technically known as ARHA (Automatic Random Height Adjustment) to which older Sears routers are prone. Many of us have had that problem. Do a google search.

They couldn't do it anyway because the collet is an integral part of the shaft. They would have to replace the motor. In other routers, you can replace the collet. For a solution see:
http://www.google.ca/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm58577DF.53486851%40your.clothes.home.com

It's the machine.

Yes. (IMNSHO) I have one & like it. I also like my Porter Cable 690. Other swear by DeWalt, Hitachi, Freud, Makita, etc. See Pat Warner's web site for more info and some comparisons:
http://www.patwarner.com /
--
Luigi
Current real email is my first name in lower case while the domain is
  Click to see the full signature.
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Luigi Zanasi wrote:

that I have a common ailment and not something rare and obscure :)
I guess I'll spend the money and get the Bosch. As somebodies sig says; That way you only cry once.
Best Regards, Jack Fearnley
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<snip>

Over _this_ router. There will be others. See the Laminate Trimmer thread.
Patriarch
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On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 23:47:47 -0600, Patriarch

No need to scare him off - one step at a time...
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Ya can't go wrong with the Bosch. Stop fighting with the old Craftsman and treat yourself to a router that can get the job done without all the hassles. Keep the Craftsman for doing lighter duty, less precision tasks, like rounding over corners and such. You'll be glad you did. --dave

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Snoip

Yes this is a good hand held router. I would strongly advise getting the variable speed unit with the plunge and fixed base.
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Ack! Of course you blame the tool!

Bit installation (and stabilization) is prolly easier on non-craftsman and/or newer routers.

Cuz they spin the bits at 23,000 rpm?

I have the PC 690 and the Bosch 1617EVSPK. I think you'll really enjoy the Bosch too.
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Bosch is a good choice. The Porter Cable 690 is also worth considering. Like the Bosch, it is available in a kit with fixed and plunge bases.
A drill chuck is made for variable shaft sizes whereas a collet is for a fixed shaft size. Some routers have a shaft locking device that will permit bit changes more easily than others...and with fewer hands.

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On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 17:00:24 -0500, Jack Fearnley

<http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.woodworking/browse_thread/thread/2ffd6d1d7ac796e8/8059e8ba0150b8e2?q=group:rec.woodworking+insubject:ARHA&_done=%2Fgroups%3Fsafe%3Dimages%26as_ugroup%3Drec.woodworking%26as_usubject%3DARHA%26lr%3D%26hl%3Den%26&_doneTitle ck+to+Search&&d#8059e8ba0150b8e2>
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Jack, not to talk you out of a new router, but are you sure it isn't the dovetail bit? This bit isn't a freebee that came with a harbor freight jig is it?
Kevin in Bakersfield
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Kevin wrote:

What freebie? I never got a freebie dovetail bit with my HF dovetail jig. Did I get screwed? No, don't answer that. :-)
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I guess they really aren't free as you can get the same jig from them for a few dollars less without the bits.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberB821
Kevin in Bakersfield
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Kevin wrote:

The jig is "General International 12" dovetail fixture 40-010". I bought the dovetail bit at Lee Valley so it should be OK.
Jack Fearnley

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Jack Fearnley wrote:

Heh, heh. The Automatic Random Height Adjustment strikes again. Been there, done that. Apparently, that's an option that's been around for quite awhile.

I believe Luigi may have a way to make your Craftsman router useful. Snip

Not too expensive, not too fancy, does a lot of work pretty well. As a (relatively) new WWer, I've found the PC to be (almost) everything I could want in a router. Please, GM crowd, I mean no offense.
-Phil Crow
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I saw a few demos at the last woodworking show, and the Dewalts seemed a lot quieter than my Porter Cables (PC8529, PC7519). After that I kinda wish my routers were yellow (really just quieter). I wonder what the future holds for PC now that they are owned by Black & Decker? Wandering off topic here, but maybe not.
Kevin in Bakersfield
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No offense taken.. ;~) If you want to settle on a ford get the PC.
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Jack, There are several possibilities that would give you this problem. It is possible that you are inserting the bit too far into the collet. Where the router shaft trasitions into the bit, there is often a radius there and the collet will not grasp enough of the shaft. Pull the bit out about 1/8 inch and tighten it down good. Another possibility is that the bit is just dull and it wont handle the bite without dragging out of the collet..It is also possible that the collet is worn or maybe even has a burn glaze on it. You might try cleaning the mating surface if you can. As for why they use a collet instead of a chuck, I do not know for sure, but I think there is more frictional contact between the collet and the shaft. The chuck only contacts the shaft at three line of intersection and it may not give enough grip. The other possibility is that the chucks are more complicated and are much heavier. They would have a tendency to get out of balance much easier at the speeds a router turns. Hope you can remedy the problem and good luck. I have no idea about the Bosch routers though. Sorry.

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The Bosch is a good choice. BTW, it is essentially identical to the Crafstman Professional Router Kit model 009.26620 (router with fixed and plunge bases), which I bought at Christmas. Apparently made for them by Bosch. You might be able to get the Craftsman model a little cheaper, and it comes in a double-wall vacuum formed case too. Sears also sells the Bosch 1617 (fixed base router) and the Porter Cable model 693LRPK (router with fixed & plunge bases).
--Steve
Jack Fearnley wrote:

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Just did a search on Craftsman.com on your router model 315.17370. You can buy a replacement collet for $6.99, but the collet nut is not available.
--Steve
Jack Fearnley wrote:

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