Plunge router review and opinions needed

Hi folks, I'm looking to buy a more powerful plunge router and I'm looking for opinions or any pointers to recent good magazine reviews. I have a job coming up that I will be making many many pieces out of 3/4 birch ply by using a pattern and a template routing bit. I just don't think my small Ryobi is up to the job. Now I know that this can easily turn into a flame war, like Ford vs. Chevy or IBM vs. Mac, etc but I am still looking for opinions. Of course I'd like a good deal but I'd rather save up and buy quality then skimp on price and then have to go out and buy the good one later on anyway. Here's the features I want: Plunge router > 1HP Do I need 3HP? variable speed/soft starting 1/2 collet but able to take 1/4 shank bits with an adapter or different collet (I have a bunch of 1/4 shank bits already). I prefer the oblong bases with parallel edges vs. a true circular base. Accurate and smooth plunge action. A kit deal would be good. i.e with a case/edge guide included So what brand? Makita, Dewalt, Bosch, Milwaukee, Others? Would you buy it (say from Amazon) without holding one or getting the feel of it? Thanks Brian
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How about the Triton. I had a PC and a Bosch. But I'd buy another Triton in a hot minute. It's great in the table.
Cheers JOHN
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I have the Dewalt 625, and it's great. Starts so soft that I have plugged it in with the switch on, and it didn't even tip over. Personally I wouldn't take another Makita tool as a gift (and I mean that literally). I used to like them, but I have thrown away my last two purchases, they blew apart within a year, and were more expensive to repair than it was worth. You don't need 3HP, any of the good brand 1.5HP ones are enough. The only other plunge that I have used is the 3HP porter cable, and it was nice, but I would rather have the dewalt.
Craig

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On 16 May 2004 18:05:53 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bestweb.net (Brian S) wrote:

what I have, and thus can recommend:
freud, for the big bits. this router is big, solid and reliable. it's not the most sophisticated machine out there but it's a real workhorse.
PC690, for midsize stuff. this is a good all around machine. no regrets.
this is in no way a condemnation of other routers. there are lots of good ones out there. pat warner's website would be a good place to do more in depth research.
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On 16 May 2004 18:05:53 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bestweb.net (Brian S) wrote:

Contrary to popular advice, I bought a Chiwanese Cheapie for a couple of years, it let me make a few mistakes, get familiar with routers, and do some useful routing. I then looked around a lot, tried out some friend's ones, read a lot of reviews, then bought the Triton. It's well worth a look, and has some very neat features. The cheapie is still retained for some rougher jobs, and it's very small and light.
Usual disclaimer BS. No connection with Triton, etc, etc. My opinion is worth what you paid for it. No geeks were harmed by the preparation or transmission of this email.
Barry Lennox
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Brian,

You probably don't need a 3 HP for doing template work. In fact, I use my PC 690 exclusively for template work.

Making/Buying a large offset base makes template work so much easier. It just keeps you from letting that router dip. This would tend to negate the shape of the router's base.

I own 2 PC 690's and a Triton. I used to have a Ryobi someone gave me and I tried it once for kicks. That was the last time I used it.
I like my PC 690's and have run them through the ringer. It was my first router and I definitely stretched it beyond its limits (rasied panels, large ogees and profiles, etc.) I was just working on a project this past January when it started making a funny whinning noise and I knew right away I needed to get it serviced. That was after 5 years of heavy use. Sent it for service and bought a new 690 motor. Now I have 2, 1 for the plunge, 1 for the fixed base. The one negative I can say is that recently my plunge base sticks a little and needed some attention, mostly stemming from the spring tension in the handle.
I love my Triton (DAGS Woodchuck34 Triton) and I can tell you they're customer service is unbelievable. I get the impression that they are really trying to build the same name recognition in North America that they have in the rest of the world (did you notice all the positive remarks that come in from people overseas).
I hate when people give recommend a router they have never used, which is why I always try to state which ones I've owned. If you are looking at a particular model and don't get the advise you need here, I would recommend going to Pat Warner's ( www.patwarner.com )site and doing a little research. If you can't find any info there, look at his magazine section ( http://www.patwarner.com/warner_magazine.html ) and buy the review of the one you want. He will give you more detail about a router than you probably even want to know.
If you have any questions about the PC or Triton, feel free to drop me a line.
Hope that helps,
Chuck
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I'd recommend the DeWalt DW621. For inside routing, the vacuum attachment not only clears the chips, but also helps cool the bit. It's got the oblong base you want, with the parallel sides, plus an excellent plunge stroke. It accepts PC template bushings, has soft start/electronic speed control, both collets, and one of the better depth guides.
Some don't like the plunge lock/release mechanism, or the power switch lock, but they become second nature, after a few minutes using the tool.
It's my favorite router, and I have four. I'd buy another, without hesitation, if I needed one.
Kevin
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snip

DW621 is 2 1/4 hp, relatively quiet and relatively light (relative to PC)

DW621 has both

DW621 comes with both 1/2" and 1/4" collets

DW621 has round ends - with different distances from center of bit and two parallel straight sides - each a different distance from the center of the bit.
The advantage of a straight side against a fence is that the distance to the center of the bit stays constant whereas with a "round base" the base has to be perfectly round and perfectly centered to keep the distance to the center of the bit constant. Turn the base even just a little and your cut wanders off its line.

Most manufacturers edge guides are so-so. If you want precision look into getting the Micro-Fence - a nice precision fence system.
Another nice thing about the DW621 is that you only need one wrench to change bits rather than two as required for the PC and similar routers.
Having the plunge lock on one handle and the on/off trigger on the other, the latter requiring pushing a button down and then squeezing the "trigger" , means a) you keep both hands on the handles b) you cant accidentally turn on the unit as you pick it up by the "trigger" handle.
The fine adjust on the bit height/depth of cut is nice and easy to use
The plunge return spring is easy to remove if you want to use the DW621 in a router table
I've got two DW621s - one in the router table and one for hand held use. I went with the DW621 BEFORE reading Pat Warner's preference for it.

I want to play with a power tool before buying it. I mail order from Lee Valley, Rockler, Hartville and Garrett Wade, but Amazon? - Nope. And I don't mail order power tools - just hand tools.
charlie b
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