Porter Cable 895PK-Reported Quality Problems Making for a Tough Decision

I'm in the market for a router to compliment my PC 690 handheld & plunge base. I want something to mount in a router table and the 895 looks (on paper) like it makes sense. (This would be my first table mounted router.)
I was all set to order a Porter Cable 895PK on Amazon until I started researching posts here. From what I can tell by reading as many posts as I could is that it appears that PC has cut some corners with this line. That's sad, because when I think of Porter Cable the first thing I think of is a "quality" product. The mixed results I'm reading scares me. When I first got my 690, my first impression was that it was "solid." Almost 10 years later, I can say that it has held up to it's reputation. (I'm an occasional woodworker, so that may not be saying much.) Somehow, it doesn't look like that would be the case here.
[Q] Am I being over-cautious here, or should I just get this thing? The router table I built is in my table saw extension, so I don't know how important the top adjustment is, but it sure sounds nice.
Thanks in advance.
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Only you will know if this router is the right one for you. Why not order one from Amazon and try it out? If you don't like it, return it and you'll only be out the return shipping ($10). Or find a store that carries them and have a look for yourself.

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I have pasted , below, the PC response to each of my comments about the 895PK router package. Hope it posts OK. I have been using the router for a while now both in a table and plunging and am have decided that it was, indeed, a good choice. It has been able to do anything I asked of it quietly and effectively. PC immediately sent me a new 1/4" collet to replace my defective one. Also, I adjusted very quickly to the location of the controls when the router is mounted in a table. They have also made some changes regarding the labels and the frosted plastic on the depth indicator. Hope this helps with your decision.
1.. Plunge base - Every scale or piece of writing on the machine is a stuck on label and all are peeling off. We did experience some issues with labels peeling during the first couple of production days. We took corrective action by specifying a new adhesive. 2.. The bases appear to be a cheap cast aluminum material, but I suppose this helps in the weight category. The fixed bases are made of magnesium and the plunge base is made of aluminum. They should remain structurally sound and lightweight. The finish may differ slightly between the two bases due to the different metals. 3.. The height indicator is some sort of frosted plastic that makes it impossible to see the stuck-on-but-peeling-off scale behind it. We made able to improve the clarity of the plastic and implemented a running change in production. 4.. The speed dial is not knurled...it has a tiny little shallow line about every 1/8" which makes it hard for cold dusty fingers to turn. I have noted the comment but have not made a change at this time. We are using the same dial on many of the Porter-cable tools. 5.. The thumb switch is covered and unusable in the plunge base. We chose to include the patented thumb-rotating stop turret instead of opening the base casting (like the fixed base). We felt that the switch access at the top of the tool was appropriate for the plunge base considering the bit is retracted out of the work piece prior to engaging the switch. Unfortunately, we were not able to accommodate the opening in addition to the turret. 6.. At any rate it is a plastic linkage that I don't expect to last long. We performed extensive life testing on the switch prior to production. We expect long life out of the switch. In fact, the switch itself is completely sealed from dust contamination behind the plastic linkage. 7.. The sub-base that comes with the plunge base has the small bit hole which the collet cannot pass thru so the arbor locking ramp is useless on that base and I don't have the strength in my left hand (arthritis) to hold the lock button in. We designed the auto spindle lock system to make bit changing easier. The plunge base is only included with combo kits (fixed and plunge bases). We chose to include a large opening sub-base (attached to fixed base) for larger bits and a small opening sub-base (attached to plunge base) for accepting templet guides. The bases are fully interchangeable. In fact many of our customers will remove the sub-base and mount the fixed base in a router table due to the unique above-the-table lifting system. They then insert the large opening sub-base on the plunge base. Other customers will lower a larger bit through the sub-base to create a larger opening. Lastly we provide accessory sub-bases with large openings 8.. On the columns, the side next to the lock has what appears to be a brass bushing (right term?) while the one on the other column is plastic. How is that going to wear? I haven't disassembled it to look inside. We have been using this system on other routers for many years with great success. The router should plunge smoothly and accurately for many years. 9.. The locking lever is plastic and I feel like I am going to break it every time I lock the base. Again, I am going to trust our extensive life testing to assure you the lever should not break. It is warranted for one year and should last you far longer. 10.. The "O" ring under the knob on the height adjuster was dry rotted, broken and hanging out (easily replaced though) I am disappointed to hear that you experienced this problem and glad you were able to correct it. We will check our inventory to see if this problem exists on any other height adjusters. 11.. Haven't been able to find any sort of dust connection that will fit...so I don't have a clue if that works or not. I know without a vacuum attached, sawdust seems to build up between the clear vacuum plate and the sub-base. We have an attachment (model# 8911) that replaces one of the fixed base handles and allow for dust collection through the top of newly attached GripVac handle. It is very effective and will eliminate the problem you are describing. The plunge base comes with a dust extraction port where a vacuum can be attached at any time.
Fixed Base:
1.. As said before 1/4" collet was defective, but PC is sending me a replacement. I expect the new collet will operate properly as we seldom have this issue arise. The collet system on the 890 router series is identical to the collet system on the 690 router series. 2.. The location of the controls and levers make it impossible to hang the router from a table, have the switch and speed dial where you can reach them and use the thru the table adjustment holes...the holes fall right under the fence. I guess I will have to cut a chunk out of my fence. It is recommended that you mount the router in a table with the switch and speed dial facing the rear of the table and the holes for the height adjustment handle in front of the fence. The switch was designed to protrude above the router cap for easy on/off access by feel (not sight) when mounted to the rear. The speed control is also accessible by feel. I understand that the locations are not ideal for your preferences and unfortunately do not have an alternative. 3.. The arbor lock requires some annoying fiddling nearly every time to get it to lock solidly enough to do a one wrench bit change. The pin just is not quite long enough. I guess I am going to have to get a second wrench. The auto-locking of the arbor lock should get easier with wear. However, we do allow for both a two wrench bit change and a single wrench change with a finger engaging the spindle. I find the auto-locking system to be the easiest for bit changing. 4.. The sub-base for the fixed base is not phenolic or acrylic, but a thin clear plastic with radial ribs and concentric ribs for strength. The cavities between these ribs are great sawdust catchers. The opening for the bit is very large at 2-1/2". The small area around the opening will collect dust when the GripVac attachment is not being used.
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Thanks, this really helps a lot. I'm glad to see that PC took the time to respond to each of your comments. I may just get it and if I'm unhappy, just return it as others have suggested. It sounds like it does what it's supposed to do.
I love this newsgroup!

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It appears that on point 6 of your plunge section, the P-C fellow did not answer your question about longevity of the plastic link, but instead answered an unasked question about longevity of the power switch. Honest mistake, I guess, still would be nice to have an answer to the real question.
- GRL

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Pasquale wrote:

Yes you're being overcautious. Buy it, return it if you find quality problems. I have yet to find a quality problem on mine.
--
gabriel

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