Router and Router Table questions, comments appreciated

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Hi All:
Details: - I am a relatively new woodworker. - I have ~ $700.00 CND (lets say $500 to $600 US) to spend on a router AND a router table (including taxes, shipping). - I dont want to cheap out, and at the same time im not a professional woodworker. My saved here could be put towards other neccessities (router bits, air compressor, beer) - My expected usage for it is medium scale projects - ie my wife wants me to make a built in window seat for our bedroom. My ultimate woodworking goal (get back to me in 10 years) is to build a roll top cabinet.
Ive done a fair bit of research thus far; Here is what I've come up with:
Router: 1) Dewalt DW625 Pro: Lots of power, lots of reccomendations, plunge router. DeWalt quality - have several other tools and am _very_ impressed. Con: Heavy, not easy to use without table. Plunge is redundant if its mounted on table 90% of the time. 2) PC 7539 (Pro/Con - Same as above more or less), except PC is the industry standard so all accessories will fit it (im a sucker for cool accessories).
Table 1) BenchDog ProTop Contractor: http://www.benchdog.com/protopcontractor.htm Pro: Dosent take alot of space, Router is enclosed reducing noise and helping DC Con: I dont get to make my own, laminate top (does this matter) 2) Possibly the Vertias/Lee Valley router table, Pro: Excellent quality, steel top Con: Price is a bit beyond my budget (Canadian price is pushing 500 bucks!), and I think its overkill for essentially casual usage..
(based off of excellent article at http://www.woodnet.net/plansnow/review-routertable.pdf )
So, questions for all of you
1) Do you have any reccomendations? 1.5) Will the Dewalt plunge work fine with a router table? Ive read mixed opinions about this. 2) Is the PC or some other router drastically better than the dewalt given my needs? 3) Can you reccomend another good table that meets my needs (looks nice, router is enclosed, has strong reliable fench, isnt cheap quality). (Note: While I would love to build my own table, I dont really have the time to do that, especially give the material costs would probably equal the cost of a manufactered one) 4) My reasonsing is the same as when I bought my car: get as much HP as I can afford. Rationale being I can still use it for freehand routing, albeit with some discomfort due to weight, as opposed to getting a lower powered router that will just not be able to handle large scale routing (shoudl I decide to do that). 5) This might be a stupid question. I assume changing the height of the bit means fiddling with the router inside/underneath the table. I suspect this will be a pain/tricky. Ive read you can adjust the bit depth from above the table. a) Is this a feature to look for on the _router_ or the _table_? b) How important do you view this feature. 6) Any thing else you can reccomend!!!! :)
Thanks!!!
Note: I've searched back through quite a few posts for what I'm asking. I've also completely read www.patwarner.com (*excellent* site, though my eyes hurt from staring at screen all dat :) ). Im asking the above questions as its tough to find specific details that take into account personal budget considerations, needs, etc.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Do you need the 3HP? Will you be swinging large bits?
I bought a Bosch 1617EVSPK kit, which comes with a 2 1/4 HP motor, and two bases--fixed and plunge. This is available for about $250 CAD.
Bought a sheet of phenolic from Lee Valley and cut out a rectangle big enough to cover the handles of the fixed base. This then replaced the original plastic bottom on the fixed base, and became the insert for the router table.
While I know you said you didn't want to build the router table, I built mine largely out of shop scraps. The only stuff I had to buy was the t-slot extrusions, various extras for the fence, and the levelling feet (shop floor is heaved concrete, nothing is flat).
As for adjusting the bit height, if you don't have a lift the usual method is to lift the router out of the table. The Lee Valley one is a bit different...there you prop up the whole steel table top.
Some routers (PC, for example) have a fitting to adjust height from above the table. I've never used one. The other method is to use a router lift.
Chris
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I'm a junior amateur wood-butcher. :-) Junior in experience, not age!

Are you in the Lower Mainland of BC, perchance? If you are, I've seen several tool stores selling the Freud FT2000 router and router table combo for CDN$499. This is a pretty good deal. The router alone is about CDN$300.
That said, a router table need not be very complex to do darn good work. I built my own, into one of my workbenches. Norm Abrams built one on his show ("The New Yankee Workshop") a while back; you can get a video/DVD plus plans from the show's website (http://www.newyankee.com/getproduct3.cgi?0301 ) Also, watch "The Router Workshop" on PBS & The Knowledge Network to see what you can do with a simple table setup. (Bob Rosendahl of "The Router Workshop" is a former vocational school teacher and this teaching experience comes through on his show.)
BTW, if you are in BC (which does not stand for British Columbia as folks think, it stands for Bring Cash :-) KMS Tools (Danger, Will Robinson! Leave your wallet at home!) has a 2 day special sale each month. On Nov. 18 & 19, they are flogging the King Canada 15 amp 1/2" plunge router, with a 1 year warranty, for CDN$69.95. No, that is not a typo. (http://www.kmstools.com/flyer/files/Nov_p22-24.pdf ) I bought one last year for more than that; it works OK in my home made router table (be sure to take the springs out first). I've used it to make cope & bead raised panel doors with a 3 1/2" panel raising bit. I would not use it as a freehand plunge router, mind you, as the springs are too stiff and stick.
-- Cheers, Rob
--
Cheers,
Rob

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Unless you plan to make raised panels, these are overkill.

No
I bought a Rockler. It is open, but I don't mind that. I always use a shop vac and ear protection. Their fence suits me.

"Freehand routing" No way.

You heard correctly.

Router My PC 895 allows you to set the bit depth from above. And for only $20 the adjuster saves a lot of money.

Convenience. You will note that the boys on The Router Workshop don't adjust the depth from above.

Jim
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The Hitachi M12V (*not* the m12vc) is a very capable 3 1/4 HP router that works well on a router table. I bought the Rockler top and used a reinforced kitchen base cabinet on casters. I like the Rockler top because it's a nice think laminate and has a solid aluminum router plate, which doesn't flex with the relatively heavy router. The Hitachi M12v is around $ 160 mail order from Amazon.
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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hi if one of the woodworking shows is coming to your town soon you can put together a very decent table with an ok fence and legs for about 300.00 dollars. spend the rest on a router either a PC or bosch or Milwaukee.
or take a look at this web site http://www.ptreeusa.com/index.htm
I purchased the table as configured at the show (balitmore)last year and put a PC 890 on it and its worked great.
len
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Give this web site a thorough reading. Very informative for rotor info.
http://www.patwarner.com/
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He has already done that - see his note at the end of the post:
"I've also completely read www.patwarner.com (*excellent* site, though my eyes hurt from staring at screen all dat :) ). "
I do wish you would keep up, stoutman ;-)
Bobby
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lol!
I skim message all the time to, so I can't really find fault.
But I did include the discalimer that I read that site, since when searching through the archives most newb posts got the response "Read this site"
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I, too, skim messages and I dare say stoutman did as well. Nevertheless I could not resist pulling his leg.
;-)
Bobby
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Here is another approach ... I'm quite happy with it.
I chose a Porter-Cable 7518 fixed base router. It has a lower center of gravity than a plunge router. Height adjustment is quite easy ... I use a dial guage so I don't need a fancy micrometer lift.
I made my own router table as an extension of my table saw. This allows me to use the same fence. There are lots of options but why not put the money on the router and make your own table? I used 3/8 inch clear acrylic.
Here are some pictures:
http://www.pbase.com/chaotos/router_table
Get Hylton's book "woodworking with the router" before buying anything ... it will give you lots of ideas.
Wayne

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Wayne wrote:

won't the acrylic sag after a time?
Dave
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Thanks to all for your responses.
"Do you need the 3HP? Will you be swinging large bits? "
Probably not - but then i'd hate to spend $700.00 to find out in a couple years I do need to.
" I'm a junior amateur wood-butcher. :-) Junior in experience, not age!
Are you in the Lower Mainland of BC, perchance? If you are, I've seen several tool stores selling the Freud FT2000 router and router table combo for CDN$499."
Im junior in both :) And yes, that is a good deal. At Home Depot here the freud is $319, while the table is $329.
" "Freehand routing" No way. "
I assume by this you mean I will only be able to use the router on a table, and not without (I might be using "freehand" in the wrong context originally)
" Hitachi M12V (*not* the m12vc) is a very capable 3 1/4 HP router that works well on a router table "
I've heard good things about Hirachi as well. ** Do others feel the same way abotu this router?? **
"Give this web site a thorough reading. Very informative for rotor info. http://www.patwarner.com/ "
See my original post, bottom :)
Thanks for questions/responses all! Very helpfull
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Um... me neither.
They do got pills for this though.
- Matt
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Wayne Wrote: > Here is another approach ... I'm quite happy with it.

> of

> a

> me

> money

> ...

> router

> professional

> wants

> its

> cool

> as

> routing,

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Wayne thanks for the tip on the Bill Hylton router book. I just look on Amazon for it. It is copyright 1993 and out of print, but used copies available for $10. Good news for those that can wait, the completely revised and updated version of the same book will be released in May 2006, $20.
--
joe2


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I would suggest the Triton router. Busy Bee sells them and they may still be on sale. While it is a plunge router, you can remove the spring in 30 seconds for table use. Has above the table bit changes and is easily height adjustable. Cheers, JG
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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For 700 loonies, you can do quite well for yourself. I bought the DeWalt 616 kit a couple of years ago, and am very happy with it. You get the motor, plus a fixed and a plunge base. More than enough power for my needs. I built my own table and fence, and they served me very well, but changed the phenolic insert I was using for the LeeValley steel insert and motor mount. What a brilliant design. About a year ago, I upgraded my fence to the LV fence and sled system when I found that for the amount and type of work I was doing, my trusty homebuilt system just couldn't cut it anymore. My table and tabletop are still doing very well, and I will stick with them. You can shop around for the router, but the insert and fence are going to run you less than 300 clams, and worth every penny.
--
Bob

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I'd check out the Triton router. I replaced my DW625 with this. Advantages:     - Better (not great) dust collection     - You can change bits above the table w/o removing the router     - Trivial to remove/add the plunge springs
Build your own router table. You can do this for about $100 excluding the fence. Single sheet of 3/4" plywood, half sheet of 3/4" MDF for a double-thick top and some laminate. The plans on New Yankee seem pretty popular and I used the table as a model for mine. Didn't buy the plans, just stole ideas from it.
Commercial fence from some place like Incra. This will guarantee very accurate, repeatable cuts.
~Mark.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com Wrote: > Hi All:

> as

> the

> asking.

Ive been researching routers, too, reading lots of reviews, talking to experienced people. I initially liked the Triton router but read it will not accept any aftermarket router guides, you must use the one that comes with it, and a couple reviews have pointed out minor (fixable) problems with the guide. The competing PC is supposed to be a little more beefy with a bearing closer to the work surface making for a more rigid bit mount and less stress on the motor.
Folks with mega router experience told me to pass on the big 3 or 3-1/2 hp routers, instead get a 2 or 2-1/2 hp, unless you will be working with your router frequently, i.e. several times a week. They recommended I take a look at the PC 7518 kit and the Bosch 1617EVS.
The same folks said to pass on a plunge router. I want a router that will work for table mounted and handheld. They said any router will sink the bit in the wood by rocking it, a plunge isnt necessary. Since I have no router experience perhaps some folks here can share some insight/experience on this pointis a plunge necessary?
--
joe2


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joe2 wrote:

I'm a neophyte, but I own the 1617EVS kit, with fixed and plunge bases. The plunge does come in handy for going straight down and for plunging to a preset final depth in smaller increments. The plunge action is very smooth on this router.
The fixed base has handles which are very close to the workpiece, giving excellent control. However, it does feel slightly top-heavy because of this.
Chris
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