Routers for a beginner...

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Everyone was so helpful yesterday with my question about jig saws - thanks! I thought I'd ask again about help with routers. With Lowe's 20% off sale, I wonder if I might pick one up, but not really knowing all the ways I will (and can, honestly) use it, I wonder if I can get by for now with a moderately priced one. When I know better what I want and need, then I would go for the pricier models. If this is a good plan, what should I look for in a mid-level router? Thanks for any helpful feedback! Squanklin
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The character & mechanics of the DW 618 at the http://www.patwarner.com/dw618pk.html should provide some general guidelines.
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I got over buying moderately priced 'starters' years ago when I realized I was building two collections of tools. Good stuff that I used daily because it was reliable and easy to use, and stuff that sat on the back of the shelf because I didn't want to screw with them any more. The bad part was I paid a fair amount of money for the lesser quality stuff.
If you are not sure what you are going to do with a router, it might be best to wait. Otherwise take a look at the middle-range Bosch, Porter Cable, Deltas, etc. From my experience of a year ago (helping my daughter select a router for her husband) low end routers can cause a world of frustration. I won't mention brand names but one of them starts with "R" - worst depth lock I had ever seen.
If you decide to buy, don't overlook the cost of accessories you will need right away, least of all bits. Contrary to above, this is an area where you do not need to start with top-of-line hardware. Bits are cheaper in sets and sets of 10 - 20 decent bits will run $60 - $100, on sale. These are not the worlds finest, but will provide a lot of use and cut variety when you get you machine.
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Depends on your age and experience.. I but a lot of mid-range tools, and try to make my learning mistakes with them.. then, I give them to the kids as I replace them with the type and brand that I'll keep..
My first router was a great example of how to learn.. someone loaned my an old router that needed cleaning and brushes.. after learning on that, I really appreciated my new one.. I also had a pretty good idea of how to use it and what NOT to use it for..
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RonB wrote:

Yes. Stay away from Ryobi or Crapsman. I'm on record as being one of those people who isn't part of the Crapsman Defamation Society, but Crapsman routahs, with their patented Depth Randomizer, and Carbide Ejection System are best left off your shopping list. I think Ryobi actually makes those.
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Whoever makes them they're made to Sears specs.
On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 19:49:17 -0500, Silvan

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Otherwise take a look at the middle-range Bosch, Porter Cable,

OOPS.....Don't spend much time looking for Deltas. I meant Dewalt. It's hard to tell those yellow tools from others.
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wrote:

Yes. I don't much like this idea, but it works for routers.
"Serious" routers are 1/2" collet and mainly used in tables. A "moderately priced" 1/4" router is very cheap these days, and it will still be useful for the lightweight non-table work even after/if you've bought a bigger one.
--
Smert' spamionam

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wrote:

I have an article on my website regarding your first/next router purchase.
Home Depot is currently carrying the Porter-Cable 690 for $100. This is a straight handle, 1 (or so) hp router that will acommodate 85% of your routing needs for a long, long time. Even after you eventually get a bigger router and a plunger (and you will) the 690 will still be the one you turn to for a number of jobs. It can be seen in professional shops all over the places. You will not wear it out.
Despite all the developments in router technology for the last 40 years, the self ejecting collet on the 690 is still the best (comes with both " and "), And it already has the two wrench upgrade.
You may be able to get Lowes to price match, as the HD price is not a closeout. I bought two of them a month apart.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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Soft-start. If you're not used to using a router, the jerk when a router without soft-start spins up is very disconcerting (and the router's likely to go where you didn't intend it). This is the number one feature I think you should look for.
Beyond that, a plunge router is more versatile than a non-plunge one, but a non-plunge router can be easier to control...many people like to spend the extra for a dual-base model.
Whatever router bits you get, get in 1/2" shank sizes.
You might consider using your new router to build a router table, which is about the only useful accessory you need with a router. A mid-power router will work in the table for starters, if you find yourself using it a lot you can get a dedicated 3hp monster later.
I've never found a use for the assorted "accessories" that come with some routers...a straight plank clamped to the work as a fence works better than an "edge guide", etc.
John
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I've read some good things about the new Hitachi m12vc, Fixed base, soft start, varible speed, 2 1/4 hp router. Amazon has it for $103. The local Lowe's has the PC 690 for $80 and the M12vc for $112.
Renowood
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John McCoy wrote:

Everybody's saying 'get 1/2" shank bits'. Remember, the guy's a newbie, he can't be expected to have any perspective and the way the issue has been presented he might get the idea that he should never, ever get a 1/4" shank bit for any purpose, which, since there are a number of useful bits that don't _come_ in 1/2", is going to cause him no end of heartburn.
I think a caveat is in order there--any bit you buy that has a cutting diameter of 1/2" or more get with a 1/2" shank. There's not much point in getting a bit with a 1/8" cutting diameter and a 1/2" shank, even if you could find one, and there are some cases such as keyhole cutters where smaller shank diameter is pretty much necessary to function.
So, use 1/2" shank bits where the extra metal clearly adds strength to the bit, but don't be afraid to use 1/4" where a 1/2" just has a little tiny cutter sticking out of a huge chunk of metal.

Yup.
Really depends on what you do. But usually the accessories that come with it are rather flimsy.

--
--John
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Yeah, the implication there was "don't assign much value to any accessories provided with the router, because you're not likely to find too much use for them". In other words, base your buying decision on just the router itself.
John
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Look at the Porter Cable combo kits....
http://www.porter-cable.com/index.asp?eT7&pH56
or the classic:
http://www.porter-cable.com/index.asp?eT7&p (16
With a 20% off sale, you can NOT go wrong. These routers will be with your family for the estate sale.
Squanklin wrote:

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At my local SAM's Clu, the Porter Cable 690 series combo kit (with fixed base & plunge base) is priced out at $165 (with case). Is that "high priced"? (To me, it's a steal of a deal!)
Also, those newish Craftsman Professional routers (with the red wooden handles) are rebranded Bosch routers. There are some danged good sales going on just about every week (and especially weekends) at Sears.
Either the PC at Sams's Club or the rebranded Bosch at Sears are great buys on top shelf machines.
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wrote:

I seem to recall searz had them spec'd down though. cheaper components.

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From what I have read and been told (and even seen first hand) the Craftsman/Bosch is a it of an over-spec'ed upgrade over the Bosch-randed version.
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wrote:

If you are just starting out consider a combo kit such as Porter Cable 693LRPK. The kit contains a motor and two bases (one fixed and one plunge). You can buy a separate "D" handle for this model if you wish. This router (kit) is probably better for the occasional user and will run you about $200 retail. There are smaller (trim) routers and heavy-duty specialty routers you may want to add to your collection later. Save some money to buy a few Whiteside 1/2" shank router bits.
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wrote:

you can get a porter cable 690 single speed router right now for $99. a great deal. a great router.
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On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 12:28:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@all.costs wrote:

That really is a sweet deal on a fine tool.
I paid $89 for a remanufactured single speed Bosch 1617 about a year ago.
Barry
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