Routers on Ebay - New X-brand or Used Name Brand?

I've read some posts that recommend a newbie to woodworking start out with a router purchased off of ebay.
If one chooses to go this route rather than buying a $200+ Porter Cable, is the suggestion to buy a new "El Cheapo" brand or to buy a used, name brand router? Also, for a first-timer taking this advice, what's a good target price for a router purchased through ebay? Thanks for your input. Squank
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I guess the answer to this question will have to be based on your goals as a woodworker. If you just plan to be an occasional weekend hobbiest, you could get by with an Ebay "El Cheapo" router. If your goals are to one day evolve into more of a skilled craftsman, you will need a good machine eventually, and, as you know, they can get pricey. IMHO a good all around "starter" router would be a PC 690 like this one: (Amazon.com product link shortened)06691050/sr=8-2/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl60/002-4628604-3036850?v=glance&s=hi&nP7846 For $125, it's a good brand name mid-grade unit. (Home Depot recently had these on sale for $99) If your an occasional hobbiest, it will adequately serve you needs. If your goal is to become a dedicated woodworker, it will also serve you well until you realise the need for a more expensive, professional router (I prefer the Bosch 1617EVS) Then the 690 will become your secondary router. (Most of us dedicated woodworkers have more than one router anyway, so it's not a waste of money to start with a mid grade unit). The "right" decision here all depends on your level of dedication to woodworking. Hope this helps! --dave

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No one else has said it, so I will. :-)
Wise old woodworker said, "Buy a good tool and cry when you buy it, buy a cheap tool and you will cry every time you use it". I've found that to be true.
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My first router was a Ryobi plunge router for around 70 bucks. I really liked it, but eventually the plunge mechanism stopped locking and the router would drift up or down when making a cut. I was using the thing in a router table and believe the dust collecting in it was part of the problem. I tried to fix it myself -like a dope- and now the thing sits in parts in its case. I've since purchased the Hitachi mv-12 and I'm not as thrilled with it as many others seem to be. It's heavy and the plunge mechanism is very sticky. I read an excellent review on the latest Ryobi, a plunge router for around $100. If you're looking for a machine that in theory will have plenty of power and good features at a good price you might want to look into that one.
Squanklin wrote:

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All the advice on buying a Porter-Cable 690 is on the money. Don't second-guess it or short yourself with something you will regret everytime you force yourself to use it. Go buy the P-C now and you will never need to look back ...
Squanklin wrote:

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Squanklin asked:

I recommend staying as far away form El Cheapo brands as possible. It's very discouraging to start out using a badly designed tool. For instance, I went cheap on a jointer. The outfeed table won't stay put, the adjustment mechanisms are inaccurate and require wrenches and a screwdriver to adjust (instead of levers or handcranks as on higher quality tools). The fence is also a Herculean Task to adjust and doesn't stay adjusted for long. Better tools are generally easier tools. I'm sure a novice woodworker would be immediately frustrated with some lower quality tools. Buying a better jointer would have saved me money on ibuprofen alone, not to mention the wrecked pieces of wood.
First, arm yourself with knowledge: Go to the local BORG (Home Depot, Lowes), or other store in your area and pick their brains (should they have any). Consider a couple of things:
1. Motor size: 1 3/4HP is fairly common and you can get a lot done with it. Two drawbacks: 1) Usually only accept 1/4 shank bits. 2) Need multiple passes and may have to go slower when using big bits. There are larger, i.e. 3HP, but a price tag comes with those.
2. Depth adjustments: Many times when plunging into an item you need to do it in steps. Some routers come prepared for that and have multiple adjustable stops. Cheaper models you may have only one depth setting at a time and have to reset it for each pass. Still, not a big deal if the adjustment system is user friendly.
As another poster mentioned, most woodworkers end up with multiple routers so a decent mid-grade model won't be a waist of money.
Happy Woodworking! Tony
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FYI
Amazon and a few other retailers are having a special on the Porter Cable 694 VK.
You get a nice variable speed router with a fixed base, plunge base and case. Plus you get a mail-in rebate for a D-handle base all for $199.
However, Amazon is also offering $25.00 off on a tool purchase of $199 or more so you get the whole shebang for $174. No tax or shipping either
Not a bad deal and so much better than the el-cheapo on e-bay.
For the record, this deal is better than anything you can find on e-bay right now.
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Routers will spin that bit at 22,000 RPM. Just how cheap do you want to go?
Be smart. Buy PC, DeWalt, Bosch, etc.
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I get catalogs from MLCS. They specialize in router bits etc. They're selling a 3hp plunge router <$180. Maybe something worth considering. Joe
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Thanks, Joe. $180 is not something I can consider right now. That would be the router I purchase once I know I will need fine quality. Thanks for everyone's continued thoughts.
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Hello,
I have been there done that, so I think that I can give you a good advice.
I first bought 2 cheapy out of ebay (real cheapy!!!). I mounted one as a table router and used the other as a plunge router. I have now purchased a Porter Cable 694 VK (I beleive), which is a variable speed soft start plunge/fixed router.
Why did I go and spend $200 to buy 1 new router while I had 2 routers already?
1) the cheapy ones are not turning realy round. This is a HUGHE issue at 22000rpm. 1) it means that the cut quality will be shity 2) it makes the router hard to handle (danger) 3) when using big bits, such as a pannel raiser bit, it is hell DANGEROUS! 2) the setting mechanism will not lock, is hard to handle and tune, the gages and side rails are not fixed properly causing extra hardship and danger while you are trying to do something which is already hard and dangerous. 3) because of the above problems, if you want to do an OK job, you will HAVE to buy good quality bits, and at $20 a pop, you only need 10 of them to make up for the price of the Porter Cable. In addition, your bits will not last as long. I bought 6 bits before I gave up and bought the PC.
Why I am so happy to have moved over? 1) the PC makes routing so much easier, safer, makes better cuts 2) I can use lower quality bits and it is not a problem. I purchased a set of 50 1/2 shank bit on ebay for $30 and can do a better job with them and the PC that I could with my cheapy router and a $20 bit. I still go and buy good quality bits everyonce in a while when I want to do a perfect job on something, but this is rare now... 3) it feels so much safer! especially with the variable speed when I use the big bits! 4) the quality of my work as increased 5 fold over! and I work faster. it is so much easier to ajust the depth and position!
What shoud you do then? If you are using a router on a regular basis (one project every 2 months or more) or are looking at doing good work, I would say pay the price and get the good router. If you are using a router on a once in a while, for small project and are not planning to use large bits, go the cheap route...
If you decide to go the cheap route, I have 2 routers that are up for sale :-) $15+ shipping!
have fun, cyrille

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