Router recommendation (specific uses)

Hi,
Been look at Google for old threads on routers - but I have some specific jobs in mind so haven't found a definative answer yet...
I've always wanted one - now I have an excuse, being:
Kitchen worktops and morticing for door locks.
All the Axminster jigs for kitchen worktops require (and for locks recommend) a 1/2" router, obviously one that is good to handle would be desireable.
The other job I can see is rebating door architrave 2-4mm to handle variations in plaster depth vs. frame, so perhaps a table would be a luxury, but if I can manage that with the piece clamped to a long bench, that would save money...
I don't want to spend a fortune, because after this handful of jobs, it's going to be odd hobby use.
All thoughts gratefully received :)
Cheers
Tim
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Tim S wrote:

Get an oldie but goody and a table..if you can.

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The Natural Philosopher coughed up some electrons that declared:

Something like a Trend? Been looking on ebay - there's a couple, but they look a bit chunky to hand hold...
Are Freud any good - there's a few of them?
Or there's this Ryobi, with table:
Not sure what to look for in a table though, feature wise...
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Ryobi-1-2-Router-and-Router-Table-ART3-ERT1150VN2_W0QQitemZ200324141549QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Home_Garden_PowerTools_SM?hash=item200324141549&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmsf%3A4 65%3A1|39%3A1|240%3A1318
Cheers
Tim
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Tim S wrote:

Conventional wisdom is that you need a 1/2" router for worktops and heavier stuff, so I can't disagree with the above.
Trend, Freud, Makita, Hitachi are good brands. CMT router bits are as good as trend/freud, but often not as expensive.
Norm on New Yankee workshop has over a dozen routers and firmly believes that there is a right size and type of router for every job - mind you, he probably didn't pay for all of them!
I have 1/4" Bosch - small & light and a 1/2" Trend T10 - for heavier work.
You should definitely consider buying both. Look on the bright side - no matter how much you spend on routers and jigs, it's still gonna be much less than employing a good chippie to come and do it for you.
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Dave Osborne wrote:

Just a word of wisdom - I have a Makita, and whilst it's a beautiful piece of kit, it doesn't take the popular Freud fittings, requiring instead a 3rd party sole-plate adaptor. Not what you need to find out when you're in the middle of a job.
Great router, just be aware of the compatibility with other bits.

For what you're doing - get a 1/2" certainly. Decide then if you can justify the 1/4" (in the end, from above, and with the time I had available to me for the job I was doing, it was easier for me to get a cheap 1/4" end-of-line router, than a sole-plate adapator for the Makita)
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A cheap, lightweight 1/4" won't be wasted, even if you buy a bigger & better later. They're far more portable, thus remain useful.
What you need for these uses though is a decent 1/2" with good rigidity and a stable base.
A Freud 2000 has been the favoured choice for 10+ years. Big, powerful, good pricing, and a decent depth adjuster.
Tritons are nice too, as are some DeWalts (I like the one with dust extract up the inside of a fattened pillar)
Most routers don't have a screw depth adjust, but rely on pressure against a spring and a depth stop. That's just not the same thing at all, especially for depth-critical jobs like morticing hinges.
A table makes a big router far more useful and should be an early acquisition. You can make your own (fence too) very easily. Most commercial tables, especially the little ones, are worthless. Most router work for joinery (as opposed to on-site carpentry) is, or should be, done on the table rather than freehand.
A table _must_ have push blocks available. It's quite hard to stick a paw into a hand-held router cutter. It's horribly easy to do this when working on a table, without push blocks. One rule is having a big table and never letting your hands closer inboard than keeps your fingertips touching the outer edge (this does need a decent sized table).
Tables also make good rocket launchers. Trapping timber between a fence and a cutter (Doh!) will easily throw it through a window - or you. You _never_ cut on the "back" of a cutter like this.
Once you have your router, a selection of baseplates is helpful. Make them easily out of clear Perspex or polycarbonate sheet and make a range with different sized holes in the baseplate. Although routers are supplied with a vast gaping maw to allow big cutters, this is a real pain to use as it doesn't support close to the cutter and is likely to tip near the ends of cuts. Make a couple of others up, with holes that just barely fit over your favourite cutters.
Make lots of MDF / birch ply templates. A templated cut is not only quicker, it's usually so much quicker that you break even the cost of making templates on only the second cut. It also reduces the risk of screwing up on the expensive timber - routers just love to take an unexpected bite out of near-finished pieces.
A guide bush set is handy when working with templates. Turned brass are usually nicer than pressed steel.
90% of your work is done with the same cutter - a simple 1/2" cylindrical rebate cutter of medium length, using the depth and fence adjustments to make a range of different cuts. So get a decent quality one, or a couple. Using the shortest possible cutter improves stability.
9% remaining is with a 45degree chamfer bit.
You very rarely use the parson's nose shaped weirdy you bought from the catalogue that promised its ownership would turn you into the next Chippendale.
Bearing-guided cutters mostly suck and you'll do better working in a fence, or with a guide bush in a template.
Learn the use of a spelch plate to stop breakout and get into the habit of rough-sawing things over-long, routing and then trimming to length. Routers cut great in the middle of a cut, poorly and with difficulty at the ends.
Learn about which way to cut, which way the torque reaction will kick, which speeds to use and how to burn wood by cutting too slowly.
You need eye protection and ear protection. If you're working MDF or anything man-made you want dust protection too. If you're working tropicals you want serious dust protection, as many of those are a real hazard for allergies. Dust extraction is less of an issue - some jobs need it, for others the hose is more trouble than a help. It's another reason to favour working on a table, which should always offer dust extraction from behind the fence.
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[BIG snip]
This looks like a wiki article in the making.

I have /never/ used a 45degree chamfer bit. I use an ogee bearing cutter quite a lot for rounding over edges, and I have used it for a decorative moulding on shelves.
I used straight bearing cutters quite a lot too - but that could be because I only have a 1/4" router, so I run the router against a straight-edge for half the cut and run the bearing along the previous cut for the bottom.
A 1/2" router would be quicker, but given the amount I use it, I couldn't justify the cost (and I don't have room for a table).
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Thank you Andy for such a comprehensive reply :)
Andy Dingley coughed up some electrons that declared:

OK
OK - so Freud is good.

Right - I didn't know that.

OK. I look into these more. How thick can a table be? 20-25mm? Only, especially as I don't know what I'm doing, I could easily modify my worktop/bench which is birch block kitchen worktop, as a quick and free first attempt. If I emptied a cupboard I'd have plenty of space to mount a router underneath and the top is flat, stable, heavy and solid. Things also screw down and bolt down to it very well (I have two vices, a bench grinder and, on a separate section, a sliding compound saw mounted).
I'm thinking a hole for the router bit, and some wood on sliding brackets of some sort for the fence. Or even just screw the fence down as, especially for the architraves, the width of the cut will be constant for loads of pieces.
I assume the router can be locked at a certain, variable, depth cut? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

I have a healthy fear of spinning sharp things, and lots of random timber.

Yes, I can imagine!

OK - didn't think of that either. Might be very relevant with the mortice jig, which isn't that much wider that the door

OK - that's good advice.

OK
Righty ho - I have all the protection gear, and an old Vax which puts up with crap and dust quite well, for limited sessions.
Many thanks,
Tim
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This post deserves the FAQ.
Andy Dingley wrote:

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On Tue, 31 Mar 2009 11:24:21 +0100, Tim S wrote:

======================================== Some people prefer 'soft start' as opposed to instant high speed. I think soft start is a bit easier and safer so try to get a test run with each type. B&Q usually offer this test facility even if you don't want to buy there.
If you've got a bench pillar drill consider using that with a simple fence and router bits for the long straight cuts.
Cic.
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Cicero wrote:

I think you probably need 20,000 rpm for a router bit.
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On Tue, 31 Mar 2009 14:26:45 +0000, Stuart Noble wrote:

-----------------------------------------
=========================================Not necessarily so. I use standard router bits as described and have been doing so quite successfully for about 20 years. Most common routers have variable speeds, in the range of about 8000 rpm to 20000 rpm, but the cutters will work quite satisfactorily at much lower speeds.
Cic.
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That's damn dangerous, and has a track record of sprained or broken thumbs in its wake.
The problem is that pillar drills are slow, so they won't work with router tooling (just don't cut) and the tooling that does work with them (now fortunately rare, but popular in the '70s) was large diameter and with multiple teeth. These had nasty habits for grabbing, throwing workpieces around and generally creating leverage injuries to the operators hands.
You can still buy some of these (Safe-T-Planer ?), esp in the USA, but they're even bigger and have fewer teeth. A bit better, but still too hazardous IMHO.
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On Tue, 31 Mar 2009 09:24:58 -0700, Andy Dingley wrote:

======================================== Sorry to disagree with you, but I've been doing this for about 20 years without a single injury or mishap. As far as the coarse-toothed cutters are concerned I think they're the ones to avoid. I have several ('Wolf' brand, I think) and I never use them now as it's difficult to get a good finish with them. I do remember making a set of stair spindles with them about 12 years ago in another house and I had to finish them off with quite a bit of sanding.
Cic.
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Tim S wrote:

If I were buying my first router (I have three now) I'd deffo go for the Trend, simply because its such a 'system' machine. Trend have a huge range of accessories which will obviously fit Trend machines without having to worry about base's & stuff.
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