This was a much discussed topic in the past. To see the range of
opinions go to
and type in router speed control. Cheers, JG
spin doctor wrote:
I wouldn't think that it's intended as the power switch while in
operation. That's what the router power switch is for.
But if you mount it in a table, the speed control would be a natural
alternative to the main switch, so I can see the problem arising.
I bought one like this from Harbor Freight, on sale, cheap. I do use it to
cut speed just a little so I can run inch and a quarter bits on my old B&D
router. Speed control is guesswork. I crank up the no-load speed as high
as I dare, because speed will drop a lot under load. The device cuts torque
as well as speed.
I keep a piece of lumber between me and the bit, especially when I'm using
the larger bits.
I have a 3hp Makita router that I use in a table. The variable speed box
indicated that it would not work with a soft start router (and my Makita
isn't). I have used it numerous times with a 3" raised panel bit and
rail/stile bits and have cut everything from oak to cherry and hickory.
Although the router does slow down a bit when cutting something like
hickory with the 3" bit, it quickly speeds back up.
Overall I've been most happy with it, but I would certainly buy a
variable speed router or a shaper if I was going to spin 3" bits on a
This just in:
I have a variable speed control on a table mounted PC 690. The unit
was purchased from MLCS for about $25. I use it primarily for large
1/2 inch shank bits but I've also used it when I want to control the
speed on different types (i.e., densities) of wood. I've had no
problems with it and would recommend it, especially if you're using
large diameter bits in a smaller router like the 690.
As far as the toggle switch is concerned, if you can't control the
switch position (i.e., on, off, variable) you probably shouldn't be
using a router to begin with.
Hope this helps,
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