So I've been desperately trying to find a router that will fit my
hands. I have irritatingly small hands and most routers are too big for
me to get any decent control out of (I tend to avoid power sanders for
the same reason). Of all the routers I've played with, this Ryobi
Laminate Trimmer (
) is probably the one that fits the best. It has a detachable plunge
router base, which is the perfect size for my hands. I could just get
any old trimmer, but I want the easy of switching off to plunge with
the same tool. Plus, I can't seem to find a plunge router of comparable
size and weight that I can control. Most reviews I've read say it's
pretty weak on mortising, so I might just have to resign myself to hand
over my current projects to HWMBO to do those parts with his router.
Does anyone know of a comparable router/trimmer that would be a similar
size and weight to the Ryobi (keeping in mind that it's almost the
limit to what I can reach) but has more power to it? Or other
suggestions for what I might try instead.
I've also been looking at small plunge routers for a friend who's
interested in basic sign-making, and here's what I've come up with so
If you have an unlimited budget, check out
This plunge base (or "three-axis mill") is pretty spendy, but fits the
Bosch Colt trimmer, which is supposed to be more powerful and
"router-like" than most laminate trimmers.
http://www.trendmachinery.co.uk/products/ also has some smaller routers
on plunge bases, for much more reasonable prices. In the US, try
http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/11714 . Not sure if they're more
powerful: the Trend T3 is 550 watts = 4.58 amps at 120V, which isn't
much better than the Ryobi.
Freud at least used to make a 7.5amp plunge laminate trimmer (FT1000EK)
but I'm not sure if it's still available.
Grizzly also has a small plunge "router" for which they claim 1hp.
As far as mortising, have you tried it with a good 1/4" spiral upcut
bit in the Ryobi? (Or have you just played in the store?) I'm sure any
of these could cut a 1/4" mortise; the question is just how deep you
can go with each pass.
One other idea - if it's just the size of the handles that's a problem
with your small hands, could you buy a smallish (1.75hp or so) plunge
router and either reshape the existing handles or make new ones? If
weight is an issue as well, the cheaper Craftsman, Skil, and Ryobi
routers I've played with are pretty lightweight, probably due to their
extensive use of plastic parts instead of metal. Something to think
I've been extremely happy with my Dewalt 618, and the handles on the
plunge base are removeable, but it's the heaviest base in their kit.
The 616 motor would be a little lighter, though it lacks variable
Hope this helps,
You might also want to take a loot at the Craftsman All In One Cutting tool:
I own this exact kit. It comes with a plunge router base and can take 1/8"
or 1/4" bits. I use it all the time for light duty routing and recently used
it as a laminate trimmer, worked great. It also comes with a circle cutter
and you can use it for various other things as well.
I thought about it, but I didn't like the way they feel. I like how
this one is small enough that I can do precision work (similar to
holding my dremel) but I can stick the plunge base on it for different
work at a moment's notice. I just wish it had more power, which is why
I was looking for suggestions of a similar sized and weight router that
could do more than laminate work.
PC has that 7/8 hp router. I wouldn't take the power ratings too
seriously. It looks larger than a laminate trimmer, but smaller than a
690 for example. It looks short too so it might not be too top-heavy.
And you might get lucky and find one of those cool retro polished cast
aluminum versions. It's a fixed-base router though. I'm not sure if
it would fit the 690's plunge base.
The best solution is probably that ultra-expensive 3 axis mill plunge
router base thingy for the bosch colts. iirc, it was $450 or so, then
you add the router. Looks like you could use it to route a groove in
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