Bill - some notes from the field:
I have a couple of trim carpenters I am around that use the HF routers
a lot. Sometimes they are on sale for as little as $15, and they look
at it the same way Morris does, (as do I these days!) and that is to
determine if they get their money's worth or not. HF will take back
anything within 90 days with a receipt, and a one year no questions
asked warranty is $5 on this. One was laughing with me at the fact he
spent more on the roundover bit than he did for the router.
I see a couple of Ryobis out there, and they are probably somewhere
between the HF and PC. The guys like the fact that they can get them
cheap ($75 - $80?) and they really do work well. They seem to hold up
well, and they sell some kind of kit that has different guides, handles
and all kinds of other stuff. I was surprised at how well received
they were. The shop I use for post formed laminates uses these and
DeWalts a lot.
My best laminate guy (an individual) uses PC as does his buddies. They
like the size, weight, feel, and it is a tool they are used to using.
But they are all heavily invested in the splitters, seamers, scribing,
tilt and all manner of other accessories for this tool. Somewhere
along the line they have fallen out of favor (the castings do look
pretty cheesy to me, but that doesn't necessarily affect performance)
because they tell me after about 6 months of use the machines won't
stay in adjustment. >Our< local PC repair shop refuses to repair them
since they were used commercially, so they feel screwed. They still
buy replacements, but they probably wouldn't buy again if they didn't
have all the guides and stuff to they would need to buy with another
I bought this Dewalt:
I like it a lot. It is bigger than the other routers, heavier, and has
a little more power. But I rarely use it for laminates as I simply
don't do that much. I bought it in a kit a few years ago and it has
all the attachments offered by Dewalt. It is a little fussy to set up,
but when it is in adjustment, it stays. It is a workhorse, and for a
little more $$ than a similar PC, you can get the adjustable edge guide
as part of it. It won't fit in tiny places as the PC will, and it is a
little top heavy, but I would sure buy it again. 3/8 roundovers in oak
are a walk in the park with this machine so it makes it perfect for
eased over edges. The guides are a good deal; on the PC I can "feel"
the cutting of the machine when I am doing laminate work; with this one
I can't feel it until I dull the bit a little. I look at this as a
small router, and that is what I use it for in my business.
If you are going to use these primarily on wood, I would purchase a
good set of carbide bits and practice a little before tearing into a
project. At 30,000 rpms, you can burn your wood fast. You can also
destroy bits, and at these speeds, HSS is a complete waste of time.
Good luck! Hope this helps. Even though others here will sneer and
you won't get the snob appeal with your amigos, based on what I have
seen out on the job I would certainly look at that Ryobi if I were on a
strict budget. I think now days they even come with a 2 year warranty.