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Old 14th January 2006, 12:04 PM   #1
flaevor is offline flaevor  United States
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Default What to look for in a router?

I did a search for this of course, but I didn't find the answers I was looking for. My biggest questions are what features and power are an absolute minimum and what are the absolute don'ts. And what is a reasonable price range to look in. I don't want to buy junk and regret it later, but I don't necessarily need the best.
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Old 14th January 2006, 12:23 PM   #2
joensd is offline joensd  Germany
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Im using a real cheap router that I got from a supermarket.(~20)
I didnt use it on lots of harder woods but I think its well enough for the "occasion" and for stuff like MDF anyway. If you use it regularly for extended periods of time, Id certainly invest a bit more.
(Festo, Elu,Makita,Bosch,Dewalt)
You can also check the Visaton-forum at http://www.visaton.de/vb/ .
A lot of experienced woodworkers there.

Youre located in germany?
I got mine from Aldi. It is a Topcraft which is an OK budget company for power tools. They do not stock it permanently though.

greets
Jens
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Old 14th January 2006, 12:52 PM   #3
flaevor is offline flaevor  United States
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Yeah I'm in Germany...still. I have thought about buying one of the Aldi Routers before but then I read all these theads about stay away from cheap routers. I am usually one of those guys who ends up buying new drill bits every project because I'm too cheap to buy good ones.

However since the router is a cutting tool I'm also concerned with safety. Of all the powertools we had in the woodshop at school the router was the only one that made me uneasy. Therfore I was curious as to what features would make the job easier and safer.
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Old 14th January 2006, 12:54 PM   #4
kneadle is offline kneadle  United States
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Blonde hair, nice figure, pretty laugh, etc. (sorry, couldn't resist).

Seriously, I had this question about power tools in general a couple of years ago. Here's the advice I was given, and I took:

Buy an entry level model of a good name brand.

For example, I bought a Porter-Cable combo router (with a plunge base) for about $100. It's not the "nice" P-C, but it's still a good piece of equipment, very reliable, and I've been very happy with it.

It seems reasonable to me to think that a reputable company is going to pay attention to calibration even in its entry-level models, like this one.

As a counter-example, I bought a tablesaw from Harbor Freight for less than $100. While it gets the job done, the knobs have fallen off, I can't confidently saw a 90 angle, much less any other angle, and I think I got lucky with parallel lines on the table, meaning that I can line up the fence with the blade and the channels.

In addition, back to the router, the bits matter a lot. Good bits will have "more" blade than cheap bits, and they'll be sharper.

I wouldn't have believed that Black and Decker would be cheap until my handyman-friend showed me his brand (can't remember what brand it was).

Hope that helps.

Dave
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Old 14th January 2006, 12:56 PM   #5
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in my experience it's the router bits which are critical -- when cutting particle board or MDF you acumulate the plastic resins which bind the particles together -- with the high speed steel bits you can purchase at Home Depot you might as well pitch them in the garbage after one project.

fwiw, I have a Porter-Cable plunge router which was a bit over $200 -- and I love it. I also have an old Black and Decker which is mounted on a Vermont-America router table -- it's ok for cutting moldings -- if I had the time I would build a better router table.

you might want to check out your library and look at copies of "Fine Woodworking" -- they have some wicked unbiased reviews of woodworking equipment.
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Old 14th January 2006, 05:12 PM   #6
RAW is offline RAW  Canada
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http://www.patwarner.com/dw621.html

I would lean to a Dewalt 621 you can get them off ebay reconditioned cheap.

Over all they have the best fine adjustment as well as a very very good dust collection port.Using a shop vac you will save a lot of mess.IF you can afford up to $200.00 get the Dewalt hands down.

We have 4 Dewalt 621's in the shop along with a PC 895 mounted in the router table.


But away from Dewalt I would lean to the cheaper BD router with also has a good dust control.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...lance&n=228013

The next item I would purchase Spiral upcut bit $12.00
http://www.american-carbide.com/Wood...ection=0&Cat=4
http://www.routerbits.com/cgi-router...437353_28365+9

A good carbide bit used with a Jasper Jig for cutting circles will last.

Good luck and hope this helps.
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Old 14th January 2006, 05:16 PM   #7
flaevor is offline flaevor  United States
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Thanks for the feedback guys. To the moderators I'm sorry. I was approaching it from the angle of what would do the trick for speaker building and figured the guys on this forum would be authorities on the matter.

Getting back to the topic...


It would be wise then, if I bought a less expensive router to at least spend money on expensive bits? Or am I still trying to cut corners?
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Old 14th January 2006, 05:24 PM   #8
RAW is offline RAW  Canada
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I started with a cheap BD router only a 1/4" collect and that little router lasted over 30 sets of cabinets.Till the switch gave in.

Really not a bad investment if you think you may have use for the router down the road.
If not go to the BD and you will be happy.
As well your lungs will thank you for having the dust port!
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Old 14th January 2006, 05:35 PM   #9
kneadle is offline kneadle  United States
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More expensive bits, IMO
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