Only a Plunge Router? QQ

RonVinyl

Member
2013-01-04 1:25 pm
I want to start building out a decent set of tools to build speakers among other things. I would like to be somewhat cost conscious. Could I get away with buying a plunge router and not need a fixed base router? Rephrase: Could I use a plunge router in a case where someone would normally use a fixed base router?
 

prairieboy

Member
Paid Member
2010-11-22 2:31 am
The Bosch looks like a good choice. If possible, always use the 1/2" collet, and buy good carbide bits ... they're worth it. Back to your first post, where you asking if you can use a plunge base/router in a table? Yes.
And if you're starting a good tool collection, buy good clamps. The squeeze handle, fast adjust, kind are good for light clamping but not for work where you need strong compression of a glue joint, and/or to pull a joint tight.
Pipe clamps are affordable (Pony® Regular Pipe Clamp - Lee Valley Tools) which you use with standard black steel pipe. You can switch the ends to different lengths of pipe. Avoid the cheap Chinese ones, because often their machining isn't accurate and they don't clamp square.
These (Bessey K-Body REVO™ Clamps - Lee Valley Tools) are the best hand clamps you can buy, and you'll never regret owning them.
These (Jorgensen® Heavy-Duty Fast-Acting Clamps - Lee Valley Tools) are good, but the small faces leave marks, so you don't want to use them where the surface will show.
And remember the woodworkers axiom: you can never have too many clamps!
 
A decent router may be the most versatile power tool you can own. Get the plunge-base tool, then pick up the fixed base in the near future. The plunge base will be suitable for most cases where you move the router over a workpiece, while the fixed base is more suitable for mounting in a router table.

Ditto the comments about carbide bits with 1/2" shanks! I think even an inexpensive carbide-edged bit will outperform and outlast a comparable bit in tool steel.

There are more good comments in the thread "Which Router?" at http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/equipment-tools/215349-router-2.html#post3349333

I rather like this version of the pipe clamp, because of the greater depth, but I own both styles: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=31177&cat=1,43838
 

prairieboy

Member
Paid Member
2010-11-22 2:31 am
Depends on what you're using it for. I use those for plunge cuts, as for mortises. If you're cutting holes for speakers, I wouldn't use it. And don't buy 1/4" shaft, spend the dollars for 1/2". One of the best router bit companies is Whiteside Machine Company. In any of the tests I've seen, their bits are continually amongst the best, and most consistent - meaning you can rout more without the bit dulling.
 

RonVinyl

Member
2013-01-04 1:25 pm
Depends on what you're using it for. I use those for plunge cuts, as for mortises. If you're cutting holes for speakers, I wouldn't use it. And don't buy 1/4" shaft, spend the dollars for 1/2". One of the best router bit companies is Whiteside Machine Company. In any of the tests I've seen, their bits are continually amongst the best, and most consistent - meaning you can rout more without the bit dulling.

That are almost next door to me!

I wonder if they will sell at any of the local shops around me...
 
Depends on what you're using it for. I use those for plunge cuts, as for mortises. If you're cutting holes for speakers, I wouldn't use it.
Those solid carbide spiral bits are probably the ultimate for a smooth finish on the machined surface, but they are expensive and somewhat fragile. Surface finish is seldom a consideration for speaker cutout holes so I'd use a common plunge-cut 1/2" straight bit and not worry as much about possibly breaking the bit.

. . . And don't buy 1/4" shaft, spend the dollars for 1/2" . . . .
As a general rule that's excellent advice. In this case . . . a 1/2" shank solid carbide bit could run as much as $100. You can buy a lot of lumber, or transistors for $100.

Dale
 
I am doing a Lowes/HD run before I get started, any links to decent ones would be greatly appreciated! "Regular Straight Bit" meaning not spiral up cut but just a straight bit with two blades?
My unsubstantiated impression is that the bits you get at the "home-improvement" retailers are likely to be lower performance (and only a dollar or two lower price) than what you get from a woodworker's dealer like Woodcraft or Rockler. (Woodcraft is in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte; Rockler has an affiliate in Asheville. Here in St Louis we have both; and St Charles Hardwoods carries Amana and there was a place in Kirkwood that had Bosch bits. In the past I have been pleased with mail-order service from MLCS and Eagle America.)

Yes, if you have to pay straight list price start with a straight-flute, carbide edged, bit with 1/2" cutting diameter, 1" cutting length, and 1/2" shank. Make sure it has cutting flutes on the END of the bit, so you can plunge it into a workpiece without starting at an edge or pre-drilled hole. (I think they all do these days, but that wasn't true in the past.) Then compare it to what you'd pay for additional features, such as a LOWER pilot bearing or spiral flutes, evaluate the fiscal WAF, and act accordingly. For reference, here's Rockler p/n 90550: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=25325&site=ROCKLER . The basic straight bits are often used as loss-leader sale items but it's not unusual to find sale prices on bits with more features - for example, the Woodcraft p/n147239 at http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/20...-Cutting-Router-Bit-34-D-x-114-CL-x-12-S.aspx

Dale
 

RonVinyl

Member
2013-01-04 1:25 pm
My unsubstantiated impression is that the bits you get at the "home-improvement" retailers are likely to be lower performance (and only a dollar or two lower price) than what you get from a woodworker's dealer like Woodcraft or Rockler. (Woodcraft is in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte; Rockler has an affiliate in Asheville. Here in St Louis we have both; and St Charles Hardwoods carries Amana and there was a place in Kirkwood that had Bosch bits. In the past I have been pleased with mail-order service from MLCS and Eagle America.)

Yes, if you have to pay straight list price start with a straight-flute, carbide edged, bit with 1/2" cutting diameter, 1" cutting length, and 1/2" shank. Make sure it has cutting flutes on the END of the bit, so you can plunge it into a workpiece without starting at an edge or pre-drilled hole. (I think they all do these days, but that wasn't true in the past.) Then compare it to what you'd pay for additional features, such as a LOWER pilot bearing or spiral flutes, evaluate the fiscal WAF, and act accordingly. For reference, here's Rockler p/n 90550: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=25325&site=ROCKLER . The basic straight bits are often used as loss-leader sale items but it's not unusual to find sale prices on bits with more features - for example, the Woodcraft p/n147239 at Buy Woodriver 152421 Pattern Cutting Router Bit 3 4 D x 1-1 4 CL x 1 2 S at Woodcraft

Dale

Great advice! Thanks! Looks like there is a great deal of room to upgrade bits etc. Will I be able to get by this first time with the 1/4" shank spiral upcut or should I drive to woodcraft tomorrow in Raleigh?

Thanks again!