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Thread: Which router for hobbyist?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Yankton, SD

    Which router for hobbyist?

    I'm looking to get my first router. I haven't really started reading any reviews yet but I thought I'd start here first in my research. I am a hobbyist woodcarver and I would like to start making my own bases for my carvings. I would prefer using hardwoods for my bases (oak, walnut, etc.). So, in your opinion what are some good decent routers for the occasional hobbyist? I should say I want the router to be a plunge router for doing some relief carving too. Should I be thinking of a router table also? If so, any advise on the tables? Do some manufacturers sell a router with a table? Keep in mind I've never owned a router. Only woodworking power tools I own are a 14" bandsaw, 6" jointer, belt/palm sanders, skil saw and way too many carving tools. I know what you're thinking where is his table saw, well that is on my wish list.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    I own 4 router and by far my favorite is the Milwaukii 5615-24. It come with two based a fixed and plunge as well as both size collets. if you keep you eye out you can pick it up on amazon for around $100.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I, like Don, have a plunge and fixed based router setup (porter cable 690). These give a lot of versatility and can get after market bases and tables for. I don't think my model is made anymore though.

    One think you'll want to research is bits. For doing rough outs for carving, an up or down spiral bit is great for cutting elevations in your work prior to doing any carving work on the piece.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN
    I've got the same router Milwaukee 5615-24 as Don. I actually have two. When I make dovetails using my jig I set them both up so I don't have to change bits. I got mine at Amazon for around 100 also.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I have an ancient PC I inherited, probably older than me if you can believe that.
    But, I purchased a Skil plunge model after reading reviews. It got highest ratings in all categories, especially ergonomics. I bought mine used off eBay for $25.00, including shipping. But they are available new for around $100.00.
    Admittedly, it is not a heavy duty unit designed for frequent use over a period of many years. That is the trade off. But, at $100.00 and five or more years of use, you can buy a later model for another $100.00 or so. Worth considering for what you describe.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I was always told that if you're only going to have one router, make it a plunge. It still took me to my fourth router to follow that advice so you are ahead of the curve. I will add another vote for Milwaukee. Since I got my first one and felt for myself the difference in quality and operation, I have bought three other Milwaukees.

    The 5615-24 combo is an excellent small router and the body grip is hard to beat for detail work. The bases are interchangeable with the 5616-24 which has variable speed and more power. I have a couple 5615's, 5616's and a 5625 in the router table. With the exception of the 5625 which is in a lift, all the motors and bases are interchangeable which allows me a great deal of flexibility.

    If I was starting out and wanted to start small the 5615-24 combo would be hard to beat for initial value and future expandibility. I also have or have had Bosch, DeWalt, Porter-Cable, Ryobi, Triton and C-man's.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    I have a Porter Cable and a Ryobi (in excellent condition) that I would gladly trade for one used Triton.

    If you really want to know why give me a PM.


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  8. #8
    Another vote for the Triton!
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    I wouldn't rule this out Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Plunge & Fix Base Router Kit
    A bit more than the Milwaukee But IMO 4 times the router.
    Of course if I was in the new router market it would be a Festool OF 1400 EQ Router. But I all ready have one and you are looking for a reliable entry level router.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN
    I also have the Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Plunge & Fix Base Router Kit that Chuck mentioned. I use it in my router table. It works fine as long as I take small cuts. I've had it about 10 years and haven't had any problems. It was the only router I had for a long time. I got tired of taking it out of the table to use in the other base.

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