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Thread: Beginners Router?

  1. #1

    Beginners Router?

    I am trying to begin my adventure in woodworking and I'm reading and watching video as much as I can. Right now I am watching a Video series called
    The Router a beginners guide which is made by The Guild of Master Craftsman publications. They say it might be best for a beginner to start out with one
    of the smaller routers. Right now I am looking at these two.

    http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWP611P...9662693&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Makita-RP0900K...9663303&sr=1-5

    I would like the members advice on what they think. I respect the opinions of the members and value your input. I am leaning toward the Dewalt.
    The smaller routers may be good for me because last year I had a ceiling fall on me while I was sleeping and it crushed four vertebra in my neck.
    It caused nerve damage in my left arm and it is not as strong as my right. Even after surgery ( they inserted rods and plates and replaced some disc )
    it hasn't gotten much better. Sorry for the long post.

    Greg

    P.S.....Within the next month I am going to build bunk beds for my sons. I got the plans from Matthias Wandel's website.

  2. #2
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    "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
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    Hi Greg, I am sure you will get some great advise on routers here I am by no means highly knowledgeable but I think the 1 1/4 hp routers are a little under powered and use a 1/4" collet which will limit bits available. I would go up to at least a 1 3/4 hp version that uses a 1/2" collet such as http://www.amazon.com/Porter-Cable-6...9664670&sr=8-4. I have this version and use it by hand and in my router table. I would prefer a 3 1/4 hp in the router table, but all in good time. The weight between the 1 1/4 hp to the 1 3/4 hp models is not much

  4. #4
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    depending on your funds for this endeavor, i would give the porter cable 690, the bosch 1617 or the milwaukee 5615 a look.. we have a lady on here that knows so much about routers that she was called the router lady for many years and wrote a book on them.. she is busy on the wknds but if you can wait for her response it would be well worth your time,, her name is carol reed.. and i also agree that you need the 1/2" collet to make your journey into this wood working much more satisfying.. there is a saying here and many other places "try to buy once not twice". we dont always listen to what we are told and most of us didnt listen earlier but do know so we are just tryun to save one mis step the plunge capability is necessary but the packages that offer it are usually worth the extra and there is definitely a need for plunge once you start down this path ask many questions and welcome to our family
    Last edited by larry merlau; 02-19-2012 at 11:17 PM.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Niemi View Post
    Hi Greg, I am sure you will get some great advise on routers here I am by no means highly knowledgeable but I think the 1 1/4 hp routers are a little under powered and use a 1/4" collet which will limit bits available. I would go up to at least a 1 3/4 hp version that uses a 1/2" collet such as http://www.amazon.com/Porter-Cable-6...9664670&sr=8-4. I have this version and use it by hand and in my router table. I would prefer a 3 1/4 hp in the router table, but all in good time. The weight between the 1 1/4 hp to the 1 3/4 hp models is not much
    I agree with Greg I started with 690 kit with the fixed-plunge & D-handle & single speed I would go a step further & get a kit like this with variable speed.

    http://www.amazon.com/Porter-Cable-6...xp_grid_pt_0_0
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  6. #6
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    The small DeWalt you show is a nice router but, is really a trim router on steroids like the Bosch Colt. Extremely useful but, probably not what I would pick as a first router. As others have said, now that there are good quality combo units on the market, the old adage "if you can only have one make it a plunge". I would update that to "make it a combo". +1 on the Milwaukeesl one of the smoothest plunge combos I have tried but, everyone has their favorites. I still have a Colt but once I got my first Mil, the other routers I had sort of found their way down the road. I have a couple 5625's in lifts, 5615 and 5616 combos (all my routers were bought during some sale or another but, a good combo comes in around $200 or so).

    A neat feature is that the 5615 and 5616 motors will swap between bases so you can start with a 5615-24 and add a more powerful 5616 motor-only later if you want. I eventually gathered multiple combos and now have plunge and fixed bases with different plates for different functions. I just slip in the motor with the power I need for the job and go. The Bosch units get high praise and their new form-factor (although a little pricey for a starter-router) refines the multiple bases concept. Although I don't own one, a D-handle is high on my list of wants. Again, I would not go with a D as a starter router from most makers as they are often proprietary to their base. This means if you want to plunge, buy another router . . . not that having more than one is a bad thing .

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There are some good machines out there in the same basic price range. If you can get your hands on one, that will pretty much seal the deal. What feels good in my hands may not feel as good to you. Routers are somewhat of a personal tool so getting a candidate in your hands is a good way to make your best decision. Table routing is 90% of my routing and several combos (including the Milwaukees) would let you leave the fixed base in the table and use the plunge base for free hand. The Mil comes with a t-wrench to adjust bit height from above the table.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 02-20-2012 at 02:57 AM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  7. #7
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    Be sure to check the Bosch 1617EVS-PK. It's the kit with plunge and fixed bases. I bought that kit and two other 1617EVS routers. You can't go wrong with the 1617 as a starter!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't give it a second thought and get the Makita. While yes down the road you may want to add to the router collection with a bigger horse. This little one will serve well for years to come. Just ask my 20 year old one Why just yesterday it got the call to duty.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  9. #9
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    Small routers just can't do the work of a regular sized one. They do rest on the work so shouldn't be a burden on your left shoulder. I bought a Skil 1820 after reading a comparison review of routers. It got top rating in all features including comfort, ergonomics, etc. Downside is it doesn't have the bearings that expensive models have and won't last as many years under heavy use. I bought mine used from Ebay for $25.00, including shipping and it is going strong five years later, with occasional use. New they are only about $100.00.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Small routers just can't do the work of a regular sized one.
    Well said Frank and with that I will add that I would rather do an occasional big job with a small router. Than lots of small stuff with a big router. My littler PC laminate trimmer prolly gets more run time than my big 3 hp Festool. But that Festool is a bit cumbersome to run on something 2" wide just for a round over bit.
    So I guess the point her is what is your main job for said router? An OG or rounding over the edge of some small box? Or running big panel bits? Are you running it by hand or in a table? Them bigger horse routers can have quite the thrust when you snap them on. I know with my 1 3/4 HP PC you want to have both hands on the wheel when you hit the switch. Keep in mind I have 6 routers veering from small 1/8 HP to a big 3 HP, each has it's own job to do in the shop.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

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