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My first router

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Forum topic by WoodNube posted 01-17-2019 07:43 PM 577 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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WoodNube

4 posts in 29 days


01-17-2019 07:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question router

I am very new to woodworking, and it’s just a hobby. I’m learning primarily online from forums and youtube and such. And from trial and error, of course. I don’t have anyone to show me how, and I expect most of what I do to be smaller, personal projects. I’m not going to be trying to make money at it, it’s just a hobby for an older guy with free time who has always wanted to know more about woodworking. My background is in programming, not wood or construction at all. Shop space is very limited, and my table saw is a Kobalt “fold up roll away” type. So far, I don’t even have a real workbench. I have a wood topped tool chest and a folding table.

I plan to buy a router fairly soon. I’ve never used one.

From what I can see, most of the time I will probably want to use it in a router table. But for some things, you want the router separate. And for some projects, you need a plunge router. Many have a combo kit where you can move them from a “normal” setup to a plunge setup, which sounds ideal for me.

However, I’m not sure how permanent they are when mounted to a router table. Is it fast and easy to remove, if you need to use it out of the table, and replace when you need to go back? Or should I plan on one router in the table essentially permanently, and a separate combo router for things where I don’t want to (or can’t) use the router table?

I’m trying to decide what kind of router to get. If I can easily remove it from a router table, then I’m learning towards a combo kit to have the plunge feature. But if it’s going to be essentially permanent once attached to a table, then the plunge attachments sound useless, and I should get one router for use with a router table, with plans to get another router with the combo kit later.

Obviously, being new to this, I need a ton of different tools and would like to limit myself to essentials for awhile.


18 replies so far

View Jack Rigg's profile

Jack Rigg

6 posts in 32 days


#1 posted 01-17-2019 07:54 PM

Bosch makes a good router to mount under a table, has a height adjustment that can be accessed through the table with an allen wrench. Bosch Router
The Bosch router is kindo of hard to remove and repurpose once it’s been undermounted. Porter Cable makes some excellent combo routers, you could leave your base mounted underneath in place and just drop the router to insert into your plunge base.

-- Jack https://Carterscreekrenovations.Com

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HokieKen

8124 posts in 1403 days


#2 posted 01-17-2019 08:22 PM

I like the Bosch 1617 router for hand held work. It has a fixed and plunge base and I use both depending on the task at hand. I like a bigger boy in my table but if you want to have a single router, I’d go with the 1617 combo. As JRigg said, it’s friendly for adjusting height in the table and mostly, it’s just a matter of removing 3 screws to take it off the table for handheld use then 3 more screws to put the baseplate back on. Don’t get me wrong, that’s too many screws to be convienent IMO but it’s something you can live with.

If you’re going to go with 2 routers, I’d go with the 1617 combo for hand held work and something that’s 3+ hp that you can adjust from above the table. I don’t know what that is… I have the PC 7539 router and a Router Raizer installed and it’s great for me. But that router is no longer made I don’t think so I can’t give a specific recommendation.

Best of luck with your decision!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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SMP

302 posts in 170 days


#3 posted 01-17-2019 08:43 PM

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HokieKen

8124 posts in 1403 days


#4 posted 01-17-2019 09:01 PM

Good call SMP. But, isn’t the base that comes with that combo kit the same as the other one you linked? That’s the kit I have and I know that base has the above-table-adjustability. Or maybe you’re saying to have 3 bases… Not a bad plan :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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SMP

302 posts in 170 days


#5 posted 01-17-2019 10:12 PM



Good call SMP. But, isn t the base that comes with that combo kit the same as the other one you linked? That s the kit I have and I know that base has the above-table-adjustability. Or maybe you re saying to have 3 bases… Not a bad plan :-)

- HokieKen

Exactly, you buy the 3rd base to just leave in the router table. Then you can pop the motor in either the table or your handheld base in 5 seconds with the quick release. Well worth the $40. If you are as lazy as me, when I just had the 1, I would leave it in the table and avoid using it by hand at all costs because I would absolutely dread changing it. I actually routed a table I made for my travel trailer on the router table even though it was way too big to not be completely awkward. Could have easily ruined $100 worth of walnut.

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bilyo

501 posts in 1367 days


#6 posted 01-17-2019 10:30 PM

Just another point of view to consider: I bought a full sized router a number of years ago and then when I built my router table, I bought a second base so that one could stay in the table. I recently bought a trim router and find that it is capable of doing 90% of the hand-held work I do. My full size stays in the table most of the time.

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WoodNube

4 posts in 29 days


#7 posted 01-18-2019 12:01 AM

The Bosch combo that several of you have recommended was already high on my list. And I like the “just get another base” plan. If I’m understanding it correctly, I could use the router with the fixed based or plunge base right away. I could use the original fixed base when I first build a router table, delaying spending the money on the spare standalone router base. The motor would then easily move to whichever I need to use for my current project?

I could probably skip the second base at least to start.

That would let me use my initial router base under the table, moving the motor if I need the plunge base, and instead of getting a second base, I could unscrew it when I needed it. And over time, I’ll get a much better feel for how much I really need that 2nd base. Between the table router, the plunge base, and perhaps a cheap harbor freight trim router, maybe I can get by without that extra base for a long time. I suspect that once I have a router table set up, most of what I do will be done there.

Thanks. You guys have helped a lot. I’m brand new to the forums, and I really appreciate it.

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firefighterontheside

19781 posts in 2121 days


#8 posted 01-18-2019 12:47 AM

I’m not sure what the Bosch costs, but this is a nice affordable set. I used the fixed base in my router table for many years and used the plunge base for handheld routing. That worked for me for a long time. Then I got tied of taking the router out, so I got a triton 3 1/4 horse router for the table. Now I use the hitachi with whichever base suits me for handheld. Of course I also use the ridged and porter cable trim routers that I have too. Can’t have too many routers.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Hitachi-2-25-HP-Variable-Speed-Combo-Fixed-Plunge-Corded-Router/50425858?cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-ToolsAndHardware-_-RoutersAndRouterAccessories-_-50425858:Hitachi&CAWELAID=&kpid=50425858&CAGPSPN=pla&store_code=1055&k_clickID=go_625706834_34613746390_111132554110_pla-260766394716_t_9022817&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI87jEwIz23wIVmo7ICh2AKwAXEAQYAiABEgIpa_D_BwE

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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John Smith

1615 posts in 427 days


#9 posted 01-18-2019 12:02 PM

Nube – now that you are familiar with some of the brand names
and how they perform, I would suggest you walk through some
of your local pawn shops to see what they have.
hand tools seem to be the most popular pawned items in my area.
you might be able to find a router already in a small table for a decent
price as well as a couple of hand-helds, trim routers, etc.
what the hey, it’s worth a shot (if you are on a budget).
welcome aboard, have fun and be safe.

.

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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knotscott

8204 posts in 3640 days


#10 posted 01-18-2019 01:12 PM

A combo set is a good starting point. The Bosch is a good router, but there are other excellent choices too. Milwaukee, Porter Cable, DW, and Hitachi all accept the standard 1-3/16” inserts without an adapter. Go handle some of them, and see which feels best in your hands.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5201 posts in 2616 days


#11 posted 01-18-2019 02:39 PM

You are on the right track. A combo set up is a good place to start. Put the fixed base in your router table and remove the motor and put it in the plunge base for hand held routing. That will probably work for you for many years. Like most of us eventually you’ll want a trim router, and you’ll find that for most of your hand held routing that will suffice and you won’t have to remove the router from your table very often.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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AwlThat

40 posts in 351 days


#12 posted 01-18-2019 04:30 PM



I d personally get this combo https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005RHPD/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B00005RHPD&pd_rd_w=TcjR2&pf_rd_p=f0dedbe2-13c8-4136-a746-4398ed93cf0f&pd_rd_wg=hNs4D&pf_rd_r=ZPM5K0FS1PHMCFPVBMBH&pd_rd_r=06c3ffbe-1a98-11e9-9afe-e19854ff74f0

And then get the router base to keep in the router table. That way its 5 seconds to switch between router table or handheld. New router base here, may be able to get the older one cheaper, maybe ebay?
https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-RA1165-Under-Table-Router-Above-Table/dp/B0007VHPFK/ref=sr_1_3?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1547757730&sr=1-3&keywords=bosch+router+table+base

- SMP

This is the exact route (no pun intended) that I am taking. I’ve already purchased the combo kit, as well as the optional edge guide attachment and when I get my table saw, I will make a router table insert and buy the extra base for that.

Woodnube, I could swear I was reading my own post when I read your’s. I too am a programmer and I’m new to woodworking, though I’ve always enjoyed making things whenever the opportunity arose, and I have the “half” part of a 2 1/2 car garage as my shop space. I’ve been learning a lot the last year watching YouTube videos and lurking here. I was going to start last year with my table saw purchase but life got in the way and I had to put off that purchase. Things are looking up this year and I can’t wait to get started.

View JohnDon's profile

JohnDon

78 posts in 1434 days


#13 posted 01-18-2019 04:57 PM

+1 on handling different routers, to see how they feel. Personally, I really like the hand grip on Milwaukee routers. Also, in addition to pawn shops, check Craigslist- often can find an extra base there.

View SMP's profile

SMP

302 posts in 170 days


#14 posted 01-18-2019 05:21 PM



I could probably skip the second base at least to start.

That would let me use my initial router base under the table, moving the motor if I need the plunge base, and instead of getting a second base, I could unscrew it when I needed it. And over time, I ll get a much better feel for how much I really need that 2nd base. Between the table router, the plunge base, and perhaps a cheap harbor freight trim router, maybe I can get by without that extra base for a long time. I suspect that once I have a router table set up, most of what I do will be done there.

Thanks. You guys have helped a lot. I m brand new to the forums, and I really appreciate it.

- WoodNube

You could get by without the extra base forever. Its more of a convenience and time saver. You could even get by with just a handheld and no plunge base possibly forever, depending on what you are trying to do.

Bondogaposis gave good advice, but if you do end up going that route, and use the plunge base for your sole handheld, make sure to ALWAYS double check that the plunge is locked if you don’t want it to plunge. My first router was just a plunge router, and I lost track of how many projects I ruined by not locking it out, and accidentally plunging off a chunk of an edge. Wasting tons of time and perfectly good pieces of wood. One decent piece of wood can cost more than the extra base. But it is a good way to learn. I triple check my no plunge base now to make sure its locked in place securely.

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Dwain

586 posts in 4123 days


#15 posted 01-18-2019 05:33 PM

...another vote for Bosch. I also have the 1617. Several years ago I found a deal on Amazon for new 3 1/4 plunge router from Hitachi for $117! That took care of my need for an under table router. That being said, I still can’t quite justify why I bought two! As was said above, I guess you can’t have enough routers. The one in the table and now I have one for my router planing sled.

Start with the combo router, find the one you like best. There are so many out there. Do some work with them and find out what you do most. AS was mentioned above, you will probably find you want a trim router and maybe a big 3HP router. Get them when you need them, the combo should serve you well for quite a while until you do.

Good Luck!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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