Solid router but obsolete design

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Review by Chelios posted 12-13-2010 03:50 AM 4287 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Solid router but obsolete design Solid router but obsolete design No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I got this router, guide and dovetail jig because I wanted to make a small chest of drawers and thought this would be the way to go. I have used the router several times after that but I wasn’t really liking the clean up after the job was done.

Dust collection is not part of the design. PC relies on an obsolete design and this is the main reason for giving it 2 stars.

The positive- The tool looks like it is never going to brake and it certainly runs that way, the base has a nice feature to twist the base to raise and lower the height of the bit. The footprint of the base could be wider to help with stability but it does its job well with the edge guide. It does have plenty of power.

The negative- Dust collection/direction. This was not something that was given any thought in their design. The handles are placed in a way that you must put your body or face close to the router and bit and really put a lot of effort and focus on keeping it balanced. If you lose focus and twist the wrong way you get a faceful of dust.

After searching around I found another brand of router that does a superb job of dust collection and the difference vs the Porter Cable is night and day. After using the new fouter,it was great to be done routing and there was nothing to sweep and I didn’t have to change clothes. So this means that I will not be using the Porter Cable router and jig anymore. I have officially switched to the other brand. I hope PC comes back soon with more innovation and then I would consider buying their tools again. They are quality tools but they could pick the low hanging fruit and think through their tools for improvements in ergonomics and dust collection.

I would not recommend this router; not even if it was for a router table because I would want a 3 hp in a router table.

PS I know some people don’t mind this design and use it just the way it is, so if anyone is interested I would be willing to trade these for a decent shoulder plane.

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3839 days

16 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 12-13-2010 05:08 PM

I’ve always just accepted that, in general, routing is a function in which it is hard to control the dust and chips.

I have a good dust/chip capturing system on my leigh dovetail jig but that is a jig attachment – not a router attachment. I can also do a reasonably good job of capturing the dust/chips on my router table, thanks to the freud fence and it’s dust port.

However, I have never worked with hand held router on something other than my dovetail jig and had good dust control.

I would really like to know what the other brand is.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View poopiekat's profile


4740 posts in 4507 days

#2 posted 12-13-2010 07:33 PM

Sounds like buyer’s remorse to me. Those are truly industry-standard tools. Did you keep the receipts?
I too am mystified by the statement that your other fouter leaves no mess to clean up. What brand is it?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3813 days

#3 posted 12-13-2010 07:56 PM

How about a stanley # 7 ??

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4005 days

#4 posted 12-13-2010 09:22 PM

Don’t you think you are rating this a bit harsh, especially considering this machine is based on current industry standard designs?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3839 days

#5 posted 12-13-2010 11:18 PM

Rich- The other brand is a festool, which was expensive but it is worth it because I am not coughing up a lung after I use the router.

Poopiekat- you are right it is remorse. It may be industry standards but of a different time. We shouldn’t deal with dust anymore and if more mfg realized this then great tools would be cheaper I think.

DaddyZ- I got one but thanks for the offer…really needing that shoulder plane though.

db- I guess I can calibrate to 3 stars, but no more. ha!

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4350 days

#6 posted 12-14-2010 05:31 AM

The one PC router that seams to always get bad reviews is the 693 models
“D” handle 690s work great for me.


View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3839 days

#7 posted 12-14-2010 06:58 AM

After your comments I guess I was harsh on the rating, so I up’d it to 3 stars. The PC is well built but I’d like to see american design be at the top again. Not only top in quality- as this router really does seem indestructible but also at the top in design and engineering.

That would be one great combination

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3810 days

#8 posted 12-14-2010 09:12 AM

If dust collection is at the top of your priority list and you clearly spelled out that the rating was based on that, I don’t think you are being harsh at all. It is a fair assessment of what is important to you in a tool, IMHO.

Oddly enough, I am very happy with my insanely cheap Craftsman router in terms of dust collection. No, it is not anywhere near Festool, but then again I paid $100 for a dual base set. Still, it keeps the big chunks from flying, and even gets most of the small stuff. Not perfect, but it is pretty darn good. I do wish dust collection was a more universal aspect of tool design, but then again I wish every table saw had the sawstop break as well. C’est la vie. If you are willing to pay for a feature, then go for it! Especially as it impacts your health.

-- David from Indiana --

View nowhereman's profile


7 posts in 4077 days

#9 posted 12-14-2010 03:03 PM

You sound like a knowledgeable woodworker why didn’t you buy a Festool first? It’s like going from buying a Chevy to buying a Rolls Royce. What Festool did you buy? And Festool only makes plunge routers I think, the PC you show in your photo is not a plunge model, or are you complaining about both bases when you talk about direction. One last question, I laughed when I read about the other router, why were you so secretive about the brand name. I’ve never used a Festool router, I’m sure there excellent tools, at the price they should be. In my opinion you can’t compare the two brands. I’ve used variations of the 690 series since the nineteen seventies (I’m showing my age) and every one has performed well. Dust collection wasn’t an issue back then as it is now. Design and dust collection are separate issues like if you bought a family car and complained it didn’t corner like a Ferrari. I know everyone is entitled to there opinion but I feel your being unfair in your assessment. Anyway good luck with one or both routers.
Just a side note switch to hand tools, there’s no dust collection or noise. Good luck in your woodworking. Always going nowhere

View TheDane's profile


5822 posts in 4436 days

#10 posted 12-14-2010 03:14 PM

Actually, I have this router (bought it 2+ years ago), and am delighted with it. If I were to do a review, it would get 5 stars.

Festool routers were available when I made my purchase … I just didn’t have the $$$ to buy Festool, and I don’t expect Festool performance for a tool that is a fraction of Festool’s price.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3839 days

#11 posted 12-14-2010 08:43 PM

Everyone, thank you for your comments.

nowhereman, thank you for calling me a knowledgeable ww but I am still learning from all of you every day. Do you think PC can make an effort to improve their design and they can be again the Rolls Royce or the Ferrari like you call them so to speak? It wouldn’t take much for PC to include those attributes on an already good tool. As a matter of fact I wish they read up on these reviews and take their tools to the next level. I say it because I would rather see a home mfg do well.

View michstairguy's profile


21 posts in 4016 days

#12 posted 12-15-2010 05:21 PM

I have been using pc 690 style routers for 20 years and have never seen one break down. There have been countless “greatest routers ever” that have come and gone since these were introduced.
Festool is great stuff if you have nothing better to spend your money on but how they can be afforded on the typical carpenters with a family budget is beyond me.
I will stick with my 690’s, 7539, a box of good dust masks,a broom, and a dustpan. The same dust free lungs and shop and a whole lot more money in my pocket.

-- There is no growing in knowing where your going

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3839 days

#13 posted 12-15-2010 11:35 PM

michstairguy you hit it on the head …Exactly the point …That is also the reason why I am driving a 2009 car and not a 1989 model.

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3603 days

#14 posted 12-15-2010 11:47 PM

michstairguy has the same point I would have pointed out. Longevity. I also have some 690’s in the same age bracket and you cannot kill them. I’ve abused them with panel bits and ran them for hours nearly nonstop running moldings. My Theater project is a perfect example. That’s alot of moldings and the Porter Cables ran flawlessly. I’m sure Festool would have ran just as well if not better, but what I had worked fine.
For once a manufacturer stuck with what works, rather than “upgrading” to a lower quality design to gain some profits.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3839 days

#15 posted 12-15-2010 11:47 PM

I need a vacation….I don’t intend to argue or convince anyone of a different opinion. This router doesn’t do it for me and I shared that with you. I only mentioned festool because you were wondering. The review was about the PC router, not Festool.

So you all that got on the festool argument ($$$$) missed the point because the point was about PC improving an obsolete 20 yr old design instead of milking it and letting other brands like festool become better.


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