The Hitachi 3-1/4 router - My Two Cents

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Review by MikeSpanky posted 06-20-2015 05:34 AM 6988 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The Hitachi 3-1/4 router - My Two Cents No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I purchased mine about a year ago with one purpose in mind, using it strictly for dovetails on a Leigh jig. When I pulled it from the box I knew I had made a poor choice on this one. Thirteen pounds is no easy tool to handle for any long period of time. I have terrible tendoitis and back trouble, and this thing was a monster. Nevertheless, the money was spent and I was gullible. Besides it had the POWER.

This router has a variable speed knob on one handle with easy access. It is a plunge router and there’s been times I needed that option. But for dovetail routing on a jig it wasn’t the best choice. I did find locking the plunge mechanism made it easier to set the depth with accuracy.

For those of you who’ve used a Leigh Super Jig, you know that the bits provided and recommended are 8mm which is a TWEENER size, not 1/2, not 1/4, but a good choice for lowering the possibility of an accidental bit breaking. Using the 1/2” collet however, you must add the 8mm adapter provided with the Leigh jig to make the bits fit. In my case every bit stuck everytime giving me a fit removing them. Each time, collet needed to be completely taken loose, along with the guide bushing and plate. Then I would have to pry the bit free. But get this, it worked perfect using the 1/4” and 1/2” collets. Not one bit hung with these. This scene of pounding on the collet to free the bits, became a hassle, so much, I stopped using the jig for several months.

A few weeks ago I ordered an 8mm collet from After arriving I thought my problem with sticky bits had been solved. And they were.

The Hitachi M12V2 router has never failed me power-wise. No matter what hardness of lumber I’ve set it to as long as I use good quality carbide bits, it cuts like butter. It is loud but no louder than any of the more powerful routers on the market today.

Even as great as all this is and even with finding the new 8mm collet for mine, I may sell it. Power is great in a router, but power’s not everything. If you’re a huge man or workout daily you may love this baby. Personally, I think its better use is screwed into a router table. If I keep mine it will serve as a backup to the Triton brand 3-1/4 HP that’s beneath my table, although the Triton is everything it was said to be. Well, that’s my take. It’s a great router with plenty of power, but certainly not your everyday tool.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View MikeSpanky's profile


179 posts in 2212 days

10 comments so far

View robscastle's profile


7323 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 06-20-2015 08:49 AM


Its just a thought but in regard to dovetail work you may benefit from having a look at the Gifkins Jig if you are suffering using a router.

-- Regards Rob

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3897 days

#2 posted 06-20-2015 10:54 AM

Why do you need such a big and heavy router for a dovetail jig?
A 2hp should be plenty.
I bought a 2HP Milwaukee combo on Amazon years ago, for a ridicule price, and it has served me well.

I have a 3 1/2 HP Bosch in my table and a small 1/4” rigid

-- Bert

View MrRon's profile


5931 posts in 4092 days

#3 posted 06-20-2015 03:59 PM

I have the older M12V router. It has been used a lot and the variable speed quit. I removed the VS module and re-wired it as a single speed. I hooked it up with a VS device from Harbor Freight and It works even better than before. I keep it mounted in my router table. Yes it is heavy to be used hand held. A smaller non-plunge router around <2 HP is perfectly adequate for a dovetail jig.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2273 days

#4 posted 06-21-2015 03:24 AM

I tend to agree with Bert. That is table router HP. I think I would suffer too and I do not have any joint problems.

-- Brad, Texas,

View MikeSpanky's profile


179 posts in 2212 days

#5 posted 06-21-2015 04:34 AM

Burt, and timbertailor, I did have in mind to use it for dovetails but also for my router table when I first purchased it. When money is low you do what is necessary. But later I added the Triton and liked it better for the table. I’ve used the Hitachi for some other projects but like you said a good 2 hp is probably better for dovetails. I only have those two with 1/2 collets. The other two are with 1/4 collets and both quite small. I’m getting a 2 hp soon which is why I won’t have a need for this one.
Hey Rob, I might look at that jig. One thing I’m learning about dovetail jigs is there are no two alike. But some offer designs others don’t which might be a good thing.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1926 posts in 2818 days

#6 posted 06-22-2015 02:53 AM

I have the same router and use it all the time hand held. I don’t think it’s a problem. I love that router. I don’t really do much of anything with a table

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View pintodeluxe's profile


6205 posts in 3662 days

#7 posted 06-22-2015 03:25 AM

I had the old M12V and had all kinds of trouble with it. Bits would slip, and the handles were very cheaply made. I am glad to see Hitachi has improved their quality. Usually a fixed router is preferred for a DT jig, because if the plunge lock slips the bit can contact the jig.
Thanks for the review.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View emiliof's profile


33 posts in 2842 days

#8 posted 06-22-2015 05:08 PM

I have the older M12V router. It has been used a lot and the variable speed quit. I removed the VS module and re-wired it as a single speed. I hooked it up with a VS device from Harbor Freight and It works even better than before. I keep it mounted in my router table.

- MrRon

I did exactly the same with my M12V2, whose VS module stopped working. This router also has a raising mechanism that can be operated from above the table with a 1/2 inch nut driver, but the nut is plastic and soon it got damaged. Apart from the external VS device, I installed the Router Raizer hardware for depth adjustment in my router table and I am very happy with the current setup.

-- Emilio

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6983 posts in 4043 days

#9 posted 06-30-2015 12:06 AM

I have 2 of the older M12V’s, prolly from the ‘90s….One in my router table, and the other I use for hand held purposes…..Both work really good, except I’ve noticed that the hand-held one is getting harder to plunge…It sticks when trying to plunge down, and don’t want to come back up….Burrs or rough spots on it…..Other than that, it does the job, and is a beast on the wood…..

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3653 days

#10 posted 06-30-2015 08:24 PM

I too have an older M12V. It lives in my router table. I like it there so far.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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