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Router needed????

1349 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  intelligen
I am fed up with my old antiquated c*sman router and am looking to purchase a new router. I am trying to decide on a brand first and foremost but am also wondering if I really need a plunge router base or if I should just get a fixed base and leave it with that. I think the only time I used my plunge in the bast when I was using a circle jig.

I am getting more and more into wood working but still not sure if needed.

Please help me in my dilemma's.

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Yes you do, get a combo kit with a 2 1/4 HP motor and have a setup that will satisfy 99% of your router needs. Lots of good choices out there, the Bosch 1617 is a really popular one and well made. My preference is the Milwaukee 5616 but it may cost a little more than the Bosch.
The Bosch 1617 is an outstanding package, although I'm looking closely at the 15 amp Bosch MRC23, myself.
A router is the most versatile tool in the shop IMO. A combo kit would be a great addition to your arsenol. Like Fred, I'm also very fond the Milwaukee, and find their plunge base to be one of the best I've used (though I don't use the plunge too often). Bosch, PC, Hitachi, Makita, DW, are all great routers. Even the new Cman routers get good marks for value.
I retired my old Craftsman router for the Bosch 1617. I'm happy with it. I also have the Bosch colt that I actually use more for handheld tasks than the 1617. The fixed base for the 1617 stays in my router table and I use the plunge base when I need it outside of the table. I can swap the motor from the plunge base to the table in about 10 seconds, which is really nice. You're probably going to get annoyed down the road if you need to do handheld and table-mounted routing, and have to remount the router in the table every time because you only have one base. They also make a nice-looking table base for the 1617, but I haven't needed it yet.
I paid around $150 for the Bosch 1617EVSPK (with plunge and fixed bases) around Christmas a couple years ago, but it's regularly on sale around $180-$200. The fixed base stays in my router table and I use the plunge base for everything else. Note that the separate under-table base you can buy for the 1617 is the fixed base without the handles.

A couple minor things I don't like so much are the position of the on/off switch and the fact that you have to use 2 wrenches to loosen/tighten the collet. The 2 wrenches are mostly a pain when the motor is installed in the router table. A trigger on the handle would be a lot nicer (not sure if any other plunge bases offer that, but I've seen some D-handle bases that do), and a spindle lock would potentially make it easier to change bits.

Other than those couple of minor gripes, I'm really happy with the router itself. If you decide to buy a router table instead of building one, though, stay away from the sub-$200 ones (aside from maybe the Kreg benchtop router table). I bought the higher-end Bosch router table with a metal tabletop and it's a piece of junk. (Read the negative Amazon reviews.) I also could have made a router table myself in less time than it took to sort all the hardware and assemble the router table.
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