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Forum topic by cmacnaughton posted 10-28-2019 02:08 PM 675 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


10-28-2019 02:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router

I have a 20 year old Porter-Cable 690 kit with fixed and plunge bases that’s been well-used. The fixed base is attached to a router table and I use the plunge base for everything else. I have been pretty happy with it, but in the past year I’ve gotten into woodworking more and am thus calling on this venerable router to do more and more and finding it’s limitations as I do so. I probably use it 60% of the time in the table for round-overs, rabbets, and trimming, and 40% by hand for dadoes and mortises.

Particularly the limitations are: it is not variable speed and I find myself burning end-grain in hardwoods. The plunge base is problematic, specifically the poorly-designed locking mechanism (hex bolt with a sticky cam), and the spring on the release handle has a tendency to pop out at inopportune times.

My budget is limited, so that will affect my choice of upgrades. I’m not really asking for opinions on brands because everyone has a different opinion on that. What am am asking for advice on is: Do I get a larger (2 hp +/-) router primarily for table use? If I can’t afford a lift right now (I can’t), how good are the various above-table adjustment mechanisms for Triton, PC or Bosch? If I go that route, how much bulkier are these for handheld use compared to the relatively light PC 690? Or would it make sense to just get a larger fixed-base router for the table and continue to use the old PC until I can afford a nice trim router like the Dewalt 611. Would that small router be sufficient for most handheld applications (mortises specifically) or would I need more power?

Thanks for indulging me.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice


23 replies so far

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2658 posts in 2877 days


#1 posted 10-28-2019 02:18 PM

My Bosch 1617evs in the fixed base adjusts well in the router table. Requires dropping to the right range and then adjusting. Great for hobby use.

Take a look at the HF trim router. For ~&30 its an HF gem. Takes patience to get the right depth and not vs, but vs not really needed for small bit trim work.

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cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


#2 posted 10-28-2019 02:26 PM



My Bosch 1617evs in the fixed base adjusts well in the router table. Requires dropping to the right range and then adjusting. Great for hobby use.

Take a look at the HF trim router. For ~&30 its an HF gem. Takes patience to get the right depth and not vs, but vs not really needed for small bit trim work.

- OSU55


Thanks for the insight. I need a plunge base for the trim router if I’m using it for mortises. Does the HF come with a plunge base?

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6515 posts in 3381 days


#3 posted 10-28-2019 04:23 PM

I would go with the bigger motor (the 13 amp, usually labeled 2 1/4 HP) for your first option. I’m only familiar with the Milwaukee fixed base and the Triton relative to table mounts. The Milwaukee is very good, but the Triton has above the table access that I think you won’t find on the others. Of course, the Triton is a plunge only router…so pulling it out for handheld use might be a lot more cumbersome. I kinda like your plan B, get a larger router for the table and use the 690 for handheld use…they are very good for that service. Throw the Milwaukee 5625 into your considerations for a big router is you go that way.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1772 posts in 3737 days


#4 posted 10-28-2019 04:38 PM

Take a look at Router Raiser
It can modify most all plunge routers to an above the table adjust feature. I’ve got it in my 3.5hp PC plunge that is unfortunately discontinued, but as a hobbyist I’ve never been disappointed by it.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


#5 posted 10-28-2019 04:57 PM



I would go with the bigger motor (the 13 amp, usually labeled 2 1/4 HP) for your first option. I m only familiar with the Milwaukee fixed base and the Triton relative to table mounts. The Milwaukee is very good, but the Triton has above the table access that I think you won t find on the others. Of course, the Triton is a plunge only router…so pulling it out for handheld use might be a lot more cumbersome. I kinda like your plan B, get a larger router for the table and use the 690 for handheld use…they are very good for that service. Throw the Milwaukee 5625 into your considerations for a big router is you go that way.

- Fred Hargis


Thanks, Fred. That was my thought on the Triton as well…what good is “dual mode” if it’s a pain to take off the table every time you want to use it hand-held?


Take a look at Router Raiser
It can modify most all plunge routers to an above the table adjust feature. I ve got it in my 3.5hp PC plunge that is unfortunately discontinued, but as a hobbyist I ve never been disappointed by it.

- ChefHDAN


Thanks, Dan. That would certainly be an option if I already had a good router for table use. I’d be loath to spend nearly $100 to raise my 20 year old, 1-3/4 HP single-speed router from above the table. I can get the Bosch 1617 w/ fixed base for just $49 more and it is adjustable from above…and includes a brand new router!

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6214 posts in 3701 days


#6 posted 10-28-2019 06:14 PM

The 611 is nice. I have a couple of them, and use them often. I would get a 2-1/4 hp kit first. They can handle just about any task you’d dream up.

1/4” collet being the main limitation of the trim routers.

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

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


#7 posted 10-28-2019 06:35 PM



The 611 is nice. I have a couple of them, and use them often. I would get a 2-1/4 hp kit first. They can handle just about any task you d dream up.

1/4” collet being the main limitation of the trim routers.

- pintodeluxe


Thanks…I am leaning toward that timeline, and getting the trim router “eventually.”

Having seen the results of the recent Incra and Sawstop posts, I’m reticent to ask for brand suggestions, haha. Leaning toward the PC 895, or the Bosch 1617, given that both allow for above-table adjustments and will fit the existing holes in my router plate.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2890 posts in 1491 days


#8 posted 10-28-2019 11:58 PM

If it were me and I had the money for a new router I’d use that money to buy a Craigslist Bosch or PC and a lift. Being able to adjust the depth with a lift vs using the fixed base in the table is, to me, invaluable and worth the investment. Unless you’re doing production work the hp of those routers are fine IMHO. Just remember that the 911 can only accommodate 1/4” bits. I have a PC that lives in the table and a 1617 and a 911 for handheld work. The PC is not variable speed but for the one or two times every 2 years that I need to slow it down I break out the cheapie HF variable speed controller. Usually, burning is a result of either a dull bit or moving the stock too slow across the bit or trying to take too big of a cut. What I have always wanted was a D-handle for my Bosch like they make for a PC. Turns out they make one that is for the 1618 that fits the 1617 that I bought for $25 from a LJ member. Using that and a Bosch edge guide works well for me.

I also have a $25 HF trim router that a 3/8” round-over lives in.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


#9 posted 10-29-2019 12:12 AM


If it were me and I had the money for a new router I d use that money to buy a Craigslist Bosch or PC and a lift. Being able to adjust the depth with a lift vs using the fixed base in the table is, to me, invaluable and worth the investment. Unless you re doing production work the hp of those routers are fine IMHO. Just remember that the 911 can only accommodate 1/4” bits. I have a PC that lives in the table and a 1617 and a 911 for handheld work. The PC is not variable speed but for the one or two times every 2 years that I need to slow it down I break out the cheapie HF variable speed controller. Usually, burning is a result of either a dull bit or moving the stock too slow across the bit or trying to take too big of a cut. What I have always wanted was a D-handle for my Bosch like they make for a PC. Turns out they make one that is for the 1618 that fits the 1617 that I bought for $25 from a LJ member. Using that and a Bosch edge guide works well for me.

I also have a $25 HF trim router that a 3/8” round-over lives in.

- Andybb


Believe me, I’ve been looking on CL and FB. Around here there are a lot of Craftsman and Ryobi routers and not much else. And the occasional PC 690 which I obviously don’t need. I haven’t seen a lift once in 6 months.

As for burning, it happened on hard maple with a brand new Whiteside bit. I may have been going too slow, because it burned on the last end where I was worried about tear out and slowed down as a result. Thanks.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2890 posts in 1491 days


#10 posted 10-29-2019 01:47 AM


Believe me, I’ve been looking on CL and FB. Around here there are a lot of Craftsman and Ryobi routers and not much else. And the occasional PC 690 which I obviously don’t need. I haven’t seen a lift once in 6 months.

As for burning, it happened on hard maple with a brand new Whiteside bit. I may have been going too slow, because it burned on the last end where I was worried about tear out and slowed down as a result. Thanks.

- cmacnaughton

I was thinking a new lift and a used router.

Here’s 2 1617’s somewhere near you depending how far you want to drive.
1617
1617

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6485 posts in 1462 days


#11 posted 10-29-2019 03:42 AM

Love a D handle for edge work. I’ve always felt more in control of them, than those Mickey Mouse knobs so frequently used.

I have a variety of them used in tables, but I am fondest of a Triton 3 1/4. I just haven’t been able to pony up the grand plus I see most of the big tables, with lifts, and 3+ HP loose routers to go in a lift. The Triton can work in a lot of scenarios all across the price spectrum, offers above table adjustment, plenty of power, and for me they have worked without fail.

I also have a 2 1/2 Triton for times I need a plunge out of a table. That works well too. I once tried counting all the routers laying around. I gave up when it was apparent I have a router problem….....

-- Think safe, be safe

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2890 posts in 1491 days


#12 posted 10-29-2019 03:52 AM



Love a D handle for edge work. I ve always felt more in control of them, than those Mickey Mouse knobs so frequently used.

- therealSteveN

Yep!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


#13 posted 10-29-2019 04:12 AM


I was thinking a new lift and a used router.

Here s 2 1617 s somewhere near you depending how far you want to drive.
1617
1617

- Andybb


Ah that makes more sense. Probably more than I can afford at the moment, even for the cheaper Jess Em lift.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

221 posts in 532 days


#14 posted 10-29-2019 04:13 AM



Love a D handle for edge work. I ve always felt more in control of them, than those Mickey Mouse knobs so frequently used.

I have a variety of them used in tables, but I am fondest of a Triton 3 1/4. I just haven t been able to pony up the grand plus I see most of the big tables, with lifts, and 3+ HP loose routers to go in a lift. The Triton can work in a lot of scenarios all across the price spectrum, offers above table adjustment, plenty of power, and for me they have worked without fail.

I also have a 2 1/2 Triton for times I need a plunge out of a table. That works well too. I once tried counting all the routers laying around. I gave up when it was apparent I have a router problem….....

- therealSteveN


Thanks, Steve. Having a router problem is better than having a no-router problem!

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2890 posts in 1491 days


#15 posted 10-29-2019 04:54 AM


Love a D handle for edge work. I ve always felt more in control of them, than those Mickey Mouse knobs so frequently used.

- therealSteveN

Yep!

The reason I love a lift so much is for making minute adjustments. A lift with a fine adjustment knob can divide an inch into 232nds. of an inch. May seem like overkill but when you are doing things like lock miter joints it matters when trying to line it up.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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