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Is a Router Worth It?

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Forum topic by Croikee posted 01-09-2021 07:02 PM 1058 views 0 times favorited 72 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Croikee

59 posts in 136 days


01-09-2021 07:02 PM

Hey all,

My wife just suggested I get a early birthday present (Birthday is in May so I must have done something REALLY right!) and I was thinking about getting a router. I’m wondering if it is worth it, if it can help me make more secure joints than pocket screws, and at this point if that is the best investment for me. Here is what I have so far:

Miter Saw, circular saw, orbital sander, HVLP system, drill/driver set, various hammers & clamps, dowel jig

My limitations:

1) Super new to woodworking. I ruin more than I make.
2) My “shop” is our garage when I move the cars out
3) No room for a table saw unless it was a cheaper compact jobsite saw and I hear those are not worth the money for finishing etc, and it cost $300

So, would a router be worth it? What would I use it for? How often do you use yours?

Finally, this is what I was looking at:https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-1617EVSPK-Woodworking-Router-Combo/dp/B00005RHPD/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2KNRKT9JPSTEI&dchild=1&keywords=bosch+router+bit+set&qid=1610215719&s=hi&sprefix=Bosch+router+bit%2Ctools%2C201&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyMjRCU1hVRzNRRlE2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTUzNDk0Mk9OWUNDS0xPODlMSyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwOTY4MTQ1M1QxOEFZNkg1TE5TWiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=


72 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6742 posts in 3467 days


#1 posted 01-09-2021 07:04 PM

Are you kidding? My routers are probably my favorite tools. The combo you picked out is considered an excellent one. Get it and a few bits and be prepared to start figuring out what the next router will be.

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

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Walker

441 posts in 1446 days


#2 posted 01-09-2021 07:13 PM

The 1617 pack is a gateway drug. Soon you’ll have routers littered all over your shop. I don’t think a single person on this site will tell you a router is not worth it. You’ll use it every single day in the shop. And since you don’t have a table saw (yet, you will) it can replace many functions you would do on a table saw.

I use mine mostly for roundovers, dadoes, and slot cutting. But there are almost unlimited uses. You can joint edges with it, make mortises, hinge mortise, keyholes, raised panels, inlays, lettering/sign making, tongue and groove, cut circles, chamfers, cut patterns…. and the list goes on.

-- ~Walker

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Croikee

59 posts in 136 days


#3 posted 01-09-2021 07:13 PM



Are you kidding? My routers are probably my favorite tools. The combo you picked out is considered an excellent one. Get it and a few bits and be prepared to start figuring out what the next router will be.

- Fred Hargis

Nope Fred, not kidding, I really am new to this. I ruined my first attempt at a dowel joint, and have lots of scraps from “trying to figure stuff out.” This tool and bits would be around $300 so want to make sure it is a worthy investment.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1917 posts in 3291 days


#4 posted 01-09-2021 07:15 PM

If you want dust collection, the DeWalt 618 combo set is a better option. The plunge base has a vacuum port build into one of the tubes.

DeWalt 618 Combo Set

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

View Croikee's profile

Croikee

59 posts in 136 days


#5 posted 01-09-2021 07:19 PM



The 1617 pack is a gateway drug. Soon you ll have routers littered all over your shop. I don t think a single person on this site will tell you a router is not worth it. You ll use it every single day in the shop.

I use mine mostly for roundovers, dadoes, and slot cutting. But there are almost unlimited uses. You can joint edges with it, make mortises, hinge mortise, keyholes, raised panels, inlays, lettering/sign making, tongue and groove, cut circles, chamfers, cut patterns…. and the list goes on.

- Walker

Thanks Walker, I know Routers are worth it but I’m wondering if this is the best/wise next piece of equipment given what I have, and the space limitations etc. Thanks!


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Walker

441 posts in 1446 days


#6 posted 01-09-2021 07:24 PM

About bits, there are many choices and they can get expensive fast. The general advice is usually to buy one of those cheap combination sets (like 24pcs or 40pcs) with all of the most common types and sizes, like straight bits, round over, chamfer, edge flushing, ogee, cove, etc. I started with this one: https://www.shars.com/products/cutting/router-bits/24-pc-hickory-deluxe-wood-router-set-1-4-shank

Cheap bits don’t cut the best and quickly dull. But you’ll figure out which ones you use most often. When each one wears out or breaks, you replace that individual one with a nicer one. Whiteside bits I find are the best value, meaning good quality but not terribly expensive.

-- ~Walker

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

1357 posts in 1153 days


#7 posted 01-09-2021 07:32 PM

I hate the 1617. I’ve had 2. Both have had issues from the start. Motors are very reliable, bases suck. I would look elsewhere.

Honestly i would look at the dewalt 7485 table saw. It’s more money but still affordable. For tools under 500$, much more useful than router if you don’t have a table saw. It’s very accurate and cuts great.

View Walker's profile

Walker

441 posts in 1446 days


#8 posted 01-09-2021 07:32 PM

Routers and table saws are probably the most versatile tools in the shop, and both are always a good next tool to add. While you are saving up and making room for a table saw, in the meantime a router will certainly get you the most bang for your buck while not taking up a ton of space.

If joints are giving you trouble, a router has many solutions. Dadoes and rabbets are easy joints to make with a router. A 45 chamfer bit will allow you to make mitered corner joints. A slot cutting bit can be used for tongue and groove joints. If you have a long straight edge, and a good strait bit or flush cutting bit, you can joint edge boards for glue up.

-- ~Walker

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bondogaposis

5933 posts in 3325 days


#9 posted 01-09-2021 07:51 PM

Just one? I think I have 5 when I last counted. Very versatile tool, I can’t think of a single project that I have ever made where I didn’t use a router at least once.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Croikee

59 posts in 136 days


#10 posted 01-09-2021 07:55 PM

Wait you can use a router as a planer too? How in the world does that happen? Do most basic router bit sets come with the bit needed for daddos and mortise and tenon? Thanks for all the help everyone

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6742 posts in 3467 days


#11 posted 01-09-2021 08:45 PM

Dadoes only need a straight bit. Typically a fluted bit, and you get a smoother cut (generally speaking) if it has a 1/2” shaft. (The 1617 has both 1/4” and 1/2” collets.) Mortises are best cut with a bit that can plunge cut, some fluted bits can do this if they have a special cutting edge on the bottom of the bit, but a better choice is a spiral bit (more expensive). Tenons can be cut with a router, but it’s a hell of a lot easier on a TS (or a router table). I think the reference above was about jointing with a router, not planing. Uou can plane with a router ….but it’s not something you want to do all that often. It takes a bridge and some rails to support the bridge, just not a lot of fun and best reserved for things like flattening a slab or such.

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

View dbw's profile

dbw

496 posts in 2611 days


#12 posted 01-09-2021 08:46 PM

I had a table saw before I had a router. My TS is still the work horse. I wound up adding a table extension with a Craftsman Professional (Bosch) router mounted upside down on a plate which then sat in the extension. It was a PITA to set the depth. If I needed to use the router freehand I would take it off the extension. Very time consuming but it was all I had. I have since graduated to a Porter Cable 7518 router motor mounted in a Woodpeckers lift. I sold the Craftsman and I purchased a Festool OF1400. The Festool and the PC both run circles around the Craftsman. They are a pleasure to use and they are extremely accurate.

There are numerous ways to skin this cat. It all depends on how much money you have/want to spend. I have figured out woodworking is like a black hole: Now matter how much money you spend there’s always something more you can buy.

-- Measure twice, cut once. If you cut it too short get a wood stretcher.

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Woodmaster1

1617 posts in 3561 days


#13 posted 01-09-2021 08:52 PM

I just counted my routers yesterday because my neighbor remark about how many I have. I have 9 routers 3 trim and six full size. Three of the full size are in router tables. I have the Kreg full size, portable router tables and a home made router table with the Incra super fence system. I got the portable table because I give presentations at my woodworking club or my local woodworking store. Taking the full size router table was a pain. Router tables one has a Kreg lift another has a Triton router which comes with its own lift and the third has a porter cable 690 installed. Plenty of overkill but I don’t change bits very often. 5 of my routers cost $5 apiece another was given to me and I bought three. Yes you need a router and buy bits as you need them don’t buy a multi bit set because you will never use all of them.

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987Ron

230 posts in 290 days


#14 posted 01-09-2021 08:55 PM

Would not, could not be without my Bosch routers (3).

-- It's not a mistake it's a design opportunity

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WoodenDreams

1224 posts in 885 days


#15 posted 01-09-2021 10:16 PM

Sounds like you don’t have a table saw, because of space issues. In my son-in-laws shop, all of his equipment is benchtop models. Sure, a floor model table saw would be more accurate. But he does some rather nice work with benchtop equipment. Personally with no extra space, I’d get a benchtop table saw first (you can store it under a workbench), jig saw, and then the router. You don’t need high end tools at first. You can always upgrade later if you decide. A router like this saves on budget, and would be good to start with. https://www.menards.com/main/tools/power-tools/routers/masterforce-reg-2-1-2-hp-digital-variable-speed-plunge-and-fixed-base-router-combo-kit/2410835/p-1454046377621-c-10087.htm?tid=-9052271100902436789&ipos=9. I recommend a minimum; 2 1/4hp, variable speed (to adjust speed for the diameter of the router bit) and with fixed & plunge base. I started with a Craftsman similar to this one. Had It for ten years and still does a good job. https://www.menards.com/main/tools/power-tools/routers/performax-reg-2-hp-variable-speed-fixed-base-router/2411463/p-1454046377207-c-10087.htm?tid=2415287240296335662&ipos=27. A router surely adds to what you can do. Even if it’s in a inexpensive benchtop router table. I now have four routers (one in a router table).

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