I need a router help me

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Forum topic by Bobthebuilder2 posted 03-10-2015 02:48 AM 2368 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 2225 days

03-10-2015 02:48 AM

Hello, ive been researching for a long while now and i seem to still not be getting very far. Everytime i read a review on a router or table saw, first thing i do is check the worst reviews, to find the major defects for it and recourring ones. Basically everything i look at has what seems to be major flaws.

Before i begin here, i should tell you a bit about myself. Im completely new to woodworking, just starting out. I want to build a machinists toolbox so i need to do boxjoints and/or dovetails, and things like that. I have a hand circular saw , and a jig saw, already, cheap stuff but it works. The very first thing i plan to do is make a router table/cabnet with drawers ect. Eventually id like to make a cabnet or 2 for my moms laundry room. I figuer this means i would most likely want one that can be put in a table, as well as used to plunge. i also seen a view video’s on inlaying on youtube, and that seemed like it might be fun to do once or twice

One question tho, is there an easy way to rig a router up, so its easy to take off the table and use it freehand? I understand multibase routers excel at this aspect, but from what im seeing, they also come with ALOT of problems to be able to do that.

So long story short, im not doing anything extreeme, yet. But for a purchase like this, where the entry models start so expensive, i wanted to do a lot of research and get this right the first time.

Bosch routers =

1.needs stupid adaptors for guides (more than one apparently, even more stupid)

2. in the case of the MRF23 product, apparently they have metal contacts in the base so they can have the trigger in a nice place, downside is this connection fails, motor goes bad, ect, ontop of this one person pointed out that you can’t use the motor for anything else but routing, not sure if id ever want to but who knows. They recently dropped the price, like yesterday, on this model, by about $50

3. no or few accessorys (circle guide, edge guide, ect)

4. with the 1617 model, apparently the base might have a “level” issue as someone complained about mutliple replacement bases being ‘crowned’

Dewalt =

1. bad motors apparently, and apparenlty alot of them since one review states the motors are backordered

2. “plug locks” breaking

3. motor housing breaking


1. the above table crank to rise the router, the part on the router is plastic, so it breaks quickly and you can’t use the lift anymore

2. think i read a few motor problems on these as well

porter cable=

1. most of the reviews consist of saying they “used” to be good but not anymore, motors going bad, ect.

and to save me some time, a little quote from one reviewer, not sure if i need to put his name for a quote but ill just put his initals M.F. and u can find the rest of it under the review for the 895K portercable router

“1. lateral deflection in the plunge base

2. backlash in the fixed base height adjustment

3. low-grade bearings in the motor

4. motor windings not varnished

I got a bit concerned, but decided to hold off on forming an opinion until I’d actually used the router.

After it arrived and I began using it, I started to notice things. First problem: as noted in the review I’d read, the plastic bushing on the non-locking shaft of the plunge base allowed an intolerable amount of movement, both vertical and horizontal. Second problem: due to the backlash in the height adjustment mechanism on the fixed base, the depth of cut would change during use. Third problem: when changing bit height the motor shifts in the base, causing between 1/32” and 1/8” in horizontal movement of the bit as well.”


1. switch failures

2. switch saftey, have to slide switch everytime u change bits

3. according to one person, dust can get on the plunge shafts and cause problems

4. if one needs repair work, apparently that can be a big problem finding a repair center

5. the router lift apparently had a plastic part, but was replaced to metal now, so that should be non issue


1. Costs the price of 2 routers

2. Because of the price, I would be worried to mount it in a table, in fear of it getting too dusty

So im feeling pretty stumped here, i don’t know if i should get one with multiple bases or not, fixed or plunge, i dunno im just lost.

I was almost set on the bosch when i seen the sale, but then i seen those stupid stupid adaptor plates, i just can’t wrap my head around that and me personally, it pisses me off that they would do that, it feels so much like a money grab

34 replies so far

View Garbanzolasvegas's profile


356 posts in 2277 days

#1 posted 03-10-2015 03:25 AM

I have a DEWALT DW618B3 12 Amp 2-1/4 Horsepower Plunge Base and Fixed Base I cant say enough about. It is quiet, powerful and heavy. It takes both 1/4 and 1/2 inch shafts/shanks.

I have NEVER been let down by DeWalt. I have a 12 year old DeWalt drill that just won’t quit and it is beaten up bad. Dropped, kicked, painted over and cursed! Every time I stray away from bDeWatt such as Kobalt and others I am always sorry!

I recently bought a cordless desalt drill driver for $250, and thought how did I live without this before.

My only complaint about my router is that it is the soft START WHICH IS GREAT, BUT you cant engage it again till it comes to a complete stop …..

-- If you don't Play, you can't win

View BurlyBob's profile


8685 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 03-10-2015 03:33 AM

Several years ago I upgraded from Sears to a Porter Cable 890 with a fixed base and a plunge base. That’s been about 10 years ago with no complaints. Trust me I’ve put it to very good use. The router is one of my preferred
power tools. I need a 2nd router for dovetails with my Leigh jig will probably go with P/C again.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6344 posts in 3864 days

#3 posted 03-10-2015 03:40 AM

People will write a bad review on Amazon if the box is dented. If you focus on the bad reviews, you will think they are all lemons. I have the Bosch 1617, PC 890 with vac grip base, a couple Freud FT1700’s, a Bosch and a PC trim router, a PC 450, a Dewalt 611, and two Dewalt 618’s.
I think the most valuable information is from people who have multiple tools at their disposal, and learning which tool they reach for. My favorite all around router is the Dewalt 618. It feels best in your hands, and performs flawlessly. From perfect fitting inlays, to dovetails, rabbets and dados, it will do them all.
The 611 compact router kit is also very handy.
The Freud excels in the router table. The PC routers feel heavy, and clunky for handheld use. The Bosch 1617 is hard to remove the base.
Bottom line, get a 618 at Lowes with an extended warranty if you have reliability concerns. Both of mine have worked flawlessly for years.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

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

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4281 days

#4 posted 03-10-2015 04:29 AM

My router inventory includes a pair of Bosch 1617 combo kits, a Triton 3 1/4hp router and the Dewalt 611PK compact router. I use them all.

I am retired and a woodworking hobbyist.
Here is my main router table/multifunction workstation.

Feel free to check out my projects. Maybe you will get some inspiration.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 2387 days

#5 posted 03-10-2015 04:43 AM

Bosch 1617 evs with plunge and fixed base here. Bullet proof ten years. They sell an adapter that fits porter cable bushings. I bought a clear base plate that accepts PC bushings without an adapter. I.e. screw in adapters. I have a big Porter Cable mounted in my router table. Work horse and also bullet proof going on 10 years as well.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 4121 days

#6 posted 03-10-2015 04:54 AM

Nobody needs just one router! Eventually you’ll want a second one so you can leave one in the table all the time, then a third and fourth and fifth one so you aren’t constantly swapping bits. For your first router, buy a popular 2+ HP model like the Bosch 1617EVS or PC 890 or DeWalt. Whatever you spend on your routers, it will be a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ll eventually spend on good bits.

I remember reading about a lot of problems with the DeWalt motors burning up but I always wondered if perhaps the brushes just needed to be replaced.

My first router was the 1617EVSPK which included the fixed and plunge bases. The fixed base is identical to the dedicated under-table base with the exception that the fixed base has handles. It has above-table adjustment and I’ve never removed the base from my router table, though I do sometimes remove the motor from the fixed base and put it in the plunge base. I’ve heard of the Bosch router table top being out-of-flat but hadn’t heard of a crowned base issue. I haven’t noticed an issue with mine but it never even crossed my mind to check. I would skip buying Bosch’s stupid template adapters. You can make your own replacement sub-base or buy one from Rockler which is compatible with template guide bushings. You’ll also need to buy or make a centering cone, which will cost you almost $6 on Amazon.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View mandatory66's profile


202 posts in 3181 days

#7 posted 03-10-2015 05:12 AM

It’s hard to determine quality today as people are brand dedicated but for example Stanley owns Black & Decker who owns Dewalt and Porter cable. The tools are made in various countries mostly in China ,Mexico and Asia. I cherish my old tools that were made in the USA when Companies cared about their reputation’s. Today I try and find a brand that the construction trade uses such a Dewalt and take my chances. In fact some of the stuff made today I look at as throwaway, If I buy a router and get 3- 5 years out of it well thats the way it goes, if I get 15 years lucky me. I have a craftsman drill that I own since 1965 it is on its third cord but it still runs like new. We are in the new world market and it’s not going to change. Put your money down & take your choice. (and pray a little)

View Andre's profile (online now)


4442 posts in 2856 days

#8 posted 03-10-2015 05:17 AM

I just picked up a Rigid 2 hp. combo. kit for about $200.00. My 20 year old Ryobi that was in my Lee Valley Router stand finally broke! Safety switch interlock on the blade lock broke, anyways a while back I had picked up a Rigid Palm router for free hand jobs and quite impressed with value for Dollars. Just saying for the price of 1 router you could get the plunge feature includes which for myself was a waste but do like the Rigid brand so far, more than enough power, simple to use, more feature than I need, great warranty and very quiet.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3743 days

#9 posted 03-10-2015 05:28 AM

I read where you posted someone said they were having trouble with their Porter Cable routers but I’ve had no issues mine. I’m currently using the 2.25 hp versions for close to ten years now with no problems. I purchased the plunge/screw base, one motor kit. I soon after that purchased another of the same model but a single screw base and motor. That was one of my best router decisions I ever made. It allowed me to leave a screw base in my router table while I still could use the other screw base without removing and reinstalling a base in the table. The 2.25 hp models I’ve been using are the made in Mexico versions. Before I had a couple 1.75 hp versions made in Tennessee that preformed flawlessly for many, many years.

Prior to that I had a couple Craftsman and a Skil, they were okay but not nearly the router the Porter Cables are.

One of the biggest reasons I’ve liked the Porter Cable is the collect design. You can use two wrenches for bit installation and removal. Some routers use a lockout button that is easily broken. There is nothing like having a router with a bit stuck in the collet and then damaging the router because of the difficulty of trying to remove it. Or just having to leave the bit in the router because you can’t get it out. I’ve never had that problem with the Porter Cable collets. The other reason I like the Porter Cables are router accessories. Most of what’s out there fits Porter Cable. Guide bushings, dovetail jigs, etc. They’ve been around the longest, you don’t have to use adapters has much.

Look for router brands that have a collet with a c-clip made onto them. These are the ones that are easier to get the bit out of. Also look for a brand that will give you both sizes of collets, 1/2”& 1/4” with the router. The 1/4” bits are cheaper and a good place to start. Eventually you will want to do bigger projects and the 1/2” bits will be required. And a router with a variable speed motor is good, it allows you to slow down the bit. This allows the bit to run cooler and last longer.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View REO's profile


929 posts in 3124 days

#10 posted 03-10-2015 09:55 AM

several of your problems are reported as “one person said” I wonder how many compared their results to other machines. “Motor goes bad” wondering how the machine was used. Different situations would be considered using the machine lightly or heavy use and then there is abuse. I had a friend borrow a 3 hp makita from me to do some “trim work” he brought it back cooked. he had used it to “trim” the 2×6 flooring on the edges of hid deck flush with a bearing piloted bit. not what it was intended for. he complained that the router was a piece of junk. I still have two more 12 years old going strong. He doesn’t get to borrow tools anymore. I have Triton, Makita craftsman, Porter cable even masterforce. All good machines.

View fuigb's profile


593 posts in 4008 days

#11 posted 03-10-2015 01:50 PM

Im completely new to woodworking, just starting out.

If this is true then you’re really overthinking things. Positives & negatives come with all tools, and at this stage of your hobby most of the differences will be totally lost on you. I don’t say this to be discouraging. On the contrary, I’m saying buy what you can find and can afford because today those shortcomings just don’t matter to you.

Ever notice how you can totally enjoy a movie that is panned by critics? This is because you probably see a handful of films every year while those pros probably see a couple every day and thereby see and look for things that are lost on mere mortals. Same thing applies to tools at this stage of the game for you. I say that you should just go with your gut and have a blast. Pick up an old 1617 at a garage sale or (as I did at the outset) a shiny Ward’s PowerKraft and go to town. Whatever you end up with for a first tool is going to feel like fire did to Prometheus.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 4035 days

#12 posted 03-10-2015 02:10 PM

As with all manufactured items, some routers escape the factory with faulty components or other defects. If you took the same route with cars, you would never buy one! I have the dual base Bosch 1617 kit and love it. It’s been used a lot over the last 5 or 8 years or however long I’ve had it. Sure it doesn’t have the standard template bushing opening, but how many times have I missed having that feature? Maybe once. As for the few accessories, I make a lot of my own: circle jig, radius jig, binding jig, planing sled, etc. The Porter Cable 690 has been around forever and is a well like router as well. You will never learn what you really like/need/want if you don’t start with something. Are there things I would change about my router in a perfect world? Sure, but I have learned to work around them and enjoy the things it does really well.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4628 days

#13 posted 03-10-2015 03:33 PM

Hi Bob
Welcome to Ljs
I have 48 routers,many are Porter cables and have served me well for years.I have heard reports that PC routers are not what the use since their made in China now, be but based on the my experience with the American made PC routers I strongly recommend them.
I like PC 690 “D” handle routers for better control and suggest to my students that whatever brand they buy they think about the “D” handle versions. Whatever brand you buy may have some kind of problem over time. There are many brands of routers that I see folks on LJs Recommend PC 690,Bosch 1617, Hitachi M12VC i and both size Tritons seem to top the list.


View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2536 days

#14 posted 03-10-2015 04:10 PM

Think about it. You can buy a $60k BMW and have problems with it. You gotta take the leap sooner or later.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4281 days

#15 posted 03-10-2015 06:10 PM

For simple routing jobs such as edge trimming or cutting shallow dadoes, the DeWalt 611PK compact router combo (or similar brand such as Porter Cable), is light and easy to use.

Fixed base mounted on a flush trim jig.

For every day routing where a little more oomph is needed, the 2.25hp Bosch 1617EVSPK Combo is a good choice. I use it to cut half blind dovetails during drawer construction, and in the past, for making raised panel doors. The “EVS” in the model name stands for “electronic variable speed”. It also has soft start feature so it doesn’t jerk out of your hands when started.

I have a fixed base mounted under the router table and use the plunge base for handheld operations. Swapping the motor between the two bases is easy. Just release the locking lever, give the motor a quarter turn and pull it out.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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