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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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Default New Router my way

Hi,

I am posting this in several parts.

This is strictly FYI (for your information) and I am not interested in debate of issues related to the hows and whys. If you have questions I will try to answer them as I can.

I’ve just added a new router to my shop. Since we have a lot of new people here and we are always providing information on which router to buy… what type, fixed/plunge bases combos, that sort of thing, I will tell you how I decided on the router I got.



First a little background. I have had a router since about 1976, I got a commercial Craftsman ¼” chuck rated at 1-½ HP. I used this for a number of years mostly with the old HSS bits. (I got a table, dovetail jig and lots of other attachments within the next couple of years) When I felt I was being limited by the selection of bits and carbide bits were getting cheaper I made a move to a Porter Cable 690. This is a fixed base with both ¼” and ½” collets. While it too was rated at 1-½ HP it was a lot stronger router then the Craftsman. I got tired of dealing with not having the plunge base so I added that a short time latter and started buying ½” shank carbide bits. The biggest change during all this was the new bits… A major improvement! But the router was also a big upgrade so I became a lot more interested in routing. I was doing a lot of projects where a smaller route would work better so I added a Porter Cable laminate router. About this same time I became more interested in a larger router (more HP and variable speed to spin larger bits). I added a 3-½ HP variable speed and another table. (This router weighs in at 12.8 pounds and I leave it in the table 100% of the time). I then came across a really good deal on another Porter Cable 690 (75-anniversary model) so I bought it. Sometime around this time I noticed how Norm liked using a D-handle so I added that base to my collection. Yes I have a couple Dremal tools and rotozips but I don’t really think of them as routers….



I was happy with what I had and then I started watching the router workshop… shop envy, router envy, but I began seeing that it would only be a mater of time before I added another router. Then came this forum, I knew the more I thought about routers the more I could figure out to do with them and them more I could justify adding a new one.



OK we are to the place where I explain my choice. The first thing I did is to decide on how I wanted to use this router that is “what it would be for”. The prime use for me would be as a general router, it would free up one of the other router to be table mounted, and it would my “main” router. I guess this means that if I did not have another router this is the one I would buy.

Last edited by Mike; 02-25-2007 at 12:43 AM.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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PART 2

Since I do have other routers and have guide bushings and other Porter Cable attachments I first started looking at them. They have some newer models then mine and have a lot of improvements. Without getting to far into this I found the price becoming prohibitive, I had set a limit of about $200 US and the kit I liked was about $70 more then this.

At this point I decide to figure out what features I really wanted and when back to ground zero to do this. I wanted lightweight, more HP, maybe something about 2 HP*, a plunge and fixed base, soft start, variable speed. Collets for both ¼” and ½” bits, the ability to use pc style guide bushing, name brand… And then there was the “feel” of the router; it had to feel good in my hands.
*(My shop is a garage and very often the drive way in front of the garage. I often have to use a drop cord to an outlet in the back of the garage for my portable tools, which ends up being a 50-foot run. I have a 14-gauge cord, which limits me to about 12 amps.)

Time to go do a little “window shopping”. Maybe that should be “computer monitor window shopping”... After looking at several models and finding they sure don’t give you a lot of the details like weights and things online I did manage to narrow my list down to a couple of models, ones that were in the price range and had features that were on my list. Again a lot of questions were unanswered at this point.

I then went to the stores and took a look at the 4 contenders. Two of them dropped off the list but another was added. Out of this short, lets call them B, P and H, I found that I like the feel of the fixed base of B but the plunge did not feel right to me. The P was to my liking but I like the feel of H best. Since the B seemed to be a popular one on the board I went to another store a few day later to see if another one would have a different feel. The store only had two of the models but the feel on the B was better… Keep this in mind when shopping, things get dropped or messed with so don’t pass judgment based on a single one in the store. I then went to a third store and did the same general things, felt the weight, grip, and switch position, plunge action, adjustments. This was beginning to get a lot harder then I first thought it was going to be.

Last edited by Mike; 02-25-2007 at 12:43 AM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Part 3

I could live with any of the three, but the best feel for me was the H, so that got a check mark on that. One was rated a little lower on the HP so it got a minus for that. When I was all done the list was down to 2. At this point the price was $200 US but I had not tried to get find the “best” price yet. I will admit the H was no. 1 and the B was in second place before this started. The H won hands down on the price. The biggest negative on this was the lack or reviews as it was a new model. One more look at them, one more check on prices, and one more look for a review.

I never did find the review but then I found a second B with an issue with the plunge at yet another store. At this point the H looked like the winner but I still had to find order it and when I did I found a place with an additional $25 off. So the H with shipping tax and router was $158.??.

I ordered it, it arrived, I played with it and gave it a test spin…… it is even better then I expected with a lot of surprises, all of them good one!

Ed

Last edited by Mike; 02-25-2007 at 12:44 AM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 05:25 AM
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Ed, Hopefully people new to routing will get the chance to read this and follow your example. With so many quality choices it's tough to make a decision. Spending the time to really check out which router feels the best in your hands and which features are right for you is well worth it. I had the opportunity to check out H and it seems like a sweet little machine. I still prefer the feel of my favorite in my hands, it was the best solution for my needs. Congrats on the new addition! (Are you passing out cigars? )

Mike
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 09:00 AM
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i will definately keep this in mind when i decide to upgrade my router!!!! thank you reible!!!!!!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 12:28 PM
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Congrats on your new purchase Ed. Hope you will enjoy it very much.
Thanks for giving your detailed discription of your selection process. It should help a newbe make a good decision.
And if you are passing out cigars, like Mike wants, I don't smoke, but I do drink! Diet Rite cola.

Dave
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In woodworking there is no scrap, only firewood.



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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry no cigars.... for one thing it's bad for your health besides I just spend this and next months allowance.

Ed

Last edited by Mike; 02-25-2007 at 12:45 AM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 12:01 AM
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Well darn! I wanted one of those yellow bubble gum cigars!

Mike
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 10:09 PM
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Thanks so much! It's really interesting to read about the entire process. I have found reviews to be very helpful when making purchases like this, and yours has really helped me to think things through.

By the way, I prefer pink bubblegum cigars ::
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-11-2005, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmie
Thanks so much! It's really interesting to read about the entire process. I have found reviews to be very helpful when making purchases like this, and yours has really helped me to think things through.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmie

By the way, I prefer pink bubblegum cigars ::
Did you happen to read the "review" post I did on the "H" (Hitachi km12vc)? If you are still looking at routers please read and if you have any questions let me know. I think the current good prices on this kit is $180 (US). Click the link below to see the post:
www.routerforums.com/showthread.php?t=1045

I think they are still offering the free sander??? that makes this router a very good price point to look at.

Ed

Last edited by Mike; 02-25-2007 at 12:45 AM.
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