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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Question My first router, questions first

Hi folks, Not only am I new to routers, I'm new to woodworking. I'm a disabled senior with a lot of time!
I love fly fishing and fly tying. I have decided I want to build fly tying stations. Several years ago I inherited 2 large tools chests with my uncles hand tools. I was going to sell them but I decided to keep them. I will need a router to finish my workstations. I need to ask a few questions before I purchase. Also I am on a limited income being a senior. I thought I would start with the best quality from Harbor Freight. In the future I will upgrade but I need an economical starting place with a warranty.

My questions:
1. What power should I start with?
2. Plunge or fixed?
3. 1/4" or 1/2"
4. Should I get a table too, does the table need to be the same brand?
5. Can 1/4" bits be used in 1/2" router?

I need to make 2" indentions in the table tops for fly parts like hooks etc. How do I get them perfectly round, about 1/4"
in depth?
I promise I won't be a pest! I really appreciate your time! Thanks so much!
Kind Regards,
Charlie47
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:09 PM
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Hey, Charlie; welcome!
Power isn't the first question you need to consider, what feels right in your hands, and is well supported by the manufacturer are two really important factors. Many first time router buyers are swayed by (low!) prices and then suffer 'buyers' remorse'.
A lot of us here have Bosch 2 1/4 hp routers and are really pleased with them.
'Cherryville Chuck' swears by his Hitachi routers, there are also many DeWalt owners.
Mine is a Bosch 1617EVSPK...both a fixed base and a plunge base..
It has both 1/4" and 1/2" collets included.
If you are only doing small items you might find a 1/4" trim router perfect for your needs. DeWalt makes a very nice package with both a fixed and a plunge base, as does Bosch.
I'm the wrong guy to answer table questions but there are lots of 3rd party tables that will take pretty much anybody's router.
You want either an Aluminum or cast Iron/steel top...no plastic tops!!
On the indentation question; you mean concave or evenly deep across the span?
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:21 PM
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Welcome to the fun!

I would get a plunge router - far more useful that a fixed base. 2 HP or so will work for a lot of tasks. I buy plenty of stuff from HF, but, as you probably know, their quality is hit or miss. I read the reviews on their website to know what to expect and to avoid the true dogs. Some of their stuff actually works ok. Personally, I wouldn't buy an HF router but if that's all you can afford. You might want to consider used Hitachi, Bosch or DeWalt.

It may take a little bit of learning but bowl cutting router bits will allow you to make the holes holes you want. The advantage over a straight bit is that the corners will be rounded which is quite important for getting little parts out. Here's an example picture. Lots of companies make them. You will need to learn how to make a template for this bit and you will need a variable speed router as it's a pretty big bit and needs to go at a slower speed. Needs a plunge router.
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Measure twice, cut once and CROSS OUT THE WRONG MARKS.

Visit my shop website.
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie47 View Post
Hi folks, Not only am I new to routers, I'm new to woodworking. I'm a disabled senior with a lot of time!
I love fly fishing and fly tying. I have decided I want to build fly tying stations. Several years ago I inherited 2 large tools chests with my uncles hand tools. I was going to sell them but I decided to keep them. I will need a router to finish my workstations. I need to ask a few questions before I purchase. Also I am on a limited income being a senior. I thought I would start with the best quality from Harbor Freight. In the future I will upgrade but I need an economical starting place with a warranty.

My questions:
1. What power should I start with? This really depends on the work you will be doing. In general, any router over 1 1/2 hp will handle larger bits. Most here favor the Bosch 1617.
2. Plunge or fixed? Fixed base routers are generally installed in tables. They can also be used anytime you need to profile the edge of any board. The edge profiling can be done on the table or free-hand. If you get too big a router 3+hp, it will be difficult to use free-hand. The plunge router is generally used for freehand work where depth control is required, for example, a mortise.
3. 1/4" or 1/2" 1/4 inch routers are generally under 1 1/2hp. Trim routers are example. They can be used for light freehand use but cannot generally fit bits over 1".
4. Should I get a table too, does the table need to be the same brand? There are advantages to having a table, for example, when routing smaller pieces that would otherwise cannot be done freehand...clamping problems, etc... Generally, if the piece can be brought to the table, it is better to use the table. The table should have dust collection and therefore anytime you can use the table it will be cleaner.
5. Can 1/4" bits be used in 1/2" router? Yes, with the proper adapter. The 1/2" router will generally come with the 1/4" adapter.

I need to make 2" indentions in the table tops for fly parts like hooks etc. How do I get them perfectly round, about 1/4"
in depth? The easiest bit to use would be Forstner bits. Easy to control for depth. Forstner bits will generally leave a small dimple in the center of the hole you drill due to the pilot.
I promise I won't be a pest! I really appreciate your time! Thanks so much!
Kind Regards,
Charlie47
I tie flies also and would think that if you make a right size hole on your table for hooks, etc. the grain of the wood will not make it easy to pick up the small parts. I use small fly boxes for small hooks, etc... Sometimes I use plastic tweezers. If you decide to use the Forstner bit for making your small parts holder, line it heavily with urethane or resin to make it smooth.

Ask away...obviously my answers were brief but you ask good questions and may require additional discussion. Do you have a particular project in mind...? It will help to focus our answers.

Hope this helped...
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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
GIVE A MAN A FISH and you feed him for a day.
TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH and you feed him for his life time.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Last edited by Nickp; 02-17-2020 at 08:38 PM.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaninVan View Post
Hey, Charlie; welcome!
Power isn't the first question you need to consider, what feels right in your hands, and is well supported by the manufacturer are two really important factors. Many first time router buyers are swayed by (low!) prices and then suffer 'buyers' remorse'.
A lot of us here have Bosch 2 1/4 hp routers and are really pleased with them.
'Cherryville Chuck' swears by his Hitachi routers, there are also many DeWalt owners.
Mine is a Bosch 1617EVSPK...both a fixed base and a plunge base..
It has both 1/4" and 1/2" collets included.
If you are only doing small items you might find a 1/4" trim router perfect for your needs. DeWalt makes a very nice package with both a fixed and a plunge base, as does Bosch.
I'm the wrong guy to answer table questions but there are lots of 3rd party tables that will take pretty much anybody's router.
You want either an Aluminum or cast Iron/steel top...no plastic tops!!
On the indentation question; you mean concave or evenly deep across the span?
Thanks so much, sorry about my badly ask question, Concave! Again thanks!

Kind Regards,
Charlie47
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:48 PM
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Another suggestion is that if you can find some small cups, or lids a suitable size to fit your needs.A forstner bit in a drill motor will do to make a recess for them to fit into.
Herb
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Charlie47 View Post
Thanks so much, sorry about my badly ask question, Concave! Again thanks!
Guys thanks so much, your awesome and very appreciated!

Kind Regards,
Charlie47
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:52 PM
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Charlie...welcome to the forum...
Charlie47 likes this.

Nick

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
GIVE A MAN A FISH and you feed him for a day.
TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH and you feed him for his life time.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Stoops View Post
Another suggestion is that if you can find some small cups, or lids a suitable size to fit your needs.A forstner bit in a drill motor will do to make a recess for them to fit into.
Herb
Re Herb's suggestion...
https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...chmakers-cases
I see them all over, dollar stores etc.; waaay less expensive than Lee Valley.
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie47 View Post

Hi folks, Not only am I new to routers, I'm new to woodworking.
I'm a disabled senior with a lot of time!
Hi Charlie and welcome to the forums...
1st lets get that new shine toned down a tad...
This here link will take you to a collection of how to articles and information on routering...
above all it will cover safety... none of us like the sight of ''accidents'' even if they're not our own...

BTW..
most of us here are seniors or a fuzz older...

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”

Last edited by Stick486; 02-18-2020 at 12:50 AM.
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