Hey guys, just joined, looking for opinions on routers for raised panels - Router Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Default Hey guys, just joined, looking for opinions on routers for raised panels

Hello all,

Glad to have found the forum. After going bug eyed reading review after review on several products until absolutely lost I threw in best 3 1/4 hp router and found the forum

I am a self employed contractor, have been for the last 12 years, I guess i have a bit of an authority problem I do everything from the foundation to the roof, but have always preferred finish work. Recently i have grown very tired of completing mediocre projects that fit ppls budgets and dealing with service all together. I personally feel products are where its at these days and come with less headaches. I recently agreed to build a custom headboard for a long time returning client. They wanted a replica for a Thomasville panel king headboard just oversized. In doing this project i believe i have touched on something that is truly satisfying to the soul and would love to possibly get into using my love for woodworking and creativity to produce some furniture pieces i could throw into a few stores and see what happens.

So without writing a novel about the details working through this project quickly led me to the need for a router with a 1/2" collet to accept bits for raised panels.(which i am also going to need advice on) Cost currently a big concern as funds are low with number of things im looking to get to finish this out right.

I had seen a hitachi 2 1/4 hp router at lowes without the plunge attachment for like $89.00. I have used a buddys hitachi batt. drill and it seemed to work well even compared to my hilti. I have a couple of hitachi finish guns and am pleased with them.

After reading reviews on Amazon it seemed like it may be a pretty decent router but led me to the MV12V2 3 1/4 hp. It seems this one lacks the durability of its previous model but there are ways around it. Ive looked at the bosch 2 1/4 hp a bit more costly with nearly the same specs as the comparable hitachi and i do own a bosch laminate trimmer that has performed very well.

So the question is which is the best router around 200.00 or less that will handle raised panel bits or at least the most dependable with the fewest drawbacks. I am obviously putting it into a table but I can see it would be nice if it worked well as a hand held.

at minimum i just need to get though this project. if needed i can get a more expensive router down the line that can provide me with years of dependable service. I also need to know when it comes to panel bits which is the cheapest I can buy that will get me through a few panels nicely without chip out problems etc.

I hope I have not bored all of you or written far to much but I do really appreciate any input you all might be able to offer.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 08:36 PM
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 10:49 PM
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For a one time project almost any new router will get you through. Though I would stress a larger 3 to 3.5 hp router is the way to go for raised panels.

To stay in your 200.00 there are loads of router that will fill the bill in the 2 - 2.5 hp range, I believe there is even a 3 HP Freud on sale for 199.99 at Woodcraft. Ask the guys here I think some have had good luck with that router.

If you could go 286.00 00 I would recommend the Milwaukee Router, it is one of my favorites:

http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-5625...6705135&sr=8-1

Of course I could always sell you a brand new 3 HP DeWalt for 195.00 including shipping(about 80.00 off retail).

http://www.routerforums.com/tool-swa...25-router.html

Even a little DeWalt 618 or a PC 890 series could do the job no problem for a one time thing. Like many here state, you can just make a bunch of shallow passes if your router is a bit under powered.

The router you are looking at for 89.00 will probably do the job as well, maybe not as nicely as some other router, but I bet it will be fine.

Get some fantastic bits, that is just as important than the router for panels, IMHO.

Last edited by dovetail_65; 02-02-2011 at 11:01 PM.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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thank you so much for the reply. I would bet the milwauke is a fine router, I have had two of the 1 3/4 hp (i believe thats what they were) and loved using them, although my needs at the time were small, detailing custom shelving and stair nosing mostly. When times were tough had sold one bought another and then sold that one when in need of a quick buck again. I have always had good luck with dewalt saws but the drills couldnt hold up to heavy use. These are just black and decker any way but never had a dewalt router so i cant speak for them.

I do hope to get a few more opinions on the routers, I guess a better question to put out would be what are you guys using to power your panel bits?

When it comes to bits and the "bit" of research i have done, (tell me if I'm wrong) it seems freud is at the top of the list, both in price and in quality followed closely by CMT and Amana tool which states on their site that timberline is their economical choice while still being a carbide bit. for a raised panel bit set with the above listed manufacturers you could spend anywhere from 113.00 for timberline to 200+ for freud for a 3 piece set. (panel bit with back cutter) looking at it, it appears the back cutter allows the panel to sit flush with the stiles and rails, is this true?

it appears carbide tipped is preferred. Grizzly and companies alike have very affordable sets but i wonder about sharpness out of the box and durability, also most of these if not all are not carbide.

I wonder..has anyone on the forum posted a lifespan chart or something like it for bits. obviously this may be difficult as the end user causes extreme variables with depth of passes, rpm settings, wood type and so on but assuming the same person uses different manufacturers bits there would at least be a constant in the users methods that would still provide us with useful info.

At any rate I hope to get more input on this thread, if I should be posting this in another location please let me know, until then know that I am searching the forms faq's and other threads for this info in the meantime.

Thanks again.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, i found a thread where a lot of you have put in your two cents on the best router for tables, here is the link for anyone new reading this and looking for similar info.

http://www.routerforums.com/tool-rev...ter-table.html
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Ok just finished going through the thread i last posted about and have just one question. between the top listed performers Bosch 1619 evs, PC 7518, Milwaukee 5625-20, Hitachi M12ve and m12v2 is the milwaukee the only one that will not require a raiser of some sort as this will definitely have to be factored into the cost.

Although i will be building a router table/cabinet down the road initially i planned on purchasing something like the Bosch Power Tools RA1171 Benchtop Router Cabinet-Style
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 02:32 AM
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Welcome to the forum. I'm new here, but did quite a bit of research on routers capable of raised panel bits, and chose the Triton 3-1/4 hp plunge router. Lots of power, height adjust from the top of the table, and bit change from the top of the table. Can find them between $200-$279.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 02:39 AM
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Also- you can save some dough on your temporary bench, and spend that on a better router. I've also been shopping tables, and MCLS has a decent table top/fence/mounting plate for $189.00. Thats with an aluminum plate. The phenolic plate combo is a bit cheaper, but I've heard of sagging/buckling issues with it. The phenolic plate supposedly has a crown built into it to compensate for a heavy router, which would sag it into the right height. True or not, I'm spending a bit more $ on the aluminum plate. You still need a stand or cabinet to put it on. I'm stickin mine on an old bathroom vanity I pulled out of a remodel.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 05:49 AM
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Baily Edition and Chris:

Good morning.

Everything you're both saying is quite credible but I would suggest a bit more exploring before you bite the bullet.

You have a problem when selecting a router for raised panel bits; will it fit? Next, will the router go slow enough? Raised panel bits are scary enough without adding speed and improper mounting. My Hitachi M12V (no longer produced) had to be modified to take large bits but having done so, removes _some_ of the terror involved. The newer M12V2 requires no modification. I'm not sure about some of the other brands. I certainly wouldn't go for anything less than 3 1/4 HP.

Next, you don't want to attempt to use a big bit without a table. To that end, you can use the OakPark philosophy and make your own from scraps or you can go out and buy something that will never stop vacuuming money from your pocket.

Next, you may wish to use your router in a pair of skis. Depending on the type of raised panel work you're doing, it may be preferable to use skis rather than large bits.

You can also use a vertical table with a longer, small diameter bit for raised panel work.

However, you chose to proceed, keep us posted.

Allthunbs
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montanaprefinish View Post
I've also been shopping tables, and MCLS has a decent table top/fence/mounting plate for $189.00. Thats with an aluminum plate. The phenolic plate combo is a bit cheaper, but I've heard of sagging/buckling issues with it. The phenolic plate supposedly has a crown built into it to compensate for a heavy router, which would sag it into the right height. True or not, I'm spending a bit more $ on the aluminum plate. You still need a stand or cabinet to put it on. I'm stickin mine on an old bathroom vanity I pulled out of a remodel.
making a cabinet wouldnt be an issue, I too would prefer the sturdier plate. Thank you for the tip.
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