I think my old router nearly killed me!
OK, this is going to be a long story.
My wife and I are in the process of adopting twin girls, and as part of our preparation, we're turning our dining room into a play room. So I decided to build a toy box that we wouldn't mind having in that room.
Also while we're waiting for the adoption to finalize, I decided to have some electrical upgrades done to the house because our house was built in 1929 and still has some original wiring along with a lot of scary amateurish looking work, especially in the basement. So we had an electrician come in and redo the basement. He fixed me up with three circuits in my workshop area...two 20 amp circuits, each with GFCI plugs, and a lighting circuit. I didn't really understand why he put in a separate circuit for the lights and why he put GFCIs in down there, but I trust the guy (he's a neighbor), so we went with it.
The toy box plans called for cut out areas along the bottom of each side, which the plans suggested doing by jig saw. I tried on some scrap, but I wasn't able to cut a good enough 2" radius using the jig saw, and it certainly wouldn't be repeatable. So I decided to make a template out of MDF, rough cut the radius with the jig saw, and finish it with a flush trim bit on the router table.
My mother-in-law, who is kind of a handy-woman, has given me lots of tools, and a while back she gave me an old Stanley H39B router and a router table that had been owned and used by a carpenter in her boyfriend's family who died a few years ago.
So I finished my template, did my rough cuts with the jig saw, and plugged in the router. Sparks! Yikes! Not only did the GFCI trip, but the circuit breaker also tripped. That's a 20 amp circuit tripped by a tool that's supposed to draw 4 amps! I suspected that the router was turned on (not obvious on that router which direction is on), so I flipped the switch, reset the GFCI, and flipped the breaker. I plugged the router in, and this time the GFCI tripped, but not the breaker. Wondering what was going on, I decided I'd better examine the power cord. Sure enough, it was in bad, bad shape.
So by now, I was really appreciating the way my electrician set things up. Without the GFCI, I may have received a nasty shock. And without a separate lighting circuit, I would have been standing in the dark when that breaker tripped. You sure wouldn't want to be standing in the dark near a spinning router bit or a table saw blade.
But my story has a few more chapters, none dealing with bad electricity though. I took the Stanley out of the router table and tried to mount the Ryobi RE180PL plunge router that my mother-in-law gave me. The sub base was too big to fit between the support beams under the table top. So, I decided to build a new top. I bought some plywood, laid out the holes and slots for the fence, mounted it on the table legs, and attached the router. Then I discovered that the router wouldn't plunge enough to get a bit through the table top! In fact, I couldn't even get the collet to reach the bottom of the sub base. By now, I had almost forgotten about the toy box that started me on this whole ordeal.
Well, this sounded like a good idea to buy a new router. I was almost settled on the Porter-Cable 690 when I read all sorts of good things about a particular inexpensive Craftsman router. The combo kit with the fixed and plunge bases was on sale, so I picked it up.
Finally, I got the router table up and running and finished the toy box.
See the attached pictures for shots of the old router, its nasty power cord, and the finished toy box.