Are 1/4" routers ok? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Question Are 1/4" routers ok?

I read a place online that claimed if I bought a 1/4 collet router that I'd regret it. Are they that bad? Thanks. Cutting into hard maple for a cutting board if it matters.

Last edited by Learningtorpute; 05-27-2016 at 09:46 PM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 10:03 PM
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Short shallow runs? No problem.
Aggressive deep cuts: Unacceptable.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 10:08 PM
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also depends on the bit profile and diameter

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 10:09 PM
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Agree with Pat. Sooner or later you will want 1/4 inch and 1/2 shank routers. They are somewhat like clamps. You can't have too many.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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What should I buy that can do a joint for a flat edge in 1/4" bit that won't cost a fortune, bit and router?
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 10:39 PM
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I've used 1/4" shank bits quite a bit and not had any problems. BUT, as Pat and Richard said, slow and easy. Shallow cuts will take a bit longer, but if you go too aggressive or deep you risk bending, or even breaking, the shank due to it's small size. It also limits the diameter of bit you can safely use.

You mentioned a cutting board. I'm assuming you will be doing an edge profile on it, maybe even a groove around the outside to catch the grease from the meat? A 1/4" shank router bit should be able to do that job without any problems.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 11:04 PM
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For any serious project I wind up with half inch bits. I have a couple of door sets from Sommerfeld that have half inch shanks that are matched so once you position the first bit in the set, you can just drop in the rest without worrying about height, called matched sets. I have three routers with half inch collets, although they each could take a 1/4 inch shank with an adapter.

My quarter inch router is a Bosch Colt, which is a wonderful little router for trimming, installing hinges, doing a quick roundover of 1/4 to 3/8ths max. It is also good for making signs and other freehand projects where control is more important than power. Any bit more than about an inch or so width cutting edge should have a half inch shank.

The good news is that if you get a Bosch 1617, you can do everything a quarter inch model will do. It will cost you a little more to get the EVSPK kit with fixed and plunge base, but you will spend close to that amount for a fully equipped Colt, Makita or Dewalt-quarter inch, especially if you buy it piece by piece. The Bosch also works in a table using its fixed base. A 1/4 router can't do that.

Hope this is helpful.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRatTom View Post
For any serious project I wind up with half inch bits. I have a couple of door sets from Sommerfeld that have half inch shanks that are matched so once you position the first bit in the set, you can just drop in the rest without worrying about height, called matched sets. I have three routers with half inch collets, although they each could take a 1/4 inch shank with an adapter.

My quarter inch router is a Bosch Colt, which is a wonderful little router for trimming, installing hinges, doing a quick roundover of 1/4 to 3/8ths max. It is also good for making signs and other freehand projects where control is more important than power. Any bit more than about an inch or so width cutting edge should have a half inch shank.

The good news is that if you get a Bosch 1617, you can do everything a quarter inch model will do. It will cost you a little more to get the EVSPK kit with fixed and plunge base, but you will spend close to that amount for a fully equipped Colt, Makita or Dewalt-quarter inch, especially if you buy it piece by piece. The Bosch also worksv in a table using its fixed base. A 1/4 router can't do that.

Hope this is helpful.
A 1/4" can't use a table?
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 04:37 AM
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A router with a 1/4 inch collet is not inherently bad. Some can be used in tables and there are growing numbers of router tables designed for trim routers such as the Bosch Colt and some, such as my first router came with a small table.

The problem is that they have limited power, and the 1/4 inch shaft has 1/4 the mass and so no more than 1/4 the strength (resistance to bending or breaking) of a 1/2 inch shaft. Everything that has been said about how they should be used should be taken seriously. I consider myself very lucky in that I was not injured or worse when the 1/4 inch collet router I was using let go of the router bit and sent it on a trajectory out of the solar system. I was probably violating some of the advice already posted.
When used properly there is a place for router bits with 1/4 inch shafts, and even other sizes such as 1/8 inch, 8 mm, 3/8 inch, etc.

If you start with a a 1/4 inch collet router you will almost certainly soon want to move up to a 1/2 inch collet router with more power. There are adapters available for the 1/2 inch collet routers that allow safe use of router bits with smaller shafts. For the ultimate consider the Musclechuck adapter first(?) championed here by Harry (HarrySin).
There is an active ongoing discussion of the merits of the 2-1/2 hp vs the 3-1/4 hp routers. Almost anything that can be done with a 1/4 inch collet router can be done with a 1/2 inch collet router.

There is a place for the rotary tools router setups which use 1/8 inch shaft router bits.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 05:51 AM
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Keep an eye on Craig List for a used router with both a 1/4 and 1/2 inch collect. This way you save money and get a router that will do almost everything.

Also take a look at this company for new and reconditioned tools. I have bought several reconditioned tools from them and they all look new but I had a problem with one of them. Within two days I had another one and they sent me a prepaid UPS tag to send the other one back. UPS even picked it up at the house. I was out zero money and that is important to me.

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