buying my first router - questions about Bosch router bases in a table
Hello. I don't know anything and that's quickly said, but I have some questions before buying my first router very soon. Is this the right place to post them, or should I cut them and post in another area?
I'm not new to woodworking, but between an aversion to circular saws, inability to saw a straight line and having no clue about finishing wood, I mostly keep to things where looks don't matter too much, or where cuts and sizing are simple enough to have it cut at the store and no finish works or factory finished sides are all that will show.
After years of reading about the interesting things that can be done with a router and pricey accessories, what started to convince me that I'd make OK use of one was this:
If you have a 5-door vanity under a single central sink, and the builder left the drawer-front panels above doors 1-2 and 4-5 blind because the sink would interfere with drawers, you can add drawers, if you just make the drawer box narrower than the hole by the inch or two that would interfere with the sink. (When I made the second one, I found that the builders had put in drawer slides already and tore the drawer off the front panel at the last moment when they noticed the interference. So I made the drawer bottom full width and just narrowed the upright part. Looks better than the narrow box.)
While making these drawers and planning those for the hollow bottom of the cabinet, I decided I'd try to make them look nicer with rounded-over edges, and perhaps be able to shape decent-looking pull-holes into the stacked lower drawers rather than leaving them far enough apart altogether to get a hand in to pull.
I was unsure I'd really like working with a router long-term (noise, risk, my lack of precision), so I got the use-overheat-return $28 router from Harbor Freight to give it a low-cost try.
At first, I thought I'd just get done what needed doing right now, and perhaps also do some loudspeaker rabbeting for some near-furture speaker boxes while I have it, and then return the HF router. It did the job - well in some ways, only-just in others, such as getting way to hot for comfort after as little as 20" of a 3/8" roundover in pine.
But after reading some more, I finally came around, and decided I want a router for Christmas. I was thinking about the Bosch Colt 20, and then later (when the motor wears out) add another with a different base or a 1617, depending on my needs then. Given the long lifespans of the Bosch router motors (moreso with understressed high-powered models), and the collet size limit on the Colt,
my wife convinced me to get at least a 1617.
Based on reading around here (and the fact Bosch charges rather more for the same thing in Germany, where it's placed in the "pro" rather then "diy" line), the 1617 sounded best to me, until I found the MR_23 line. Ignoring "hp" nonsense, its additional power is interesting to me. As is the fact that the 1617, after a long lifespan, was discontinued in Germany more than 1.5 years ago despite the fact that the MR_23 as its replacement has been delayed all this time until just a few weeks ago.)
But I'm really unclear on the height adjustments. Common to the 1617 and MR_23, it appears that you always have to unclamp, adjust, and clamp again, except for the turret and the additional fine adjustment on the plunge base which are independent of the clamped part.
I'm furthermore assuming that the 1617's table base lets you crank up or down once unclamped, with no need to push the router up against a stop, since it's meant to be hanging.
But is this true for the fixed bases (1617 as well as MRF23)? Or does the adjustment simply move a stop on which the motor rests when upright, but against which it must be pushed when hanging to see the result of the adjustment?
That's my biggest question, because the only reason I can think of for a 1617 is its table base if the MRF base under a table is less convenient than that.
Additionally, I'm unsure about the plunge base adjustment. I'm still not convinced that I'd have much need for the plunge ability, except for the additional layers of fine adjustment you get - more reproducible after bit changes because you can zero the scales after lowering the bit to the table surface?
Can you use the post-clamp fine adjustment while the plunge mechnism is locked all the way down (if that's even possible), so as to fine-tune with test cuts, or is the idea purely to adjust the stop numerically while not plunged?