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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Default Looking for router advice

Hi Everyone,

I was hoping to get a little advice on what to look for in a router. I've read a lot of the old advice threads, but I'm not super clear on what is really important.

For the last 20 years, I've owned a Craftsman 315.17480 6.5 amp single speed router. It was already old when I bought it for 20 bucks from a friend. Although it still works fine, and I've built a lot of bookshelves with it, it gives me a lot of trouble to use. In particular, the depth adjustment likes to drift. Also, it came with no accessories.

Another problem that I have is that when I try to route a straight line with a fence, chips get between the fence and the base, which throws me off of a straight line. It's a real pain. Although I can't see how any other router would really be any better in this regard.

I'd like to get a new router, but not spend too much money on it. I'm trying to choose between the Dewalt DW618PK and the Craftsman 27683. I've heard a lot of people say that Craftsman is a great deal, but I've got a lot of Dewalt tools and they are always great. I also like that the Dewalt comes with a nice case to hold everything (this is actually important to me). I also don't like that the Craftsman has an LCD display -- that just seems like it would fail in short order.

The things I would like to do are: straight line cuts for shelf grooves, frame and rail cabinet doors, and profiled edges.

The Dewalt costs a lot more money, so I would like to know if you guys think it is worthwhile. It's also hard to justify spending ANY money when I still have a router that works...

I tried to post links to the both routers, but the software wouldn't let me.

Pictures of my current router are attached for reference.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 05:24 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Lee.

This is a common question and has no definitive answer. Are you able to hold these routers at a store to see how they feel to you?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, they are both at my local Sears. I'm not too concerned with how they feel -- I figure I'll just get used to whatever I end up with. But you're right, it's worth going in to actually get a look at them in person.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 07:05 PM
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Hi Lee

You can make a Vac.pickup tube for your router to keep the chips out of your way BUT I would suggest you buy a new router with more power and ALL the extra items you need in the combo kit.

Craftsman 2-hp Fixed/Plunge Router : Power Up With Deals at Sears

Craftsman 2.5-hp Fixed/Plunge Router : Power Up With Deals at Sears


==

Quote:
Originally Posted by lostintheyard View Post
Hi Everyone,

I was hoping to get a little advice on what to look for in a router. I've read a lot of the old advice threads, but I'm not super clear on what is really important.

For the last 20 years, I've owned a Craftsman 315.17480 6.5 amp single speed router. It was already old when I bought it for 20 bucks from a friend. Although it still works fine, and I've built a lot of bookshelves with it, it gives me a lot of trouble to use. In particular, the depth adjustment likes to drift. Also, it came with no accessories.

Another problem that I have is that when I try to route a straight line with a fence, chips get between the fence and the base, which throws me off of a straight line. It's a real pain. Although I can't see how any other router would really be any better in this regard.

I'd like to get a new router, but not spend too much money on it. I'm trying to choose between the Dewalt DW618PK and the Craftsman 27683. I've heard a lot of people say that Craftsman is a great deal, but I've got a lot of Dewalt tools and they are always great. I also like that the Dewalt comes with a nice case to hold everything (this is actually important to me). I also don't like that the Craftsman has an LCD display -- that just seems like it would fail in short order.

The things I would like to do are: straight line cuts for shelf grooves, frame and rail cabinet doors, and profiled edges.

The Dewalt costs a lot more money, so I would like to know if you guys think it is worthwhile. It's also hard to justify spending ANY money when I still have a router that works...

I tried to post links to the both routers, but the software wouldn't let me.

Pictures of my current router are attached for reference.

Any advice would be appreciated.



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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 09:16 AM
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Lee ~ Welcome aboard. I have the exact Craftsman router that you have except it came with an assortment of router bits. Haven't done much with it except to replace the work light. Router still runs great. As you mention, it is limited to a single speed and takes only 1/4 inch bits. It doesn't plunge, which is the main reason that I am considering upgrading. BJ provided some excellent links to the newer Craftsmen flixed/plunge combo units in the 2 and 2 1/2 hp models. If you decide to go that route, let us know how it turns out for you.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 09:54 AM
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Lee,

I thought maybe you were in my shop... I have the same old Craftsman router, still runs great, though it hasn't seen much use in the years past, but it is getting more use now.

I also have the 2hp model you posted the link to, had for about 1 yr, and it has been great too. I recently bought the Milescraft baseplate to put on it to be able to use a large rabbet bit (wouldn't fit through the hole in the baseplate), and moved the original baseplate to my old router, so now I can use modern guide bushings on it.

And, I just picked up the 2 1/2hp model you linked to go in my upcoming router table. Haven't cut wood with it yet, but looking forward to it. I was about to get the Bosch MRF23EVS (15 amp) at HD, but felt it was worth giving up 1 amp to save $100...

Mike "Dodis"
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome and the advice. It's nice to hear that the Craftsman isn't a terrible choice. Also very helpful to hear from a guy who owns one.

Mike, that's a nice tip about putting the baseplate on the old router. I'm not sure what I would do with two routers, but I'm sure I'll think of something...

I'll post back here after I've used it for the first time.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 04:17 PM
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Hi Lee, I have the Craftsman 27683 and love it, and plan on buying another. It does not have the digital display gimmick , but does have a lot to offer for the price. If I needed a commercial grade router it would be the Bosch 1617. The Craftsman 27683 is a cheap clone of the 1617, but seems to be very well built, for $100 less.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Default Got the Sears Router.

Hi Everyone,

I got the Sears router kit, and I've have to say that I'm pretty happy with it. It's much nicer to use than my old router.

I really like that plunge base has a flat side. It makes it really easy to guide with a fence. Unfortunately, the plunge base seems to have a lot of flex in it. For example, when I start a cut and plunge down, I get a deep cut because I am pressing down hard against the springs. But when I lock it in place and just start to move, the cut is a bit shallower. I didn't measure the difference but it looked like about .020 inches.

I also noticed that there is a lot of slop in the screw adjusters. That doesn't matter too much because the router friction locks into the base after adjustment. But it makes it a little tricky to adjust the depth.

Lastly, I really miss having the power switch on a trigger on the handle. My old Craftsman router was like this. The new router has the switch on the motor, which means I have to fumble a bit for it. With the plunge base, it is close enough to the handle that I can hit it with my thumb, but on the fixed base I actually have to take one hand off of the handle to reach it, which makes me a little nervous.

This also means that it lacks "deadman" functionality, so if it kicks back and I lose my grip, it doesn't automatically turn off.

On the whole though, it is a lot better than what I had, and it didn't cost a fortune, so I am happy.

Thanks again for the advice.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:04 AM
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Lee,

Glad you are enjoying the new router! Congrats!

I too miss the trigger on the handle with the new routers, but the ease of motor removability makes that choice for us.

I haven't done anything yet requiring a plunge cut, so I haven't noticed the depth issue (yet), all my recent cuts have been through cuts.

Quote:
Mike, that's a nice tip about putting the baseplate on the old router. I'm not sure what I would do with two routers, but I'm sure I'll think of something...
As for this, well, I am currently on the well-greased slope of buying too many routers. Now that I finally have a shop to work in and started using them, then I started seeing the needs (& wants). Currently at the 3 CM routers and an HF trim router that I keep a 1/8"R roundover in. May get 1-2 more of those little ones just to be able to keep them setup for several small bits that wll be used regularly, easy at about $20 a pop with coupons.

Mike
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