Guidance on a router for cabinet making - Router Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Default Guidance on a router for cabinet making

I know the issue of "what router" has been thoroughly discussed, so I'm sorry to beat a dead horse... again.

Right now, I have an old Bosch 1613evs and I'm probably getting one of the peachtree woodworking table packages used for a decent price.

After reading some and speaking with Bosch, I don't believe my Bosch plunge router will make a good router mounted to a table. Besides, it might be nice to have a free hand router and a permanently mounted router in the table.

I am on a budget and would like to spend as little as possible, but I also want a router that will last and big enough to drive raised panel bits.

So, I know I need a variable speed router. I dont care if its plunge or fixed base.

I'd like one that is easy to change the bit and adjust the height (and lock in the height without slippage) from the above the table, but dont necessarily need to get a lift. I know my weaknesses and bit changing and "exactness" come difficult for me without getting frustrated, so I need all the help I can get...

So my questions are:
1.) I'd prefer 3+ hp, but would like to hear folks opinion on if I could go smaller and still drive the big bits? I like the Bosch 1617evs. If I can go with a 2.25hp it puts me in a totally different price class, which makes me happier - but it seems like I really should be getting a more powerful motor.

2.) I like the hitachi price point and 5 year warranty, but I've heard bad things about the M12V2 (like the height adjustment knob breaking off right away) and people prefer the M12VE - but it seems the M12VE isnt as easy to adjust and change from above the table.

3.) What about a used (6-10years old) Freud? Are they reliable? How is the 2000e in a table?

4.) I've seen a lot of hype about the openings on the routers not being big enough for the big bits, but it doesnt make sense to me because the bits sit up above the opening? When would it matter if the bit cant go below the level of the plate?

5.) Above all else, I want the best reliability for the money. If that means spending 300 on a Triton, Bosch, or Freud brand new, then so be it. But, if I can spend 200 on a Hitachi, or 100-150 on a Freud, then thats even better.

6.) Tritons and Hitachis seem to rarely go on sale used, is that because people love them?

Sorry for all the questions, not trying to be a bore.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 11:35 AM
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Your 1613 has the same power as early 1617's(2 hp) which is plenty for the jobs you mentioned. My pair of 1617's have been trouble free for over 11 years and have handled anything I attempted with them. I have a PC 7518 but never need the extra power. I think the best deal going is the 1617EVSPK at Lowes for $189. You can spend more if you want to but there really is no need.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike, much appreciated.

So, how easy is it to get bits changed from above the table on the 1617evs?

I know there's an optional base for the 1617 to allow above the table height adjustments, I might look into it. is it any good?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 12:27 PM
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The plunge base in the kit Mike referenced above allows for above the table height adjustment when table mounted, or they make an optional base specifically for table mounting--saves the expense of being tempted with a router lift.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Earl. I am wondering if the table base is any good. Sometimes with these above the table adjusters, they give out or are tough to be exact with...

I actually want to make my decision soon because cpobosch.com has the 1617evstb for $160 right now, which seems to be a great deal. Its not reconditioned or anything.

I'm glad to hear that 3.25hp is a bit of overkill, because i wasnt excited to spend 300ish or get a router by a maker I was inexperienced with... I'd rather spend the 140 I'll save on bits or food or just about anything.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 12:41 PM
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I'm curious about that too. But--my intent is to mount my Hitachi M12V2 in the table i build. Hate to give up the Bosch 1617 as a hand-held, it is sweet. On the other hand i could sell the Hitachi and pick up a second 1617 without blinking--and may do that.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 01:15 PM
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I am sure you will find a 2 hp/11 Amp to be strong enough to run the bits for raised panels. Sears has a combination base 11 Amp Router for approx $150.00 or less. I have 3 Sears Routers and a 3.25 hp Triton TRA1000. I am extremely happy with all of these for any job I've ever tried. Bit changing is really easy on all of these. Changing bits in a table mount router will depend on your setup!

"Even bad decisions make good stories"

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I replied before, but it got lost in the approval process, I guess.

CPOTools has the bosch 1617evstb on sale right now for $160, so I'm thinking thats just about the best deal I can get (it has the above the table base included). Its good to hear I dont really need the extra HP.

If the table base does end up being less than stellar, I can probably sell it for 100 or so.

When is a 3.25hp motor useful, if its not for the big 3"+ bits?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nft2012 View Post
Thanks! I replied before, but it got lost in the approval process, I guess.

CPOTools has the bosch 1617evstb on sale right now for $160, so I'm thinking thats just about the best deal I can get (it has the above the table base included). Its good to hear I dont really need the extra HP.

If the table base does end up being less than stellar, I can probably sell it for 100 or so.

When is a 3.25hp motor useful, if its not for the big 3"+ bits?
I occasionally make custom cabinets. My raised panel bits are all around 3.5" I don't have any problems driving them with a 2.25 hp router in a table. They seem to cut smooth and the router doesn't bog down at all.

My router doesn't have an opening for bits that big. I have my plate routed out to 3.625 so that I can drop the bits for adjusting different profiles. When not using that big a bit, I use plastic inserts (homemade) secured with countersunk template screws.

My bits and router would probably last longer if I had a variable speed, as I'm running them at 20,000 and the recommended speed for something that size is 13,000... But I really haven't noticed anything.

My friend runs a cabinet shop. I've gone there to play a few times. 3+ hp routers and shapers. Asked him about a rules of thumb. He honestly didn't know. He inherited the business from his dad and that's just how it was done. I guess I'll have to ask him again the next time I see him.

For me, I feel the raised panel part is easy. The "stiles" of rail & stile are more of a challenge, Sort of like tenon joints. I keep making different jigs to make that part easier. My table is 36" and that seems to work out well for me.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 03:52 PM
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Ok, lets all be on the same sheet of music here. The 1617EVSTB is essentially two fixed bases so the 1617EVSPK which has a plunge base and a fixed base for table mounting is much more useful to most people. Remember that the 1617 fixed base has the through the table height adjustment hole so the only difference is the bosses for mounting the handles; leave the handles off for more clearance under your table.

The Craftsman combo kits are loaded with great features for the price but they are not industrial quality routers like the Bosch; there is a difference.

If you have a production cabinet shop there is an advantage to having the 3-1/4 hp routers because they are designed to run all day under heavy loads. For the average home user who wants to build a set of cabinets it is hard to justify the additional price to me. That said you should go with what you are most comfortable with because in the end you are the one using the router.

Mike, running bits over 2" diameter at full speed is a safety issue. An external speed controller is a simple inexpensive solution. Your bits will also run cooler and have a longer life. All manufacturers manuals offer speed charts and say the same thing.

Mike
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Last edited by Mike; 06-13-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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