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Yep, new to this. I am just a hobbyist, but want to get more into woodworking and gain knowledge. I took a woodturning class earlier this year (and was just given a Jet lathe...now I gotta get gouges and a chuck for that...), but I also want to get into routing so I can make more stuff and just know what I'm doing.
I don't own a router yet, so just getting info, seeing what I should look for and what I should avoid. I see the WTF pdf's from Stick already, so I'll browse those while avoiding work
 

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Hi Craig and welcome. My advice is to either get a midsize (12amps roughly or about 1400 watts) minimum plunge or kit that has fixed and plunge bases. There are some jobs that can be done well and safely only with a plunge. The fixed bases are nicer to use hand held because they have a lower center of gravity. Buying the kits with 2 bases is cheaper than buying them separately and much cheaper than 2 routers.
 

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welcome Craig...
you'll like it here...

now about that router...

picking out a tool(s)...
and yes.. we will help you spend YOUR money and not have any qualms about it...

1st and most important, look to the company...
evaluate their CS and will they step up to the plate should there be issues...
see if they have a planned obsolesce program in force... as does craftsman and a few other companies......
what will the company and their product do for you...
will they respect you in the morning...
no sense in buying something that can't be fixed a few years later...

next the product...
quality..
will it have a long productive life... as in decades...
will it do more than I needs to....
is it a good value...
will it protect your bottom line...
will it go the extra mile or three...
will it become obsolete or disposable in short order...

tools that don't cut the mustard, suffer down time, hurt production and dig into your wallet every time you turn around need to left on the store shelf...

Online reviews...
not too much but it is a starting point...
read a few too many that my VOE said other wise...
I prefer to use and abuse different brands and evaluate them myself and I pay attention at large job sites as to who has what and what, if any, issues they are having......
I think the testers should eval a tool and then put it into production mode for a few years and then do another eval..

For me, Bosch has filled the bill and then some...
2nd to none CS and support...
real work horses...
last long time...
made me money...
(VOE)..

WHY I LIKE BOSCH...

2nd to none CS/TS support (American based) that's absolutely painless... They even support their tools that have been discontinued really well...
Their tools are real work horses...
planned obsolesce isn't an issue w/ them and they come w/ less all around grief...
their tools last a very long time... decades of hard heavy commercial use..
Besides, being comfortable to use routers, they are feature rich, excellent soft start, well done micro fine depth adjustments, quality collets, and so much more...

Keep in mind, that saving some money now just may cost you more down the road... Do yourself a huge favor and get a Bosch...
Bosch consistently scores high in/on all categories of quality, CS/TS, reliability and support, and they are as close as a phone call and your mail box...

http://www.routerforums.com/feature...ng-woodworking-equipment-tools-machinery.html

also, the refurbished/reconditioned models are no worries purchases...
https://www.cpotools.com/bosch-routers/bosch-routers,default,sc.html
 

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Hi Craig, Welcome to the fun house. I'm a Bosch guy. 1617 EVSPK kit with both fixed and plunge base. Most of the time you can use the plunge base for freehand use, and use the fixed base in a table. You can buy a key that lets you adust height from above the table. It is nearly always safer to route on a table rather than freehand. And for larger bits, NEVER use them freehand.

I'm attaching a pdf of the 17 things that accelerated my learning curve. I've done home improvement stuff since I was a kid (old, old house, handy dad), but got serious about woodworking when I moved last time. The pdf is quite long and covers many tools. And I hope it will save you some expensive mistakes and purchases as well.

Woodworking's a great hobby, challenging and the satisfaction of completing something you made yourself. Be sure to also read the materials Stick posted. Huge amout of useful information and some serious safety information. Last thing: Get a good dust mask and wear it all the time you're in the shop. I have a Rockler brand powered mask (pix) that does a great job of keeping cancer and COPD causing sawdust out of your lungs. I keep 4 rechargable batteries on hand all the time. Blows a little air over my glasses so they don't fog.
 

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Well Craig you found the right place to come. You already have a taste of what happens when you ask a question and that's just the beginning. These people are serious about their woodworking and helping others. It's like hitting the lottery except its knowledge and not $$$ but that knowledge will save you money and increase the fun.

-Steve
 
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