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Hi,
I picked up this woodworking bug when we decided to install hardwood flooring ourselves. I borrowed a friend's contractor table saw, got 2 abdominal bruises (luckily) from TS kickbacks. Became terrified of the TS. Doing a whole lot of research on TS. Ended up buying a Steel City TS with true riving knife. Finished the flooring but now I want to build cabinets, shelves, bookcases, etc..

So some starter questions:
1. Which is the best fixed/plunge router combo that is under $250? This question probably has been asked before so if someone can point me to the links, I would appreciate it.
2. I want to build a router table to mount this new router. Are the rectangular mounting plates universal for all routers?
3. Finally, I'm in San Francisco bay area. Anyone in this region? Favorite store?
Swap meet, etc..?

Regards
 

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Hi Chi:

1. Which is the best fixed/plunge router combo that is under $250? This question probably has been asked before so if someone can point me to the links, I would appreciate it.
One collects routers, one does not just purchase one. I like my Hitachi M12V "tanks". If you're doing raised panel doors you have two options, build a vertical router table or get a very heavy (like the one above) router and drop the speed to the lowest setting and nibble away at your panels. There are those who support <3 HP routers even for this function but if you're doing a whole kitchen you'll appreciate the efficiency of the heavier routers. That said, I have four routers, two M12Vs, one for the table (duly modified) and one stock full plunge. I have the Makita 3601B "D" handle for most freehand stuff and a little Makita 3700 trim router for the really delicate.

All of this is usually followed up by a cabinet scraper to remove mill marks etc.

Note, that not all routers will allow you to take large bits. The Makita 3612C cannot but otherwise it is an excellent router. Look for something where the base does not have to be modified for 3 1/2" bits.

2. I want to build a router table to mount this new router. Are the rectangular mounting plates universal for all routers?
No. The only real "universal" base plate for table use that has any degree of "universality" is the OakPark/Router Workshop baseplate. Even that you have to order for a specific router. It's not hard to make though should you wish to.

3. Finally, I'm in San Francisco bay area. Anyone in this region? Favorite store?
Swap meet, etc..?

Regards
Can't help with SF but I've put most of my shop together with garage sales.
 

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Hi Chi,
There is a WoodCraft store in the bay area in Dublin. Their address is: 6044 Dougherty Rd. Dublin CA 94568 Phone: (925) 875-9988. or see if a Rockler store is near you.
 

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Hi Chi

1. You want to buy a router that has both bases and both can take on the same router motor,,you can find many of them on the market place, if you want to save money on the router combo get the Craftsman combo set that you can get for about 100.oo it's a 2hp model and has all the power you will need for making cabinets,etc.and it will take on the bigger router bits, don't forget the router needs router bits and they do cost big money the norm, a cabinet bit set will be about the same cost as the router you have to turn them..

2. some of the plates come with predrilled holes most are drilled out for the Porter Cable routers but many of them you will need to drill the mounting holes.

3. I will pass on this one, but Amazon ,you can get just about all you need from them and it's right at your front door, no driving needed.

=======
Hi,
I picked up this woodworking bug when we decided to install hardwood flooring ourselves. I borrowed a friend's contractor table saw, got 2 abdominal bruises (luckily) from TS kickbacks. Became terrified of the TS. Doing a whole lot of research on TS. Ended up buying a Steel City TS with true riving knife. Finished the flooring but now I want to build cabinets, shelves, bookcases, etc..

So some starter questions:
1. Which is the best fixed/plunge router combo that is under $250? This question probably has been asked before so if someone can point me to the links, I would appreciate it.
2. I want to build a router table to mount this new router. Are the rectangular mounting plates universal for all routers?
3. Finally, I'm in San Francisco bay area. Anyone in this region? Favorite store?
Swap meet, etc..?

Regards
 

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I have to agree on the Craftsman routers, They are very good. and will last a long time if treated properly.
 

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I agree with Ron (allthunbs) - your first router is just the beginning of the collection. I think I had 8 or 9 at last count, mostl Porter Cable. I like 1 ¾HP routers (PC 690 series in my case) for most hand work, and 3 ¼HP (PC 7518 for me) for in the table.

As mentioned, the pre-drilled plates are aimed at only the most popular routers. Drilling your own is easy, but requires some precision to get proper alignment.

As to SF Bay Area stores, check out Southern Lumber in south San Jose (good selection of hardwood in stock) and Japan Woodworker in the East Bay (traditional Japanese-style woodworking tools).
 
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