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I notice that the bushings offered by both Porter Cable and Bosch are made from some kind of bright metal (stainles steel?) while most made by independent marketers are made of brass. Which is better?

Bob
 

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Hi Bob

This just my 2 cents :)

Brass is soft so to speak unlike steel one that's plated...if the bit hits the steel it's gone but if it hits the brass ,it's good chance the bit is OK..

You don't want anything like steel next to the bit, that's why you must take great care when you are switching out the bits, you don't want to kick one...and turn it into a paper weight.... :)

One more point about brass guides, they will stay in place unlike the steel plated ones,,, the plating is like a lub job so to speak and when you have brass on brass they hold,,,,just like pipe fitting....they give just a bit and lock on...

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Hi,

You want to get brass guides.
 

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Brass is the best choice for most members. Steel bushings are best for rough construction and made to withstand more abuse.
 

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I hate to disagree with learned members, but I have been routing since 1974 and whilst I do have a few brass guides the majority are mild steel and I have NEVER had any sort of problem, I am convinced that this thing with Brass is some sort of fetish.
Incidentally, having honed my routing skills at Template Tom's school of routing where there were mutiple's of every conceivable size and not a Brass one to be seen.
 

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Harry, the steel bushings you use attach with screws and are a very different item from the type we use with a threaded shaft and nut. Porter Cable which sets the world standard in routing manufactures steel bushings with the threaded shaft and nut. Experience has shown that the brass bushings do not vibrate loose the way the steel bushings do. This is the reason most aftermarket manufacturers produce brass. There is the added argument that it is safer to use around bits, we know steel can chip carbide where as brass can not. This is not to say one way is better than another. Bosch manufactures steel bushings which do not attach with the shaft and nut design so the vibration problem does not exist in their old style 2 screw system or the new quick release system. The market is driven by popular demand and since brass PC style bushings work better than the original steel bushings, fit more routers, are available in more sizes for less money you will see there are a number of reasons we recommend brass. The only bushings we do not recommend are the plastic bushings since they tend to flex and get trimmed by the bit causing failure. Steel bushings are the only answer for parts of the world and they do the job just fine. Perhaps you understand now this is not a fetish but just being practical for most members.
 

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Mike, I know we shall never agree on this subject but just consider some of my routing projects in my gallery, in none of them could a cutter come into contact with the guide, please explain how this can occur, an odd picture or two would probably assist such explanation.
 

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The danger to bits is when changing them. It is easy to drop a bit against a metal edge. While I have never experienced this myself I can see the logic in it. We store our bits in such a way as to protect them from contacting other bits to prevent damage, and this is just another safeguard. This is the reason Bob and Rick sell brass set up bars instead of using steel... just another safeguard.
 

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Brass set-up bars come into contact with the cutter so here there is no argument, so we shall continue to disagree on the guide question and just as a matter of interest, will everyone on the forum please recount stories of when and how many times they have damaged cutters on steel guides and how often steel nuts have worked loose whilst routing, who knows, I may have to change my mind, I'm always receptive to new ideas when a convincing argument is presented.

Perhaps some of the very many viewers of this forum will take this opportunity to prove me wrong by registering as a member, it is absolutely FREE of charge and gives you a voice. The occasional verbal disagreements between members, or even, as in this case a member and a senior moderator are all in good fun, we are generally a very pleasant bunch of guys and gals, yes we do have members of the fair sex, some who are very knowledgeable in woodworking and must be taken very seriously.
 

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HI Harry

I try not to do dumb things,, I do have one or two steel guides but I don't used them I think they came with a cheap jig....I also don't jump out of a good air plane. :)


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Bj, I clearly remember when you disagreed vehemently with me regarding plunge routing with female templates and the use of ski's. Look at you now, you actively promote both, so it's a case of trying things that you're not familiar with, and who knows, being an admitted cheap skate you may just find that the cheaper steel guides are not bad after all!
 

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Harry, I can tell you from experience that the steel nuts loosen up easily from vibration. When you use steel nuts and bolts on anything without a locking washer they loosen this way. One solution to the problem was using nuts with nylon inserts since the softer material grabbed the threads and held better. In the same way brass holds very well on brass and requires only finger tightening to remain in place. This is common knowledge. At no place in the forums will you find me faulting other styles of steel bushings. It is just the PC style that has this flaw. Since the majority of our members own routers which use PC style bushings, and the bushings cost less, are available in more sizes, hold better and can not damage a bit in an accident we recommend them. This is not a one size fits all situation, and for some members steel bushings are a better choice. They are more durable, and I have yet to hear of anybody needing to replace one because of damaged threads or collar. That can happen with brass. Please remember we try to tailor answers to specific questions for the member asking.
 

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Hi,

I think for a starters point of view, brass should be ideal. For a more experienced person, steel. I should point out though. This all depends on the persons preference. There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Each his or her own. :)
 

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I think my job on this subject has ended successfully, people are talking and are in possession of all the facts, and those who have never used template guides might just be thinking that perhaps they are missing a hell of a lot, especially our Ozzie way of using them for serious plunge routing.
 

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Defacto Standard

I think as far as guide bushings is concerned there is a defacto standard and other proprietary types

1. The DEFACTO standard is the Porta Cable Standard '1-3/16" Brass Template Guide Bushings standard".

Porta Cable invented the router (fixed base) so their Brass Template Guide Bushings is THE DEFACTO standard.
"1-3/16 template guides" are suitable for use with any base plate with a 1-3/16" through bore and a 1-3/8" counterbore.
All Porter-Cable and Black & Decker base plates as well as some from DeWalt, Elu, Hitachi, Makita and Skil and GMC and Triton (with Adapter) support this standard.
These type of guide bushings made of BRASS are available worldwide including Australia.

2. Second most popular (60mm plate type)
ELU (now a division of Dewalts) invented & patented the PLUNGE ROUTER. Being a German Company following metric system, ELU decided to use metric Steel Guide Bushings with barrels on a 60mm diameter plate mounted by 2 screws. The idea is that an adapter ring with 1-3/16" through hole could also be screwed on so that imperial Porta Cable's Brass Bushings can also be used.
Although many companies follow ELU to use 60mm plate mounted guide bushings, the way the guide bushings are attached differs. There is no standard really.

I have discovered that even China & Taiwan made routers are built along the idea of ELU. 2 screws for 60mm type guide Bushings + 1-3/16" hole (or a larger hole) but supply an adapter ring for Porta cable 1-3/16" type Bushings.

Don't just rush to buy or make a base plate for guide bushings. Measure what you have. Perhaps your router is already compatible.
Look for 60mm or 1-3/16".

The DEFACTO standard seems to be still the BRASS (imperial) system.

"The dog wags the tail. the tail cannot wag the dog"
 

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"The Bosch ones lock in quite nicely without loosening up, even though they are not brass."

True, they are a bayonet fitting, a pain to make. Years ago I had a 1/2" Bosch and made an adaptor to take the threaded brass guides. All the guides that I now make for my two Makitas are steel which are held in place with two screws, such a sensible method, I never cease to be amazed that all makers haven't copied Makita and Hitachi.
 

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Hi Harry

" I never cease to be amazed that all makers haven't copied Makita and Hitachi "

I came with the tools I need to use with the brass guides ( fingers) I don't need to put one more tool in my pocket, I can put 2 or 3 brass guides in my pocket unlike the tank guides made out of sheet metal...plus one little slip and the screw is down the hole right into the router motor, that's a fun job to get it out...if not done just right it's time to take the router down to parts just to get the screw out..it's hard to drop a 1 1/2' brass ring nut down the hole into the router motor..

Makita/Hitachi
I think the same designer that got that idea also said I know lets put the oil filter on the bottom side of the eng. and take it off the top side of the eng.where it's easy to replace the filter...or better yet lets turn the eng.sideways and make it front wheel drive so it's real night mare to fix any thing on the eng.without pulling the thing out...the only thing the states did right is to put disks brakes on the front of the car/truck that they got from the mfg. over the pond... :)


Ping / Pong


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"The Bosch ones lock in quite nicely without loosening up, even though they are not brass."

True, they are a bayonet fitting, a pain to make. Years ago I had a 1/2" Bosch and made an adaptor to take the threaded brass guides. All the guides that I now make for my two Makitas are steel which are held in place with two screws, such a sensible method, I never cease to be amazed that all makers haven't copied Makita and Hitachi.
 

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...will everyone on the forum please recount stories of when and how many times they have damaged cutters on steel guides and how often steel nuts have worked loose whilst routing, who knows, I may have to change my mind, I'm always receptive to new ideas when a convincing argument is presented.
Harry,

I have seen many instances of bits damaged by steel guides. In my experience this has mostly been due to using bits with cutting diameter larger than the bushing ID in plunge routers. Evidently, the user inadvertently releases the plunge lock and the bit is raised into the bushing. I have also seen similar cases of the bushing nut vibrating loose, allowing the bushing to drop onto the spinning bit. In all of these I have no doubt that the damage would have been much less (or maybe nonexistent) if the guides had been brass rather than steel.
 
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