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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Glad to have found the forum. After going bug eyed reading review after review on several products until absolutely lost I threw in best 3 1/4 hp router and found the forum

I am a self employed contractor, have been for the last 12 years, I guess i have a bit of an authority problem :haha: I do everything from the foundation to the roof, but have always preferred finish work. Recently i have grown very tired of completing mediocre projects that fit ppls budgets and dealing with service all together. I personally feel products are where its at these days and come with less headaches. I recently agreed to build a custom headboard for a long time returning client. They wanted a replica for a Thomasville panel king headboard just oversized. In doing this project i believe i have touched on something that is truly satisfying to the soul and would love to possibly get into using my love for woodworking and creativity to produce some furniture pieces i could throw into a few stores and see what happens.

So without writing a novel about the details working through this project quickly led me to the need for a router with a 1/2" collet to accept bits for raised panels.(which i am also going to need advice on) Cost currently a big concern as funds are low with number of things im looking to get to finish this out right.

I had seen a hitachi 2 1/4 hp router at lowes without the plunge attachment for like $89.00. I have used a buddys hitachi batt. drill and it seemed to work well even compared to my hilti. I have a couple of hitachi finish guns and am pleased with them.

After reading reviews on Amazon it seemed like it may be a pretty decent router but led me to the MV12V2 3 1/4 hp. It seems this one lacks the durability of its previous model but there are ways around it. Ive looked at the bosch 2 1/4 hp a bit more costly with nearly the same specs as the comparable hitachi and i do own a bosch laminate trimmer that has performed very well.

So the question is which is the best router around 200.00 or less that will handle raised panel bits or at least the most dependable with the fewest drawbacks. I am obviously putting it into a table but I can see it would be nice if it worked well as a hand held.

at minimum i just need to get though this project. if needed i can get a more expensive router down the line that can provide me with years of dependable service. I also need to know when it comes to panel bits which is the cheapest I can buy that will get me through a few panels nicely without chip out problems etc.

I hope I have not bored all of you or written far to much but I do really appreciate any input you all might be able to offer.
 

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Welcome to the router forum.

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For a one time project almost any new router will get you through. Though I would stress a larger 3 to 3.5 hp router is the way to go for raised panels.

To stay in your 200.00 there are loads of router that will fill the bill in the 2 - 2.5 hp range, I believe there is even a 3 HP Freud on sale for 199.99 at Woodcraft. Ask the guys here I think some have had good luck with that router.

If you could go 286.00 00 I would recommend the Milwaukee Router, it is one of my favorites:

http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-562...ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1296705135&sr=8-1

Of course I could always sell you a brand new 3 HP DeWalt for 195.00 including shipping(about 80.00 off retail).

http://www.routerforums.com/tool-swap-n-sell/26092-dewalt-625-router.html

Even a little DeWalt 618 or a PC 890 series could do the job no problem for a one time thing. Like many here state, you can just make a bunch of shallow passes if your router is a bit under powered.

The router you are looking at for 89.00 will probably do the job as well, maybe not as nicely as some other router, but I bet it will be fine.

Get some fantastic bits, that is just as important than the router for panels, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thank you so much for the reply. I would bet the milwauke is a fine router, I have had two of the 1 3/4 hp (i believe thats what they were) and loved using them, although my needs at the time were small, detailing custom shelving and stair nosing mostly. When times were tough had sold one bought another and then sold that one when in need of a quick buck again. I have always had good luck with dewalt saws but the drills couldnt hold up to heavy use. These are just black and decker any way but never had a dewalt router so i cant speak for them.

I do hope to get a few more opinions on the routers, I guess a better question to put out would be what are you guys using to power your panel bits?

When it comes to bits and the "bit" of research i have done, (tell me if I'm wrong) it seems freud is at the top of the list, both in price and in quality followed closely by CMT and Amana tool which states on their site that timberline is their economical choice while still being a carbide bit. for a raised panel bit set with the above listed manufacturers you could spend anywhere from 113.00 for timberline to 200+ for freud for a 3 piece set. (panel bit with back cutter) looking at it, it appears the back cutter allows the panel to sit flush with the stiles and rails, is this true?

it appears carbide tipped is preferred. Grizzly and companies alike have very affordable sets but i wonder about sharpness out of the box and durability, also most of these if not all are not carbide.

I wonder..has anyone on the forum posted a lifespan chart or something like it for bits. obviously this may be difficult as the end user causes extreme variables with depth of passes, rpm settings, wood type and so on but assuming the same person uses different manufacturers bits there would at least be a constant in the users methods that would still provide us with useful info.

At any rate I hope to get more input on this thread, if I should be posting this in another location please let me know, until then know that I am searching the forms faq's and other threads for this info in the meantime.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok just finished going through the thread i last posted about and have just one question. between the top listed performers Bosch 1619 evs, PC 7518, Milwaukee 5625-20, Hitachi M12ve and m12v2 is the milwaukee the only one that will not require a raiser of some sort as this will definitely have to be factored into the cost.

Although i will be building a router table/cabinet down the road initially i planned on purchasing something like the Bosch Power Tools RA1171 Benchtop Router Cabinet-Style
 

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Welcome to the forum. I'm new here, but did quite a bit of research on routers capable of raised panel bits, and chose the Triton 3-1/4 hp plunge router. Lots of power, height adjust from the top of the table, and bit change from the top of the table. Can find them between $200-$279.
 

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Also- you can save some dough on your temporary bench, and spend that on a better router. I've also been shopping tables, and MCLS has a decent table top/fence/mounting plate for $189.00. Thats with an aluminum plate. The phenolic plate combo is a bit cheaper, but I've heard of sagging/buckling issues with it. The phenolic plate supposedly has a crown built into it to compensate for a heavy router, which would sag it into the right height. True or not, I'm spending a bit more $ on the aluminum plate. You still need a stand or cabinet to put it on. I'm stickin mine on an old bathroom vanity I pulled out of a remodel.
 

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Baily Edition and Chris:

Good morning.

Everything you're both saying is quite credible but I would suggest a bit more exploring before you bite the bullet.

You have a problem when selecting a router for raised panel bits; will it fit? Next, will the router go slow enough? Raised panel bits are scary enough without adding speed and improper mounting. My Hitachi M12V (no longer produced) had to be modified to take large bits but having done so, removes _some_ of the terror involved. The newer M12V2 requires no modification. I'm not sure about some of the other brands. I certainly wouldn't go for anything less than 3 1/4 HP.

Next, you don't want to attempt to use a big bit without a table. To that end, you can use the OakPark philosophy and make your own from scraps or you can go out and buy something that will never stop vacuuming money from your pocket.

Next, you may wish to use your router in a pair of skis. Depending on the type of raised panel work you're doing, it may be preferable to use skis rather than large bits.

You can also use a vertical table with a longer, small diameter bit for raised panel work.

However, you chose to proceed, keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've also been shopping tables, and MCLS has a decent table top/fence/mounting plate for $189.00. Thats with an aluminum plate. The phenolic plate combo is a bit cheaper, but I've heard of sagging/buckling issues with it. The phenolic plate supposedly has a crown built into it to compensate for a heavy router, which would sag it into the right height. True or not, I'm spending a bit more $ on the aluminum plate. You still need a stand or cabinet to put it on. I'm stickin mine on an old bathroom vanity I pulled out of a remodel.
making a cabinet wouldnt be an issue, I too would prefer the sturdier plate. Thank you for the tip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You have a problem when selecting a router for raised panel bits; will it fit? Next, will the router go slow enough? Raised panel bits are scary enough without adding speed and improper mounting.
Do you know of any issues with the above listed routers taken from the forum thread I discovered?

My Hitachi M12V (no longer produced) had to be modified to take large bits but having done so, removes _some_ of the terror involved. The newer M12V2 requires no modification. I'm not sure about some of the other brands. I certainly wouldn't go for anything less than 3 1/4 HP.
You can still buy this new from www(dot)reconditionedsales(dot)com/Routers___c362(dot)aspx(i would have this linked but i dont have enough posts, sorry guys) and I was considering it although another 60 bucks or less at this point for a new production model like the P.C., Bosch, or milwaukee seems a wiser choice. What modification did you have to make?? The M12V2 seems to have some serious issues with the fine height adj. according to reviews, made of plastic, strips and snaps easily. If using a raiser than this seems to eliminate its only real pitfall. Do you have any input on this?

buy something that will never stop vacuuming money from your pocket.
Not that I am opposed to this statement but can you clarify what you mean here, in what way do they suck money?

Next, you may wish to use your router in a pair of skis. Depending on the type of raised panel work you're doing, it may be preferable to use skis rather than large bits.
:wacko: Ok something new to research, I'll check into it. Anyone care to elaborate?

You can also use a vertical table with a longer, small diameter bit for raised panel work.[/QUOTE] Have not seen this yet although i have seen the bits for them, I'll have to check into this, are you doing this or is someone out there that can elaborate more on this?


Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks ill check it out
 

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I would pass on the routertable if you'll hear me out. In my use I have found working with large raised panel bits you are better off using a shaper rather than a router table. Heres why. When using the larger bits with a 1/2 inch shank you can get an adapter that will fit to many of the smaller older Craftsman,Delta shapers that are widely available on craigslist and other sources for under $200 in most cases. The torque required to make these type panels are better suited to a shaper as the rpm range is usually around 8-9k rpms which is perfect for these larger bits as they have a tendency to burn when used at higher rpm's. You will get a better cut and finish with the shaper as opposed to a router which will have a hard time cutting thru hardwoods at the lower rpm range. I'm not saying it cannot be done,but the results will be significantly better with a shaper. I would still get a router and table for use on other projects tho as I feel it is a necessity in woodworking. But a small shaper will do a much better,safer job than a router will for large or even small raised panels. Just my $.02 as others will undoubtedely tell you different:)
 

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excellent pro-shaper arguments

Interesting comments:

I would pass on the routertable if you'll hear me out. In my use I have found working with large raised panel bits you are better off using a shaper rather than a router table.
Finally, someone willing to support the shaper side of the story. Thanks "Tommyt654." View what follows as my arguments but not to diminish yours. Thanks again. Neat stuff!

Heres why. When using the larger bits with a 1/2 inch shank you can get an adapter that will fit to many of the smaller older Craftsman,Delta shapers that are widely available on craigslist and other sources for under $200 in most cases./QUOTE]

Availability of the shaper at reasonable cost is one issue, availability of the adapter for an older shaper is the other. Many new ones list the router adapter as standard equipment.

The torque required to make these type panels are better suited to a shaper as the rpm range is usually around 8-9k rpms which is perfect for these larger bits as they have a tendency to burn when used at higher rpm's.
I use table mounted Hitachi M12V (I have two.) These are "tanks" as one of our members is so quick to point out. They are rated at 3 1/4 HP with a bottom speed of 8,000 rpm. This is as much as the mid-range shapers with greater range.

You will get a better cut and finish with the shaper as opposed to a router which will have a hard time cutting thru hardwoods at the lower rpm range.
This part is the debatable part. At no point do I advocate, shaper or router, taking a whole cut in one pass. I think the finish would be as good with a shaper or a router but only if taken in smaller "bites" at a time.

I'm not saying it cannot be done,but the results will be significantly better with a shaper. I would still get a router and table for use on other projects tho as I feel it is a necessity in woodworking. But a small shaper will do a much better,safer job than a router will for large or even small raised panels. Just my $.02 as others will undoubtedely tell you different:)
I've taken a look at the selection of shapers at Jet, Grizzly and BusyBee. They start at $400 and go to $5,000 U.S. If I were doing thousands of board feet of molding or some other finish carpentry, I would certainly employ a shaper and bear the cost of "special" knives, if necessary.

Routers, on the other hand, with a table, can easily handle the requirements for a single home remodel with greater versatility. I'm in the middle of a renovation and I've built posts and beams with my routers and I'm about to start stairs, bannisters, decorative doors and moldings. I would hate to have to do all of this with a shaper. It's bad enough trying to muscle a heavy beam around a torsion table. It would be worse on a shaper bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you Tommy, I respect and appreciate not only your opinion but the fact that have taken the time to back it up with a detailed explanation. I will definitely take this into consideration and check into what it would take to get a setup like this going if not now than in the future.

I also enjoy Allthunbs ability to argue the otherside of this. Without having looked into it yet I would be more inclined to think that a router setup would be easier to squire and cheaper while offering more flexibility to someone with a tight budget and small production needs however it is easy to understand the value of this shaper. Honestly I don't even know what one looks like so off I go to find out ;) thanks again
 

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Hi

Just my 2 cents :),,shapers are what night mares are made of, been down that road, that's what I got when I started off with wood milling, the router table can do so much more, " shapers" for molding they are great but other than that Well...not to say anything about the cost of the cutters and the SMALL table top on most of them..many come with a ring guard what a joke.
Most should come with a TP roll holder it's needed with that machine.

To each his own.. :)

===
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Bobj3, for the link to the bits, I do like the sound of the five piece bit set for 119.00 that seems like a fair deal. I like that it includes the glue joint bit as well as the stile, rail and panel bits with back cutter in the profile i was looking for.

I see they offer katana for a bit more, i guess i have some more thread searching to do but it would be great to hear more from ppl on there bit choices as well. If someone knows of a thread detailing this and could post a link here that would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That deal on the Triton for 200 seems pretty unbeatable, still would love to hear if anyone has an issue with it before purchasing as it wasnt mentioned near as much as the Bosch, PC, or even MV12 in the "best router for table" I discovered earlier.

It does seem to have all the options a guy could want and appears to be accompanied by the right power specs as well and for 200.00 can you beat it? If no real neh sayers i think i may have to take advantage of this like Chris did.
 

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Since your not that experienced with the tools involved yet you should definetely go with the router as it takes considerable more experince to set up and use a shaper . Mine has an all steel extended table borrowed from a few rablesaws and extended to the left and right hand sides. So the top is actually larger than most routertables you will see. The only thing I'll repeat is the torque needed to do these panels in either a single or several cuts are soooo much easier on a shaper than the amount of repetitive cuts needed on a router as the actual hp vs declared hp are a vast difference between the 2. A true 1 1/3- 2 hp induction rated shaper motor will provide nearly double the torque needed to spin these large 3 wing blades as opposed to the router which will have to turn a higher rpm to get the same effect. Either way they do both accomplish the same task and the router is more versatile in the long run. As far as adapters for the router bits they are widely available. I got mine at woodworkersupply.com for 1/2 of whats listed as they are not a big seller and I have great negotiation skills when it comes to purchasing things for my shop. But my gut instinct tells me that you should go with the router bits as its a small enough job, but later you may want to look around as I said for a used shaper that are widely available on Craigslist and other places. I happened upon mine at a estate sale with a full compliment of cutters for $200 its a Delta 43-120 with as I said side tables adapted from the extension tables off a few tablesaws . The only safety problems with these tools lie with the operator skills not the machine themselves. Most folks are afraid to use them as they are extremely powerful when it comes to hogging off wood(saves time) and not familiar enough with them to the point they need extra TP (Got to get a jab in at Bob). If one comes up later on at a decent price grab one you will not regret it as I have used mine for crown molding(excellent results) as well as casing,window molds,door frames ets as with just a few bits you can make a variety of profiles that would cost a fortune to be able to make with a router. But yes go with the router. You might check with Holbren.com, or Reconditioned Sales for their CMT bits as thats what I use in the shaper and they occasionally will have sales for 50% off. Also Eagleamerica one of our sponsors here as well as Peachtree Woodworking as well. Most all have these bits your looking for in sets for reasonable prices, CMT Orange Tools 800.515.11 Six Piece Kitchen Cove Cabinetmaking Router Bit Set With 1/2" Shank , CMT Orange Tools 800.517.11 3 Piece Sommerfeld Raised Panel Set ,Raised Panel - Holbren ,PM me for how to get 10% off with Holbren., Router Bit Sets, Stone Mountain Router Bit Sets , Router Bit Sets - Door Construction Build-a-Sets
 
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