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As my name implies, I'm a newbie router-man in the Metro Baton Rouge area. I am currently involved in a year-long flood reconstruction project on a building owned by a non-profit organization to which I belong. It's been slow going with all volunteer labor (weekends and some nights), but we are coming up on the final stretch, cabinets and trim. Although I have a general knowledge of woodworking, I have never used a router before, so I have several basic questions.

1. I have been evaluating different routers and looking at router tables, with the main goal being to construct raised panels for the cabinets. Would a 2 1/4 hp such as the Bosch 1617EVS be sufficient for this, or should I look at a 3 1/4 hp like the Hitachi M12V2?

2. for the windows, I'm planning to use a bull nose bit to create a rounded sill with no lip on 1-inch stock. However, since 1-inch stock is actually 3/4", should I use a 1-inch or a 3/4-inch cut diameter bit?

3. What should I look for in a router table? Right now, I'm leaning toward the Bosch RA1181 table. Any other recommendations?

This is probably more information than anyone cares about, but I wanted to let you know a little about the situation. I am by no means a carpenter by trade or hobby, just a guy trying to do the right thing for a good organization.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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Welcome to the forum. I'm sure the experts will have some advise for you shortly, but now that you've introduced yourself, I'd post in an applicable area that would get more traffic .
A first name in your profile is always nice :)
 

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Welcome!

For making raised panels, I would recommend a table router system.
the bits are big and heavy.

M12V2 Hitachi seems to me the best one fore big jobs...
The Big battle horse!

Regards.
Gerard
 

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Ray; if you did decide on the Bosch 1617 series, spring for the 1617 EVSPK. It's a package deal that has both a plunge router base and a fixed router base. You could leave the fixed base in the table and use the plunge base for handheld routing.
I know some of the members here don't like routing handheld, but if you want to see where the bit is, or you want to do something on a vertical panel or board (hinge gains for example) hand held is the only way that works.
Not all routing is cabinet work! :)

 

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Welcome to the forum Ray.
 

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Welcome to the Router Forums.

Ray I would get the larger router because of what projects you plan on doing and the large bits requird. I would recommend staying away form the small bench top router tables like the Bosch RA1181 because of the small working area of the top but if you do go this route then make sure you have a good way to hold it on top of the bench or cabinet top. If you want a bench top I would take the time and build one with a long worktop to better support the boards you will be machining, it would make life a whole lot easier.

Just my 2 cents worth
 

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Welcome. Nice to contribute to others. I have some very specific recommendations. First, a table system is the only way to go for that kind of project. For a router, I strongly recommend the Triton TRA001, which has a built in lift (raising and lowering mechanism) and the router will cost you less than a lift alone. This is a very powerful router 3 1/4hp and when you remove (and carefully store) one spring it works in a table extremely well.

You don't need a fancy table, in fact a plywood and MDF 2 layer table is fine, but you will want to get a mounting plate for the router, then rout out an opening with a rabbet (small shelf) slightly beeper than your router plate is thick. Most important thing after that will be a decent fence with a split in the middle that will sit close to the bit.

Of all the online videos on using a router for the tasks you're doing, none beat a commercial set made by Marc Sommerfeld. He is subtly promoting his products, but he is an old and very experienced cabinet maker and his technique is simple and direct and doesn't require a lot of fancy gadgets.

Making your own table, the cost for the setup will be about $500, new. There are lots of strings on the topic of making your own table.

Cabinets must be square, and that requires an acceptable table saw that has been carefully tuned up, which you can also look up on YouTube. What it means is that you make certain the blade is parallel to the miter slot, preferably within 1 or 2 thousandths. then the fence should be nearly parallel to the miter slots, but out about 4/1000ths further from the miter slot at the outer end than nearest you. This avoids binding an kick back and still gives you very square cuts. I am assuming you have one, but if not, the best deal for the money that is still portable is the Bosch 4100. A heck of a lot more saw than you'd expect for the price. Bosch tools arrive in pretty good shape, but you MUST still do the tune-up because they travel in bouncing trucks, storm tossed ships, and rattling/lurching trains on their way to you.

Square cuts will give you a nice cabinet that will go together square. That applies doubly to the the cuts you make on the face frames, I'll tell you why dead square is so important in a minute. Sommerfeld covers this as well, but there are many other videos. Most show identical technique, but more exposure is better than less to build confidence.

Consider getting one of the Kreg K4 Pocket Hole system kits. It allows you to drill diagnonal screws to fasten panels and face frames. As you tighten the screws, they pull the pieces together and if the cuts are square, so will be your cabinet carcus and face frames. Cuts that aren't perfectly square cannot be fixed. BTW, Kreg square head screws are preferred, coarse thread for soft wood, fine thread for hard wood. 3/4 inch material takes a 1.25 inch long screw. This makes an incredibly strong join, but you can also apply glue for a little extra strength.

I followed those recommendations carefully on my first cabinets and do to this day, and they ALWAYS come out square, as do face frames. Sommerfeld has many YouTube videos on making panel doors and fancy cabinets if you're willing to invest the time and money, lots of money.
 

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From my European point of view, never seen e Triton, except in the wildlife. But they look like good machines !
Sure you need this level of power, and table mounting for raised panel.
A plunge router is also good for a lot of things ,so a router that can do both is a must if you got only one router.
As desertRatTom said the depth of the triton is adjustable from the top when table-mounted this is very useful !!
(I had to spend hours to make my router easily adjustable when table - mounted, done but no much fun.)

You will find a good table saw more than useful .

For table saws I keep on brush-less motors, less noise, more durability.

regards.

Gérard
 

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Welcome Ray from another newcomer. They seem a very friendly lot around here and I am learning tons of useful stuff. All the best with your purchases. For what it is worth I opted for the Triton TRA001 on its price, table lift function, reputation and three year guarantee. I have hardly used it yet, but I am well pleased so far. Cheers!
 
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