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Hello All,
I'm just dipping my toe in the woodworking pool and need to pick the brains of those who've been around a little longer.
What would be a good router as a first purchase for general work? i.e. furniture making, chests, sidetables and the like.

I have access to purchase a MAKITA router model 3620 at a good price. Is this a good place to start?

Thanks for your help in advance.
John
 

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John, 3620 does not come up on Makita's web site. Is this a used router? The 3621X is only a 1-1/4 HP plunge router, and I think you can do much better. Most people dont want to spend a fortune on their tools starting out. Keep in mind that a router will do so many of the woodworking tasks that it is very important to get one with some common features. This is my recommendation: You will want a router in the 2 HP and up range. This will give you the ability to use larger bits or more aggressive cutting bits. You will want a plunge router to allow you to make quick depth adjustments during cutting operations. You need the ability to use guide bushings to follow templates. You also need the ability to easily mount and dismount your router to a table. You should buy one of the quality brand names to avoid early router failure. All that having been said the easiest way to get all these features is with one of the combo kits. These kits have both a fixed and a plunge base, one motor, and usually an edge guide. Most will accept Porter Cable style guide bushings. Popular choices are the Hitachi KM12VC, Porter cable 694VK or 895PK, DeWalt DW618PK, Makita RF1101KIT2, Craftsman 26620, and my personal favorite the Bosch 1617EVSPK.
All of these kits will perform well, expect to pay around $200. Take the time to read the many posts on choosing a router to learn more specifics about each. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable with the router. Before you spend your money put your hands on the router and see how the controls adjust, both right side up and upside down(as in table mounting) You can spend less, as little as $63 for a Skil 2-1/4 HP plunge router at HD, but keep in mind that you do get what you pay for.
 

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Hey John, the 3620 is a 3/8 collett plunge router. Although they use 1/4 bits, Ive got one and they are a ripper little router, and a pleasure to use. As a first router it is ideal but you will eventually require a larger 1/2 inch plunge model, plus three or four more. I've got seven and still looking. If it's cheap, buy it.You can never have too many.
regards, Lionel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Unfortunately someone else thought it was a good deal too and I've missed out.
Too bad. I'm still looking around though.
Is a 1/4" router OK as a starting tool for doing basic round-overs and dadoes in light furniture and the like?

Thanks in advance,
John
 

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I have a Makita 3620 1/4" collet plunge router that I have been planning on parting with. (The new Hitachi kit keeps calling out my name). Only problem with it is a baseplate screw that stripped out (local tool repair shop fixed that with a helicoil), and bits will sometimes stick in the collet.

Comes with a case, but no collet wrenches. $40 plus shipping.

 

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John, I would like to recommend you have a chat with our Australian Connection, TemplateTom. He will be the person to ask for a local point of view on your best choices.
 

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For the types of projects you mention, I strongly recommend you obtain a router that takes 12.7 mm (1/2 inch) shanks and that has variable speed. The Makita 3612C is a 3 1/2 hp model that uses a 12.7 mm (1/2 inch) collet and has variable speed. I started with a Skil that had a 6.3 mm (1/4 in.) collet. I quickly got to the point that I needed bits with 12.7 mm (1/2 inch) shanks. The Skil quickly lost the ability to hold bits and so became dangerous. One down side to the Makita 3612C is that it uses adapters to take bits with shanks less than 12.7 mm (1/2 inch). Variable speed is needed especially for larger bits or for different types of materials (wood vs. polycarbonate vs. polyacrylate). The Makita does have the ability to use template guides, but I use the Oak-Park base plates which use template guides available from Oak-Park and Lee Valley, not the "industry standard" PC guides. I do not know anything about the avallability of Oak-Park or Lee Valley products in Australia, but you have two of world's greatest authorities in Template Tom, who has developed the use of template guides in routering, and HarrySin, who is very expert in many aspects of woodworking. HarrySin uses a Makita 3612C for plunge routing. They are both very willing to help you. I suggest you contact them about the router you should buy and the use of templates.

I also suggest you consider seriously the post from Mike.

Also please note that I have no connection with Makita other than owning one of their routers.

Just my opinion
 

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The routers in Oz are a different story. The mains voltage is 220VAC and the selection of available routers is quite different. Tom and Harry are both knowledgeable of what is available there so please consult them.
 

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John, you have just illustrated the importance of entering your details incl. country in your public profile, that way when asking for suggestions regarding purchase of tools, only members living in the same country would normally reply. As for purchasing your first router, definitely a 12.7mm one, a 6.3mm sleeve will come with it, my first choice would be a Makita 3612C however if the cost can't be justified at this point in time then I would suggest the GMC 12.7mm model MAG2050, it has a lot of good features incl.soft start, an 8 step depth turret and micro depth adjuster, amazingly, the recommended retail price is, according to the young lady routologist that I just spoke to at GMC, only $130.00. The same young lady told me that Triton is now part of the GMC group. John, never hesitate to ask questions on this, the friendlies of forums ever.
 

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Makita model 3620

John,

Welcome to the forum.


Hello All,
I'm just dipping my toe in the woodworking pool and need to pick the brains of those who've been around a little longer.
What would be a good router as a first purchase for general work? i.e. furniture making, chests, sidetables and the like.

I have access to purchase a MAKITA router model 3620 at a good price. Is this a good place to start?
One of the (very few) problems in living in Oz is that with this type of equipment, the manufacturers give us different model numbers to Europe and the US. (probably because of the voltage and we use metric)

That is why our US members could not find your model on their sites.

I also have a Ryobi ERT241200 which I doubt would show up on a US site.

A good 1/2' (12.6mm) router.

Which part of Australia do you call home?

Rgds
James
 
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