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Hi folks, Not only am I new to routers, I'm new to woodworking. I'm a disabled senior with a lot of time!
I love fly fishing and fly tying. I have decided I want to build fly tying stations. Several years ago I inherited 2 large tools chests with my uncles hand tools. I was going to sell them but I decided to keep them. I will need a router to finish my workstations. I need to ask a few questions before I purchase. Also I am on a limited income being a senior. I thought I would start with the best quality from Harbor Freight. In the future I will upgrade but I need an economical starting place with a warranty.

My questions:
1. What power should I start with?
2. Plunge or fixed?
3. 1/4" or 1/2"
4. Should I get a table too, does the table need to be the same brand?
5. Can 1/4" bits be used in 1/2" router?

I need to make 2" indentions in the table tops for fly parts like hooks etc. How do I get them perfectly round, about 1/4"
in depth?
I promise I won't be a pest! I really appreciate your time! Thanks so much!
Kind Regards,
Charlie47:confused:
 

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Hey, Charlie; welcome!
Power isn't the first question you need to consider, what feels right in your hands, and is well supported by the manufacturer are two really important factors. Many first time router buyers are swayed by (low!) prices and then suffer 'buyers' remorse'.
A lot of us here have Bosch 2 1/4 hp routers and are really pleased with them.
'Cherryville Chuck' swears by his Hitachi routers, there are also many DeWalt owners.
Mine is a Bosch 1617EVSPK...both a fixed base and a plunge base..
It has both 1/4" and 1/2" collets included.
If you are only doing small items you might find a 1/4" trim router perfect for your needs. DeWalt makes a very nice package with both a fixed and a plunge base, as does Bosch.
I'm the wrong guy to answer table questions but there are lots of 3rd party tables that will take pretty much anybody's router.
You want either an Aluminum or cast Iron/steel top...no plastic tops!!
On the indentation question; you mean concave or evenly deep across the span?
 

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Welcome to the fun!

I would get a plunge router - far more useful that a fixed base. 2 HP or so will work for a lot of tasks. I buy plenty of stuff from HF, but, as you probably know, their quality is hit or miss. I read the reviews on their website to know what to expect and to avoid the true dogs. Some of their stuff actually works ok. Personally, I wouldn't buy an HF router but if that's all you can afford. You might want to consider used Hitachi, Bosch or DeWalt.

It may take a little bit of learning but bowl cutting router bits will allow you to make the holes holes you want. The advantage over a straight bit is that the corners will be rounded which is quite important for getting little parts out. Here's an example picture. Lots of companies make them. You will need to learn how to make a template for this bit and you will need a variable speed router as it's a pretty big bit and needs to go at a slower speed. Needs a plunge router.
 

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Hi folks, Not only am I new to routers, I'm new to woodworking. I'm a disabled senior with a lot of time!
I love fly fishing and fly tying. I have decided I want to build fly tying stations. Several years ago I inherited 2 large tools chests with my uncles hand tools. I was going to sell them but I decided to keep them. I will need a router to finish my workstations. I need to ask a few questions before I purchase. Also I am on a limited income being a senior. I thought I would start with the best quality from Harbor Freight. In the future I will upgrade but I need an economical starting place with a warranty.

My questions:
1. What power should I start with? This really depends on the work you will be doing. In general, any router over 1 1/2 hp will handle larger bits. Most here favor the Bosch 1617.
2. Plunge or fixed? Fixed base routers are generally installed in tables. They can also be used anytime you need to profile the edge of any board. The edge profiling can be done on the table or free-hand. If you get too big a router 3+hp, it will be difficult to use free-hand. The plunge router is generally used for freehand work where depth control is required, for example, a mortise.
3. 1/4" or 1/2" 1/4 inch routers are generally under 1 1/2hp. Trim routers are example. They can be used for light freehand use but cannot generally fit bits over 1".
4. Should I get a table too, does the table need to be the same brand? There are advantages to having a table, for example, when routing smaller pieces that would otherwise cannot be done freehand...clamping problems, etc... Generally, if the piece can be brought to the table, it is better to use the table. The table should have dust collection and therefore anytime you can use the table it will be cleaner.
5. Can 1/4" bits be used in 1/2" router? Yes, with the proper adapter. The 1/2" router will generally come with the 1/4" adapter.

I need to make 2" indentions in the table tops for fly parts like hooks etc. How do I get them perfectly round, about 1/4"
in depth? The easiest bit to use would be Forstner bits. Easy to control for depth. Forstner bits will generally leave a small dimple in the center of the hole you drill due to the pilot.
I promise I won't be a pest! I really appreciate your time! Thanks so much!
Kind Regards,
Charlie47:confused:
I tie flies also and would think that if you make a right size hole on your table for hooks, etc. the grain of the wood will not make it easy to pick up the small parts. I use small fly boxes for small hooks, etc... Sometimes I use plastic tweezers. If you decide to use the Forstner bit for making your small parts holder, line it heavily with urethane or resin to make it smooth.

Ask away...obviously my answers were brief but you ask good questions and may require additional discussion. Do you have a particular project in mind...? It will help to focus our answers.

Hope this helped...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey, Charlie; welcome!
Power isn't the first question you need to consider, what feels right in your hands, and is well supported by the manufacturer are two really important factors. Many first time router buyers are swayed by (low!) prices and then suffer 'buyers' remorse'.
A lot of us here have Bosch 2 1/4 hp routers and are really pleased with them.
'Cherryville Chuck' swears by his Hitachi routers, there are also many DeWalt owners.
Mine is a Bosch 1617EVSPK...both a fixed base and a plunge base..
It has both 1/4" and 1/2" collets included.
If you are only doing small items you might find a 1/4" trim router perfect for your needs. DeWalt makes a very nice package with both a fixed and a plunge base, as does Bosch.
I'm the wrong guy to answer table questions but there are lots of 3rd party tables that will take pretty much anybody's router.
You want either an Aluminum or cast Iron/steel top...no plastic tops!!
On the indentation question; you mean concave or evenly deep across the span?
Thanks so much, sorry about my badly ask question, Concave! Again thanks!
 

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Charlie...welcome to the forum...
 
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Hi folks, Not only am I new to routers, I'm new to woodworking.
I'm a disabled senior with a lot of time!
Hi Charlie and welcome to the forums...
1st lets get that new shine toned down a tad...
This here link will take you to a collection of how to articles and information on routering...
above all it will cover safety... none of us like the sight of ''accidents'' even if they're not our own...

BTW..
most of us here are seniors or a fuzz older...
 

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I love fly fishing and fly tying. I have decided I want to build fly tying stations.
what type or level do you want to build????
see the pics...
 

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1... I will need a router to finish my workstations.
2... Also I am on a limited income being a senior.
3... I thought I would start with the best quality from Harbor Freight.
4... In the future I will upgrade but I need an economical starting place with a warranty.
1...All of those stations can be done w/ a Bosh Colt Kit or a Bosch 1617EVSPK...
Reconditioned from CPO is a no worries purchase...

2... understood...

3... IMO... not a good plan...
picking out a tool(s)...
1st and most important item, look to the company...
evaluate their CS/TS, will they step up to the plate should there be any issues...
look to see if they have a planned obsolesce program in force...
there's no sense in buying something that can't be fixed in a few years or parts to be had...
what will the company and their product do for me...
figure out if they will respect you in the morning...

next the product...is it quality???...
will it have a long productive life???...
will it do more than I need it to. Go the extra mile and not complain or break???....
is it a good value???...
will it protect/accent my bottom line???...
will it go/be obsolete or become disposable in short order...
after the purchase; will there be intangible costs connected to it???

tools that don't cut the mustard, suffer down time, hurt production and the bottom line need to left on the store's shelf...

tools that don't cut the mustard, suffer down time, hurt production and the bottom line need to left on the store shelf...

and yes.. we will help you spend YOUR money and not have any qualms about it...

4... take that money and invest it in a one time purchase...

WHY I LIKE BOSCH...
2nd to none CS/TS support (American based) that's absolutely painless... They even been known to support some of their tools that have been discontinued...
Their tools are real work horses...
planned obsolesce isn't an issue w/ Bosch as it is w/ so many other manufactures and come w/ all around less grief...
their tools last, even for decades after hard heavy use..
they make tools that protect your bottom line which makes them a very good investment...
what is not to like...
Besides being comfortable to use routers, they are feature rich, have excellent bullet proof soft start, finite depth adjustment, quality collets, and so much more...
I think and believe Bosch to be an excellent outstanding company w/ superb products come routers...

Keep in mind, that saving some money now just may cost you a lot more down the road... So, do yourself a huge favor and get Bosch...
Bosch consistently scores high in/on all categories of quality, CS/TS, reliability and support, and they are as close as a phone call and your mail box...
 
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My questions:
1. What power should I start with?
2. Plunge or fixed?
3. 1/4" or 1/2"
4. Should I get a table too, does the table need to be the same brand?
5. Can 1/4" bits be used in 1/2" router?
1... I'd start w. a Bosch 1617EVSPK... because..
2... it will give you both...
3... it will give you both..
4... yes on the table and no for the same brand..
but you can build your own... (see the PDF's)...
you can use the fixed base from the 1617 in your shop built table... win/win....
5... yes....

.
 

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I am also a Bosch 1617 EVSPK kit fan. CPO seems to have then at an OK price.

If possible, I'd stick with the half inch collet models, whatever you choose to buy. Be careful to note whether the collet is imperial (inches) or metric. Some imported stuff is showing up metric, but most of the bits here are imperial.

I like my little Bosch Colt, but with a plunge base added, it's pretty close to the CPO refurbished price, and it is only for 1/4 inch shanked bits, and I would not consider using a bit much larger than an inch across in it for safety reasons, and even then I'd never make a very deep cut, not more than 1/8 inch per pass and running at a lower speed.

One nice thing about the Bosch kit is you can use the fixed base in a simple router table. And they have a key you can use to make fine height adjustments from above your table. Table mounted routers are much safer to use than freehand. The plunge base lets you preset plunge depth, which is nice for limiting the depth of your cut, and the bit withdraws when you let up on it, a safety thing.

Whatever you choose to get, do take time to read the material Stick put up. Probably more information than in any book on routing and it could save you some grief.

We'll all look forward to seeing your efforts, you can drag and drop pictures on your hard drive into the space just below your post.

Most of us here are older guys, with a few youn'uns scattered here and there. A lot of us, like Stick, are teachers at heart and we love helping people getting started in the hobby, or should I say, addiction.

Take a picture of your dad's tools so we know what you have available to work with when we make suggestions. Stains and finishing was a complete mystery to me at first, so you'll be running into that issue pretty soon, and we'll have lots of suggestions to offer.
 

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I need to make 2" indentions in the table tops for fly parts like hooks etc. How do I get them perfectly round, about 1/4"
in depth?
Phil covered the inset dish w/ the bowl bit well...
for a template, a hole bored in piece of scrap w/ a fostner bit (you want a really clean shouldered hole that a holesaw won't give you)....
I found an inset mortise to hold your component jars works better more often than not...
small cat bowls work out really great too...

if you don't have a drill press, drill guides are cheap or easy to build...
 

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I promise I won't be a pest!
Kind Regards,
Charlie47:confused:
please do...
We can tell from here you have so many more questions...
and we have plenty more answers...
 
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