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I inherited my fathers router when he passed away in 1988. It is a Craftsman and has a small portable table and 4 bits. I used it for a few house projects when I first got it and have not used it since. I’ve been thinking about making routed signs for some time and wanted a smaller lighter more modern router and just bought the Makita RT0701C. I know nothing about router bits. I’ve done a little research and it looks like Rockler and Freud make the best bits. (Buy once cry once). Local lumber yard carries Freud. I have not purchased any bits yet as I’m not 100% sure what I want/need. I’ve practiced some lettering with a 1/4" straight bit that I already had. Results are ok. Kinds of signs I want to make are very simple one line, maybe two line signs. One I’m thinking of for Christmas would say something like “Grandma’s Work Bench”. Simple signs like “Trail” with arrow pointing towards trail.

I wouldn’t call myself a woodworker at all. I don’t have much shop space and I have trouble measuring things. I always end up scrapping wood cause I can’t measure worth beans. I am a “measure three times, cut with chainsaw” type of guy. I’d like to get better at this.
 

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welcome Gary...
there is ''some'' reading material here at this link to help fix the '' I know nothing about'' thing of yours...
 
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Welcome to the forum Gary. I recently watched a video of a woodworker (don’t remember who) he said buy the best router
you can afford and buy the cheapest set of bits you can find. As you use the bits you will find which ones you use the most
than buy the good ones.
 

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Welcome Gary, you've found a great source for woodworking. Experience here varies from your level to the most sophisticated. As you probably are aware routers themselves function fairly basically but design can vary as does horsepower. One thing that is strongly suggested is to read and heed all safety information and that includes the links in Stick's message. Speed rotations are usually from 8,000-26,000 rpm with some routers and should be adjusted by the size of bit being used. Types of bits usually are HSS and carbide so depending on usage, one time project or often use, and probably should be purchased depending on that as carbide is stronger and lasts longer but is more expensive. Buying router bit kits usually include bits your not likely to use so you may actually pay more especially if you only use a few out of many. Scrap is a good thing for practice which should be done before attempting to do the "real" thing. Get a feel for the router and bit. On deep cuts make multiple passes taking a bit each time but all this is covered in Stick's material. But do take time to read and understand. While being small, a router can do some serious damage if used improperly both to you and anyone nearby.

Again, welcome, glad you're here.
 

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I have a book on routing- The New Router Handbook by Patrick Spielman; almost 400 pages and a bibliography of a whole bunch of WWing books he has written. Covers from basics to advance techniques.
 

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Hello and welcome to the router forum. Gray
 
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Glad you decided to join the fun. I probably do three times as many DIY projects as I do woodworking (more precise) projects. Learning to measure is actually something I had to work with. Some measurements are critical, others are a bit more forgiving. A lot has to do with whether you are going to cut inside or outside your mark. And many times, you use a knife to make the mark when it's important. For the inside parts of, say, a bookshelf or cabinet, I prefer to use what's called a story stick, which is a piece of scrap where you fit it in place and use a knife to mark where you're going to cut. Then you use that mark on the stick to mark the piece you're cutting.

On trick is to get a small "block" plane (See picture) which, when really really sharp, lets you make small adjustments to length for a precise fit. Hint, cut slightly longer then trim it back to fit in tiny layers. You are not alone.

At any rate, welcome to the club. Attached is a pdf of the 17 plus things that really helped me get going with woodworking. It has pictures, covers a lot of ground and may keep you from wasting money on stuff you really don't need.

The secret of the block plane is sharpening it to razor sharp level, which can be done with sand paper of increasingly fine grit. Look up sharpening hand planes for how to do it. A block plane is really handy for lots of stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First off, thank you everyone for the welcome. I was surprised to find a forum dedicated to routers from a Google search.

Hi Gary and welcome. You can make letters with straight bits, round nose bits, vee bits, or lettering bits like this one: It all depends on the look you want.
Thank you for that link. I have not yet seen such a router bit and it took a while to find it on the Freud site. It looks perfect, but a little on the large side. I only plan on making small signs with small lettering, most likely 1 ½ -inches tall to maybe 2-inches as in the sign in the photo below. Now that I’ve had some time trying to make letters, I can see that the sign in the photo below is crudely made.

The old router that was my fathers is a Sears 315.17400. On the manual he wrote the date and price. February 17, 1981 at $59.25. I have gone thru the manual, looked at the router and did some searching online and I still have no clue as to whether this takes 1/2-inch shanks of just 1/4-inch shanks. The 4 router bits that are with the router are all 1/4-inch. Will this router take 1/2-inch shanks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Welcome Gary, you've found a great source for woodworking. Experience here varies from your level to the most sophisticated. As you probably are aware routers themselves function fairly basically but design can vary as does horsepower. One thing that is strongly suggested is to read and heed all safety information and that includes the links in Stick's message. Speed rotations are usually from 8,000-26,000 rpm with some routers and should be adjusted by the size of bit being used. Types of bits usually are HSS and carbide so depending on usage, one time project or often use, and probably should be purchased depending on that as carbide is stronger and lasts longer but is more expensive. Buying router bit kits usually include bits your not likely to use so you may actually pay more especially if you only use a few out of many. Scrap is a good thing for practice which should be done before attempting to do the "real" thing. Get a feel for the router and bit. On deep cuts make multiple passes taking a bit each time but all this is covered in Stick's material. But do take time to read and understand. While being small, a router can do some serious damage if used improperly both to you and anyone nearby.

Again, welcome, glad you're here.
TThe Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP router I just bought is variable speed 10,000 - 30,000 RPM.

My fathers old Sears 315.17400 seems to be 25,000 RPM. Nothing in the manual and the 25,000 RPM is the only info that I can find online about the speeds.

At this point in time, I just plan on buying router bits that I need. Buying a cheap set to find out what I want/need may be a good idea. I’ll have to think about that. I haven’t heard anything positive on cheap kits. Thinking of sticking with Rockler or Freud and just buying one at a time as I need them. Local lumber yard carries Freud.
 

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For sign making, a light weight router, called a trim router, is handy. A plunge base is also very helpful. It lets you place the router, then push the bit down into the wood to track and form the letter(s). There are lots of people here who make signs this way. If you post a request for input on making signs with a router, many of them will respond. The title of th epost will draw them out. BTW, here is a picture of a plunge router. It is a second base segment and allows you to both facilitate plunging neatly into the workpiece, and also to limit how deep the bit will go. The one in the picture is very light weight and fairly easy to control freehand. I favor the Bosch "Colt" trim router, but there are some other brands that folks here like.

I like this picture because you can see where the motor for the router fits into the plunge base. You can see the two spring loaded shafts that let you plunge straight down, and you can see the 3-step stop where you can set the limit on the depth of plunge. The large handles make it easy to guide around your letters or carving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hello and welcome to the router forum. Gray
I’ve never seen a forum where your first name is part of your public profile. I always put my name in my signature, but I saw that just about everyone in this forum does it, so I did it. As for tools. I have never done much woodworking, so my tool collection is what a normal home owner might have for simple projects around the house. Most of them are old, tho not as old as me. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
For sign making, a light weight router, called a trim router, is handy. A plunge base is also very helpful. It lets you place the router, then push the bit down into the wood to track and form the letter(s). There are lots of people here who make signs this way. If you post a request for input on making signs with a router, many of them will respond. The title of th epost will draw them out. BTW, here is a picture of a plunge router. It is a second base segment and allows you to both facilitate plunging neatly into the workpiece, and also to limit how deep the bit will go. The one in the picture is very light weight and fairly easy to control freehand. I favor the Bosch "Colt" trim router, but there are some other brands that folks here like.
I bought the Makita RT0701C. A plunge base and dust collector are optional. Dust collection would be nice. I see I had the Bosch in your photo bookmarked, but I went with YouTube videos and reviews on the Makita. Had I found this forum first, I might have bought the Bosch. It was cheaper too.
 

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First off, thank you everyone for the welcome. I was surprised to find a forum dedicated to routers from a Google search.



Thank you for that link. I have not yet seen such a router bit and it took a while to find it on the Freud site. It looks perfect, but a little on the large side. I only plan on making small signs with small lettering, most likely 1 ½ -inches tall to maybe 2-inches as in the sign in the photo below. Now that I’ve had some time trying to make letters, I can see that the sign in the photo below is crudely made.

The old router that was my fathers is a Sears 315.17400. On the manual he wrote the date and price. February 17, 1981 at $59.25. I have gone thru the manual, looked at the router and did some searching online and I still have no clue as to whether this takes 1/2-inch shanks of just 1/4-inch shanks. The 4 router bits that are with the router are all 1/4-inch. Will this router take 1/2-inch shanks?
Sorry, 1/4" only. The router was made by Ryobi (315.xxxxx) for what that's worth. You can print text out on a computer, alter the font sizes to what you want, then glue the paper on your work piece and rout to the lines. I like using Lee Valley fish glue to do that as it is water soluble so a few spritzes with a spray bottle and remove the paper and then wipe off residue with a damp rag. Some prefer using 3M spray glue instead and using mineral spirits to get rid of the residue.

You can also get a letter set and use a guide bushing like this: https://www.amazon.ca/MLCS-9674-Bra...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B000NDPS4M which will follow the letter templates but you are limited to a small range of sizes that way.

You can also use a pantograph https://www.amazon.ca/BephaMart-Pan...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B01KAZOV90 to enlarge printed letters or a more expensive option is a pantograph with router mounted to it https://www.amazon.ca/Milescraft-12...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B001JEOMPU so there are options. You'll find it much easier to control where you are routeing with a palm router but there is still a learning curve where you have to get used to what the tool is going to do. You might benefit by looking at what Barb has done (Outofthewoodwork). Hopefully this link will take you to her uploads page. I would start by clicking on last page which is her oldest upload and work your way forward in time. The threads the pictures are from are to the right of the photos if you want more details. Barb started just like you, coming here to ask questions and learning and developing her skills as she went. It wasn't long before she was routing some outstanding looking signs. https://www.routerforums.com/profile.php?do=editattachments&u=80973&showthumbs=1
 
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