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Dear all:

Hello! I am very glad I found this forum. My name is Emmie, and I am looking for any advice you can give me. My husband has asked for a router for Christmas. He does do some very basic carpentry around the house, and this is one tool he doesn't have. When I asked, he mumbled vaguely about wanting to be able to "finish edges" and "make some decorative cuts". I'm not sure if he has ever used one before.

My father in law is a carpenter, and when I mentioned the idea to him, he told me to get a "finish router". I looked and saw a few palm routers that seemed to fit the bill. However, would that really be the best start, or would it be better to go with a full sized one? Also, does anyone have any suggestions on bits to purchase as part of a start-up set? Suggestions on videos or books would also be fantastic.

Thanks very much for any advice or opinions you have. I hope to be returning frequently to share information on projects!

Take care,
Emmie
 

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Hi Emmie welcome to the forum. Well in my opinoin I would want a porter cable with a fixed base and plunge base combo set. But I have a 690 porter cable 1 3/4hp that I use for my table and for my free handed work. I bought mine at lowe's on sale for 99.00. It is a good starter router and you are better off staying away from the cheaper plastic looking ones. Porter cable or dewalt, Hitachi are all good routers to take a look at. Lowe's I've seen some pretty good starter sets for routing at reasonable prices.
 

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Hi Emmie: I would advise you to get a full size router, as opposed to a Trim router.
After using the router free hand he may want the ability to put it into a table. That would be beyond the capabilities of aa trim router. I have Porter Cable and Makita
routers, but Dewalt and Hitachi make good units as well. You may want to consider buying the Combo Set that has been mentioned. They are a good buy and can be used free hand or in a table. As far as bits are concerned I would suggest a straight bit !/4" and 1/2" a round over bit about a 3/8" radius and an ogee bit. I also suggest you buy carbide bits, not high speed steel, he will get much more use from them..
Woodnut65
 

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Buy him a combo pack and he will never need another one.A combo pack comes with 2 bases and one motor. With a combo pack he can use it handheld as a plunge router , and if he decide to make a router table he can attach the fixed base to the table and leave it there., and just switch the motor from one base to another as he needs too.

I have a router table and i use the router 95 % of the time in the table..Much safer to work that way and easier.
Most people use a router handheld only becuase they cannot do it on a router table.

For bits,you can get buy a package of 6 or more.They usually come with straight bits Ogees, roundover bits and sometimes dovetailed.
The Porter-cable 694 pk is a good combo also 890 series..The bosch 1617 pack is also a good router..DEwalt also make a great combo pack.
IN a router look for One with Variable speed...and soft start>>> Options
These routers mention above have these options..
The porter-cable 690 does not..
Watch the product numbers they can be confusing.. there is also Port-cable 693 Combo and it is NOT Variable speed or soft start. router..but comes with both bases

Good luck

Hickory
 

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"I have a router table and i use the router 95 % of the time in the table..Much safer to work that way and easier.
Most people use a router handheld only becuase they cannot do it on a router table".

Hickory
You quoted the above
Obviously I could assume that you do not use the template guides in the hand held position.
Leaving the router in the table will limit it's potential for producing a number of projects that can be achieved hand held.
I would think also that most people use the router in the table because they cannot use it hand held.
You also make a statement that it is safer to use in the router table, personally I have heard of more accidents with the router when it is used in the table.
I back up what I am saying, for the past 12 months I have been teaching blind people to use the router, all in the plunge mode as I would not ask them to use the router table.
I have prepared all the jigs and templates for them to use therefore adding safety to the procedure at all times and they have produced wonderful work and some of it I have posted on this forum through time to time. Most of the articles produced could not be routered on the router table.
As I have said many times Learn how to use the template guides to produce more projects with greater safety.
Tom
 

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Emmie said:
Dear all:

Hello! I am very glad I found this forum. My name is Emmie, and I am looking for any advice you can give me. My husband has asked for a router for Christmas. He does do some very basic carpentry around the house, and this is one tool he doesn't have. When I asked, he mumbled vaguely about wanting to be able to "finish edges" and "make some decorative cuts". I'm not sure if he has ever used one before.

My father in law is a carpenter, and when I mentioned the idea to him, he told me to get a "finish router". I looked and saw a few palm routers that seemed to fit the bill. However, would that really be the best start, or would it be better to go with a full sized one? Also, does anyone have any suggestions on bits to purchase as part of a start-up set? Suggestions on videos or books would also be fantastic.

Thanks very much for any advice or opinions you have. I hope to be returning frequently to share information on projects!

Take care,
Emmie
Emmie
I have prepared pdf file on 'What I look for when purchasing a router" for your perusal. This is the type of router that suits me and I have outlined the reasons for the various sugestions
I hope it will be of some assistance to you.
I have 3 Makita routers 3 Hitachi Routers and one Triton and also two Elu routers One of the elus can only be used in the router table as it is not suitable for use by hand. (I have never used it hand held and I have had it for 20 years)
Tom
 

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I dont agree with much that you said Tom..Teaching blind people to use a router..Hope your liability insurance is paid up.
If you are building furntiure like i do most of the time., the router table gets most of the work. The last project i did ( Deacons Bench) The side and top rails i mortise them to except the curved splats..That was it for handheld work. The rest was on the table.
I know many furniture makers and they either have industrial shapers or router tables..Handheld template work is only if you cannot do it on a table.
Nobody can tell me using a router table is more dangerous than using a handheld router.." Think about what you are saying.
Do you watch the Router workshop...I have yet seen them use a router handheld.There is no reason for them too.
If you want to round a Table top., its easier and safer " and " You get a better job laying the top on a flat surface of the router table and rounding the 4 edges.

I just do different kind of woodworking then you do..If i was making signs then i would do more handheld work.

Hickory
 

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Hickory said:
I dont agree with much that you said Tom..Teaching blind people to use a router..Hope your liability insurance is paid up.
If you are building furntiure like i do most of the time., the router table gets most of the work. The last project i did ( Deacons Bench) The side and top rails i mortise them to except the curved splats..That was it for handheld work. The rest was on the table.
I know many furniture makers and they either have industrial shapers or router tables..Handheld template work is only if you cannot do it on a table.
Nobody can tell me using a router table is more dangerous than using a handheld router.." Think about what you are saying.
Do you watch the Router workshop...I have yet seen them use a router handheld.There is no reason for them too.
If you want to round a Table top., its easier and safer " and " You get a better job laying the top on a flat surface of the router table and rounding the 4 edges.


I just do different kind of woodworking then you do..If i was making signs then i would do more handheld work.

Hickory
Hickory
I am sure Emmie's husband is not going into the furniture business and is only looking for a router for the weekend woodworking in the back shed.
Like you I was also in the cabinetmaking business fo a great number of years and like most router users in my time we did put it under the table as I was brought up with the spindle moulder as one of our main machinery. (Similar to router table in a smaller way). I would say that in that time we did not have the router as part of our tool kit(I'm going back a few years as you will understand)
Therefore when I got my first router It was placed under the table. Since then I suppose I was like everyone else and that was where it stayed,. It was during my cabinetmaking years I was engaged to refitting executive jets with small cabinets and therefore it was necessary to learn new techniques to complete the many intricate work involved in making such small cabinets. I taught myself the use of the template guides with the router, as at that time there was no written material available for me to follow.
I have seen over the years the advantages of the guides and before I retired I used to conduct Router workshops for a number of years.
What I am saying there are alternative methods of using the router and please do not say that the only way is to put it in the table for 95% of the time. There are other methods that are available.
With regards to safety the usual people who may have lost a finger or part thereoff in the workshop when I was doing my apprenticeship were the users of the spindle moulder.
All I ask Hickory is you give the template guides a go and think of the hobbiest who may be reading the forum and guide them on to enjoy their routing projects. That is what I have tried to do introduce interesting projects that require the use of the router in thew plunge mode that are not capable of being done in the router table.
Obviously you are a professional woodworker and there is no doubt that the average "woodie" logged on to this forum would not be able to do the work that you do in your business If there were maybe you and I would have gone out of business sooner.
All I ask is that you do not say there is only one way to use the router and that is in the router table.
Your comments re the the "Router workshops" no I have not seen them but I am sure they must have used the router handheld to complete some of the project that I have seen when visiting their site.
Personally I would also disagree with Bob and Rick when they say 90% of the work should be done in the router table, but that is their opinion and who am I to argue, they have been conducting that TV series for a long time. I am only a lonely person on the other side of the world that found great value in the use of the template guides. I must confess that I will continue to try and show that there is a need to learn new skills with the router with the use of the guides.

My apology to all for taking up the space but I am concerned with safety with the router and the use of the guides will help. I would be interested in anyone else who may wish to comment and I am always open for assistance if I can help in any way
Tom
 

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Well said Tom..Your Second post had alot of good points and i do agree, that if you want to get the most out of learning how to use a router, using it handheld instead of in the table will give you more of a feel for the tool and you will end up in the long run understanding how versatile the router really is.
If you leave it in the table all the time, then you are really not getting the full benefit out of it.I get where your coming from Tom..Sorry for jumping on Ya. I'm old and slow at times...LOL
I guess for me, i have been doing woodworking for so long..I forget that there are people just starting out and need to learn the basics.

Cheers Hickory
 

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I have seen Bob and Rick use hand held routers on their tv show, sometimes cordless ones. I always marvel at their homemade jigs that they make and use. (their jigs are nicer made than my good stuff. Always leaves me wondering why they make jigs when they could just do an awesome job on their project and save that step). Something they seem to use quite a lot, at least to me, are the guide bushings in the router. They always seem to do things so easy and effortless.

Sorry, I got off track.
Frank
 

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Hickory said:
Well said Tom..Your Second post had alot of good points and i do agree, that if you want to get the most out of learning how to use a router, using it handheld instead of in the table will give you more of a feel for the tool and you will end up in the long run understanding how versatile the router really is.
If you leave it in the table all the time, then you are really not getting the full benefit out of it.I get where your coming from Tom..Sorry for jumping on Ya. I'm old and slow at times...LOL
I guess for me, i have been doing woodworking for so long..I forget that there are people just starting out and need to learn the basics.

Cheers Hickory
Hickory
There is no need to apologise for your posting we all have the right to express our point of view and in most cases it does not mean that we are going to be listened to anyway.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to work on the jet aircraft during my working days and had many problems to solve that was never possible to be solved with the router in the router table.

I have since conducted router workshops to explain how the guides were used and I have always said there are alternative methods and we have to exploit them.

Regarding the safety issue of the blind using the router, I will attend my last class for the year tomorrow and I can honestly say it has been a most rewarding year for me. It has given me the chance to prove the versitility of the router in the plunge mode with the use of the template guides and I must say a great deal of preparation in drawing up the various templates and jigs for my class to use.

I suppose you could say and most people do, "There is a great deal of time in producing the jigs and templates". My answer usually is yes it does take time and if it can be produced with greater safety then it is all worth the effort. How many of us still plane our timber to size with the Jack Plane then finish with a smoothing plane and sand by hand. Not likely if there are machines available (Simple Jigs) to help us. When was the last time you chopped a Mortice from start? not likely if there is a morticing tool in the drill or simply use the drill to remove most of the waste material before using the chisel.

I have never purchased a jig and there are a great number around that will assist us in completing our projects with greater ease, I have always made my own and I have great satisfaction at producing the jig or the template depending on what I am working on. All the templates are used with the router in the plunge mode and the use of the template guides.

On a more sorryiful note Hickory, I entered another forum yesterday shortly after I submitted my posting, and I was saddened to read that two serious accidents had occured in recent times where the work was routered in the router table. I am not by any means saying that they could have been avoided if they had used the template guides as at least one of the projects had to be cut in the router table. It was so unfortunate that it happened and only brings home to us that we must take care when using the router whether it be in the table or the plunge mode.

Tom
 

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I should have submitted some pics to show why it is necessary to use the template guides as I do not think I could have completed the projects in the router table
 

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Template

Here is a job i did for a guy awhile back. He was renovating a Deck or porch on his old house..The railings and panels needed replacing so i ended up doing the panels.He gave me an old one for a pattern to go by and i made the template. There was 180 pieces to be shaped like a tear drop( see Pictures).
In the one picture you can see the template form i used..For those that dont know, You insert your stock into the form..lay the template over top of it and then the router ( with a bushing and 3/8 up spiral bit) will follow the pattern.
You have to use a plunge router to do this type of work.
I also had to make 2 passes , becuase the stock was 1 1/8 thickness.

Nice job on the projects Tom, i really need to do more of this type of work.
Templates take time to do , but you cannot do a Good job without them..And once they are made, and you want to make more someday, you have the pattern to go by.
Making templates and Jigs is a craft on its own.

UNlike any other tool some people dont give Routers the repect they deserve.You have a bit spinning around at 24,000 RPM you would think "that" would keep your train of thought focused on the job at hand.

I use to work in a Furniture plant and although very little router work was done, we did have table saw and Jointer accidents. Most of these happened when the operator was on the job for years..They get used to the job and confident running the machine..Then it happens.They lose a finger.


Hickory
 

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Emmie said:
Dear all:

Hello! I am very glad I found this forum. My name is Emmie, and I am looking for any advice you can give me. My husband has asked for a router for Christmas. He does do some very basic carpentry around the house, and this is one tool he doesn't have. When I asked, he mumbled vaguely about wanting to be able to "finish edges" and "make some decorative cuts". I'm not sure if he has ever used one before.

My father in law is a carpenter, and when I mentioned the idea to him, he told me to get a "finish router". I looked and saw a few palm routers that seemed to fit the bill. However, would that really be the best start, or would it be better to go with a full sized one? Also, does anyone have any suggestions on bits to purchase as part of a start-up set? Suggestions on videos or books would also be fantastic.

Thanks very much for any advice or opinions you have. I hope to be returning frequently to share information on projects!

Take care,
Emmie

Hello Emmie,

Here is a suggestion. Get your Husband to take you to Lowes to look for some lights or waht ever then work your way to the tools. Get him to pick up or check out the Routers, drills, Saws all ETC then lightly inquire about each one. IF he keys on a partiqular Router then you know which one he will like. Or buy him a gift card to Lowes and say this is for you to go get a Router with.

I and many others here could tell you which Router we would think he will like. But the best thing is for him to go to a store and pick the router up and see which one feels best in his hands. I drove my wife crazy when I was selecting a Router I went to 3 different stores (Sears, HomeDepot and Lowes) and I ended up with my Bosch 1617 EVS Combo pack. Not only did I like the feel of it in my hands but I also got a deal with it. If you go get him a router and it does not feel right to him he will not like it.

To me when working with a router there is alot of Dynamics involved and the biggest one to me is how it feels in my hands when I am holding it and moving it through the wood. Just my 3 cents.
 

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Hickory
That was a great example for the need of template guides and making a template. It is certainly not one project that you would consider completing on the router table
Tom
 

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I just KNEW this was a cool board! Thanks!

Dear all:

WOW! I wasn't able to get online for a day or two. I was sure I would get a response or two, but to have the thread go to TWO pages was more than I expected! I'm planning to give a few responses, but I ahve to take in all the information first! This si a blanket "thank you" to everyone who contributed to the discussion. It has really helped me a lot. Thanks so much!

Take care,
Emmie
 

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template tom said:
Emmie
I have prepared pdf file on 'What I look for when purchasing a router" for your perusal. This is the type of router that suits me and I have outlined the reasons for the various sugestions
I hope it will be of some assistance to you.
I have 3 Makita routers 3 Hitachi Routers and one Triton and also two Elu routers One of the elus can only be used in the router table as it is not suitable for use by hand. (I have never used it hand held and I have had it for 20 years)
Tom
Dear Tom:

I very much appreciate your work on this document. However, I could not get it to load properly. It seems that a few lines of the document are running into each other. I will try again at my office tomorrow, but is there any possibility that you could re-post it?

Thanks,
Emmie
 
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