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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a beginner woodworker and am in the market for a router. I'm trying to build a box and the router seems to be the best fit to create the cuts I need (rabbeting and mortising). Since I can't find a new PC 690LR anymore, I was looking into these models:

  • Bosch 1617EVSPK w/ guide ($239 @ HD) - 1 year warranty
  • Bosch MRC23EVSK ($262 @ HD) - 1 year warranty
  • Skil RT1322-00 ($130 @ Rockler) - 1 year warranty
  • Metabo HPT KM12VCM ($150 @ Amazon/$170 @ Lowe's) - 5 year warranty
Since I'm just starting out, I was thinking of getting a cheaper router to get a handle on the tool and to learn best practices, hence the Skil or a cheap one from Harbor Freight. After gaining some experience, I was thinking of getting something better, possibly the Bosch.

Thoughts or advice? Are there any models better than these in the same price range? Thanks in advance...
 

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I'm a beginner woodworker and am in the market for a router. I'm trying to build a box and the router seems to be the best fit to create the cuts I need (rabbeting and mortising). Since I can't find a new PC 690LR anymore, I was looking into these models:

  • Bosch 1617EVSPK w/ guide ($239 @ HD) - 1 year warranty
  • Bosch MRC23EVSK ($262 @ HD) - 1 year warranty
  • Skil RT1322-00 ($130 @ Rockler) - 1 year warranty
  • Metabo HPT KM12VCM ($150 @ Amazon/$170 @ Lowe's) - 5 year warranty
Since I'm just starting out, I was thinking of getting a cheaper router to get a handle on the tool and to learn best practices, hence the Skil or a cheap one from Harbor Freight. After gaining some experience, I was thinking of getting something better, possibly the Bosch.

Thoughts or advice? Are there any models better than these in the same price range? Thanks in advance...
I always suggest getting a compact router as a beginner. Get the feel of it, get used to how a router handles then move on to bigger, heavier models. Can’t go wrong with something like a Makita R07-series, it’s very affordable and will serve you for years.


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The kinds of work you will be doing is often done on a table, and for that reason, in the USA, I would go with the Bosch 1617 EVSPK kit. You can find the base Bosch makes for mounting the router under the table. I think it runs a little over $50 and has a key for making fine height adjustments from above the table. Make your own table top and use a FLAT piece of lumber for a fence, clamp the fence in place.

My very first router was a SKill, I dumped it PDQ. Bosch has a whole range of accessories for the 1617. Their edge guide is very precise and can be used. You're going to be using this critical tool a long time, may as well invest in a top of the line tool. To see all the available accessories, go to Amazon and search Bosch Router Accessories.

Here's the link to Bosch under table router base. https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-RA1165...18331175&sprefix=Bosch+router+,aps,662&sr=8-6
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have you checked Craigslist or Marketplace for a 690 kit?

If no luck, I'd just pick up a Bosch 1617.
Hey Rebel, I was just able to pick up a couple working display models of the 690LR from Home Depot and Lowes for a low price. They didn't come with the collet's/wrenches/instruction manual/box/etc. but they also weren't banged up or "used" either. I'm picking up everything else in the marketplace right now so hopefully it doesn't get too expensive for those...

I understand that the newer revisions weren't made to the same quality as the older models so do you or anyone else have an idea on which ones I should try to stay away from?

I was thinking about the Bosch 1617 when I thought i was SOL on the 690LR and still want to expand my router line after becoming more experienced so will keep that in mind. Thanks for your input...any specific sites on best practices/how-to videos/etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I always suggest getting a compact router as a beginner. Get the feel of it, get used to how a router handles then move on to bigger, heavier models. Can’t go wrong with something like a Makita R07-series, it’s very affordable and will serve you for years.


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Thanks for the input...I'll add that to the list of potential routers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The kinds of work you will be doing is often done on a table, and for that reason, in the USA, I would go with the Bosch 1617 EVSPK kit. You can find the base Bosch makes for mounting the router under the table. I think it runs a little over $50 and has a key for making fine height adjustments from above the table. Make your own table top and use a FLAT piece of lumber for a fence, clamp the fence in place.

My very first router was a Skil, I dumped it PDQ. Bosch has a whole range of accessories for the 1617. Their edge guide is very precise and can be used. You're going to be using this critical tool a long time, may as well invest in a top of the line tool. To see all the available accessories, go to Amazon and search Bosch Router Accessories.

Here's the link to Bosch under table router base. https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-RA1165-Under-Table-Router-Above-Table/dp/B0007VHPFK/ref=sr_1_6?crid=LKPYNGQFL9K8&dchild=1&keywords=bosch+router+accessories&qid=1618331175&sprefix=Bosch+router+,aps,662&sr=8-6
I'm in the USA, California born and bred, and understand a table is very important to my needs. I was able to find a working display model 690LR from the big box stores and am in the process of buying the accessories (collet's/wrenches/etc.) but still need a table. Is there a table meant for the PC 690LR? I can't seem to find a new Bosch table for under $150 but I'll keep looking.

I was also looking into 2 saw horses (Toughtbuilt TB-C700 and Kreg KWS500 Track Horse/Portable Workbench Combo). What are your thoughts on those instead of getting a routing table? The Kreg's come with clamps so thats plus. I figured I could get more use out of the sawhorses than getting a routing table which can be used for routing only (unless I'm mistaken).
 

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Hey Rebel, I was just able to pick up a couple working display models of the 690LR from Home Depot and Lowes for a low price. They didn't come with the collet's/wrenches/instruction manual/box/etc. but they also weren't banged up or "used" either. I'm picking up everything else in the marketplace right now so hopefully it doesn't get too expensive for those...

I understand that the newer revisions weren't made to the same quality as the older models so do you or anyone else have an idea on which ones I should try to stay away from?

I was thinking about the Bosch 1617 when I thought i was SOL on the 690LR and still want to expand my router line after becoming more experienced so will keep that in mind. Thanks for your input...any specific sites on best practices/how-to videos/etc?
Check out Ebay for accessories...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Check out Ebay for accessories...
Already on it...thanks.

Picked up BigHorn 1/4" and 1/2" collets. Thought I was picking up Superior Electric but found out they're the same company. If these don't work, I'll look for ones from the Elaire Corp. I'm waiting on the wrenches/bushings to arrive and still looking for the plunge base. Is there anything else I should be trying to buy for this?
 

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Already on it...thanks.

Picked up BigHorn 1/4" and 1/2" collets. Thought I was picking up Superior Electric but found out they're the same company. If these don't work, I'll look for ones from the Elaire Corp. I'm waiting on the wrenches/bushings to arrive and still looking for the plunge base. Is there anything else I should be trying to buy for this?
Don’t try buying it all at once. Almost every tool out there has a line of accessories for it, just figure out what you use the tool for the most and go from there. My 1st router was a fixed base Ryobi from HD with a set of bits from HF. A year later I upped the ante to a 1/2” plunge Freud and a Makita RT0701, because I needed them - the plunge for big scale jobs and the compact for detailing, while the fixed base was a table mount. Same went for the bits - ea one of us ends up using their own specific ones (mostly flush trim, straight, champfer, rabbet, round over etc) and that’s what you end up replacing based on need. The rest are there just because they came with the set, all the different ogees, coves and so on. But the ones you end up using the most will pile up money wise and it’s best to get a higher quality, even when it costs more - saves money (time and wood cost money, yeah ?), whereas going cheap doesn’t. I use primarily Whiteside and Amana bits these days, with a few Freud ones thrown into the mix. Yeah yeah, I know, but CMT is still too rich for my blood.


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Why play different colors

I use St. Croix rods to fish
I use Ping brand to golf
I use Amana router bits

I don't play brands. Im satisfied with these brands and don't shop.

It is less frustrating this way..
 

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No worries, I get what you’re saying. But, here’s what someone like me has to deal with - some 3 or 4 months ago, I accidentally overheated a bit and the shank got bent. Aside from ruining a nearly finished project, now I had to replace the bit as well. Off to Woodcraft, only to discover that they don’t have what I need. Off to HD then, and that’s how one ends up with Freud bits. Like I said, it’s not about being a brand snob.


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Thought you might like to know a little more about Bosch and why so many of us like them. For me, it's all the different accessories, attachments, etc. You can find an amazing list Amazon.com : Bosch router accessories.

Bosch customer service is excellent, but you'll rarely need it because the build is so good. Fit and finish is very good. One accessory you'll appreciate is the $53 base for mounting in a shop made table (RA1165).

I immediately bought the edge guide and circle jig. Elegant and practical about $36.
Bosch Deluxe Router Edge Guide with Dust Extraction Hood & Vacuum Hose Adapter RA1054

They offer many other items, a dust extraction hood for under table use (RA1172AT) $26.
You need an adapter to use conventional threaded brass template guide set because the Bosch uses a twist lock, bayonet fitting. Or just buy their steel set (RA1128).
They offer two bench top tables, but I suggest you make your own. You mount the router on a flat plate and happily, almost every plate maker offers them pre drilled for the 1617.

All of that is what I like about the 1617, but the reason I bought it in the first place was I liked the look and feel of handling it, including the knobs on the fixed base. Because I got the EVSPK kit to start with, I bought my second one "naked." Which is to say without a base, just the motor. It went under the table for several years, then I got a larger router for the table and now have a router in each base for freehand use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Don’t try buying it all at once. Almost every tool out there has a line of accessories for it, just figure out what you use the tool for the most and go from there. My 1st router was a fixed base Ryobi from HD with a set of bits from HF. A year later I upped the ante to a 1/2” plunge Freud and a Makita RT0701, because I needed them - the plunge for big scale jobs and the compact for detailing, while the fixed base was a table mount. Same went for the bits - ea one of us ends up using their own specific ones (mostly flush trim, straight, champfer, rabbet, round over etc) and that’s what you end up replacing based on need. The rest are there just because they came with the set, all the different ogees, coves and so on. But the ones you end up using the most will pile up money wise and it’s best to get a higher quality, even when it costs more - saves money (time and wood cost money, yeah ?), whereas going cheap doesn’t. I use primarily Whiteside and Amana bits these days, with a few Freud ones thrown into the mix. Yeah yeah, I know, but CMT is still too rich for my blood.


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I like the route you took (bad pun, i know) and the reason I'm trying to buy what I can now rather than later is that Stanley Black-Decker is discontinuing the PC line and no longer manufactures products so I'm being proactive on getting what I can while they're easier to find. I fortunately have a one year warranty from these recently purchased 690's from the big boxes so feel lucky there if the need ever arises to repair/replace.

I bought Warrior bits from HF so I can practice and get better before I buy more expensive ones. I was able to pick up bushings/wrenches/plunge base from Ebay and router edger guide/base plate/a couple of kits from the service center.

Hopefully, I'll be skilled enough to feel comfortable buying quality bits one day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thought you might like to know a little more about Bosch and why so many of us like them. For me, it's all the different accessories, attachments, etc. You can find an amazing list Amazon.com : Bosch router accessories.

Bosch customer service is excellent, but you'll rarely need it because the build is so good. Fit and finish is very good. One accessory you'll appreciate is the $53 base for mounting in a shop made table (RA1165).

I immediately bought the edge guide and circle jig. Elegant and practical about $36.
Bosch Deluxe Router Edge Guide with Dust Extraction Hood & Vacuum Hose Adapter RA1054

They offer many other items, a dust extraction hood for under table use (RA1172AT) $26.
You need an adapter to use conventional threaded brass template guide set because the Bosch uses a twist lock, bayonet fitting. Or just buy their steel set (RA1128).
They offer two bench top tables, but I suggest you make your own. You mount the router on a flat plate and happily, almost every plate maker offers them pre drilled for the 1617.

All of that is what I like about the 1617, but the reason I bought it in the first place was I liked the look and feel of handling it, including the knobs on the fixed base. Because I got the EVSPK kit to start with, I bought my second one "naked." Which is to say without a base, just the motor. It went under the table for several years, then I got a larger router for the table and now have a router in each base for freehand use.
Appreciate your input @DesertRatTom.. I was about to pickup a Bosch 1617EVSPK before I found the 690LR for less than $50 from the big box store (working display model). I had/have to pick up the accessories (collet's/wrenches/plunge base) but it ended up being around $175. My next one will be the Bosch for sure though and thank you for giving me all the details on the accessories. I wont have to go search around for the model numbers and which ones work with which router.

Do you have any pictures of any finished projects you made with your Bosch? Also, what bits did you start with and eventually graduate to?
 
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