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Hello everyone. First off, I'm new to woodworking and I absolutely love it. I'm ready to dive in to all kinds of projects and I'm slowly adding tools to my arsenal. I know that I'm going to need a router eventually, so I'm up in the air on which one to get. I do not currently have a table, but I will get one eventually. I've been researching a few and here they are: DeWalt DWP611PK, BOSCH 1617EVSPK, BOSCH mrc23evsk. I've read that the last one doesn't work with a router lift. However, I don't know anything about a lift. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
John
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Welcome to the forum, John! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

I have the 1617 in my router table and also for a plunge router - love it!

We do like photos so even though you're just starting out you can show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

David
 

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hello John...
welcome to the forums...

I'm Bosch guy...
as for lifts, I'm partial to JessEm... https://jessem.com/...

to help you out w/ the learning curve of routering we have this here link w/ you in mind...

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's 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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John
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Hello and welcome to the router forum, John
If you only get one router get at least a 2.25 hp plunge router and fix base should be able to handle anything To start.
down road you probably will have more than one
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the forum, John! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

I have the 1617 in my router table and also for a plunge router - love it!

We do like photos so even though you're just starting out you can show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

David
Not sure how to add my name or location. It has to be right in front of my face.
 

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Welcome to the Forum, John...you will get lots of help here...so never be afraid to ask even the simplest of questions.

Buying a router kit that will give you a fixed base and a plunge base is very helpful...it will save you money in the long run by not buying one or the other.

I have the Bosch 1617 kit and love it...I use it mostly free-hand with the plunge base. I also use the fixed base when edge-profiling free-hand. It also has great dust collection used free-hand.

I have a Triton in another table...that is sweet. A bit heavy to use free-hand and, as a plunge router in a table, the springs have to come out to allow easy adjustment in the table.

Stick posted a link to a bunch of router basics...good read. Also, do some Y'Tubing for "router basics"...lots of good videos available...and you will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Looks like you've narrowed down your choices...each have their own peculiarities.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Not sure how to add my name or location. It has to be right in front of my face.
Go to Account Settings on the top right of this page, then on the left side panel you'll see Edit Signature. Go to Edit Your Details and near the bottom is a field labeled Location.

David
 

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Hi John, welcome to the party. Stick posted a link to all kinds of pdfs on routing. Better than buying a separate book. I have attached a pdf of the 18 things that helped accelerate my own learning curve. I made a number of poor purchases over the past 12years, so this is a distilled list that hopefully will help you avoid some of the mistakes I made. It is long, ten pages, but it has pictures.
 

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Hi John and welcome. A number of the very large plunge routers have the capability to be adjusted from above a router table so don`t require a lift. Some of the mid size routers also have that ability. The 611 is really a trim router, really nice to use on small jobs, but it`s really too small for use in a table. We have lots of info on building your own table and functional tables can be made for a few dollars. I`ve made some basic ones for around $10 by repurposing or using scrap material. The Bosch 1617 is well rated for both table and handheld. I have a Hitachi (now Metabo) M12VC that`s mid sized and I love using it.
 

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Welcome aboard John. As is apparent Bosch is a favorite among a good number of use and I also have several BOSCH 1617EVSPK routers. You'll find in time that as you progress having one router will not be sufficient unless you like changing things out. I started with one BOSCH 1617EVSPK and found I was moving it back and forth with my router table . When I built mine, wish I had done so way back when, I bought a table top and fence. For me it was the Woodpeckers Super Fence and top. Building it is a great experience and you can design the pull out drawers for your own liking. Mine ended up with 3 drawers on the bottom and several smaller bit drawers on each side as seen here at the bottom on this page of my website. I also added a Jess Em lift that makes it very easy and accurate to set the height of your bits and make minute changes as needed.
 

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John if I could sit you down and talk to you and actually show you what you will most likely be doing with a router you'd be amazed at how easy your decision would be. But since I can't I'll tell you this. Buy a good powerful router. Whatever brand you choose doesn't matter as much as how you use it. The most important thing you need to do is to decide what you want to do with a router. Keep in mind that a router is used mainly to work on the edge of a board. It can be making door panels or other parts of doors. It can be for making moldings or picture frames, The list goes on but to do this type of work you need something to hold the router steady and that isn't using it freehand which means you need a table. The table doesn't need to be fancy and certainly, the fence doesn't need to be fancy. What is important is that the table is long enough to support your work. That means none of the normal tables that sell for hundreds will be the best choice. Make one yourself and make it at least 3 or 4 feet long. Don't worry about a fancy fence because all you need is something straight to run the piece of wood against. There are tons of ideas on Youtube and if you want to see what I made just PM me. If you decide to get into sign making then you don't use a table and you probably should get another router. The big routers are not the best for free handwork. If you get a book on routing you will see all sorts of jigs that you can build. Don't fall into that trap. But that is for another thread. A router is a very specialized tool that is used to enhance what you are building not to substitute for another tool. Your most basic tool is a table saw and that is where you want to spend your hard-earned dollars.
 

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Welcome to the forum and the hobby John I suggest you buy a quality name brand router. Bosch is a great brand there are many more . You can build your own table.It don't have to be fancy. I have a very old 3hp Hitachi M12V plunge that has served me well table mounted. The table I use most is an made out of an old formica sink cut out mounted on a folding workmate. I can take it with me wherever I go. There are a ton of great ideas on this forum. Spend some time gathering info and read the safety rules.
 

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Mike
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Welcome to the Router Forums John.
 

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Hi John, welcome. I'd definitely suggest you make your own table. Easy. Make it with two layers. The top layer being real Baltic Birch plywood, which you'll find in 5 ft squares, or precut to 30x60 inch sizes. This stuff is probably going to be very flat. A second layer of BB or Medium Density Fiberboard is also going to be and stay flat, and for mounting your router, you cut the top table layer to fit the router mounting plate, the second layer you cut smaller by half an inch on every side.

I'm a real fan of the Bosch 1617 kit with both the fixed and plunge router base included. If you only have one router, to me, this is the one to get. The mounting plate makes it very easy to set up, and with a small part called the key, you can do some height adjustment from above the table. Makes setup easier.

You have to level the router plate to the height of the router table. Many ways to do this, but the easiest is to use Kreg leveling screws (see pix). I prefer one of the newer router plates with the twist lock insert. The older ones required removing three tiny bolts, not losing them or searching for them fruitlessly for hours (sad experience there). The twist lock eliminates the lost screw problem. I put in a pix of the Woodpecker plate I use, but there are other, far less expensive options. However, you don't have to use a plate, it's just easier. Third pix is a simple shop made table. Pretty easy, huh.

A nice straight board will do for a fence, just don't buy one with a twist or warp.

I hope this is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you to everyone for all of your input. I decided to go with the 1617evspk. I still want a smaller one for free hand but I'll try this for now. I know that I'm going to end up having several. I was looking into the Bosch table- ra1181, but I might get some ideas and just build my own. Can anyone recommend a good lift? Or is it worth it? Thanks again.
 

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Thank you to everyone for all of your input. I decided to go with the 1617evspk. I still want a smaller one for free hand but I'll try this for now. I know that I'm going to end up having several. I was looking into the Bosch table- ra1181, but I might get some ideas and just build my own. Can anyone recommend a good lift? Or is it worth it? Thanks again.
you'll find the 1617 comfortable to use free hand....

I have the JessEm...
bullet proof, easy to use, outstanding CS/TS and lots to choose from...
https://jessem.com/collections/router-lifts-and-plates
 

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The best router for you depends on the woodworking projects you intend to tackle. Just because someone recommends router brand/model XYZ does not necessarily mean it is the best for you if your projects are totally different. A recommendation of brand/model XYZ should be interpreted as "it is a reliable router" for their projects. Since you presently do not own a router table, focus on those routers that are good for hand held operations. The way a router "feels" in your hand is important for hand held router operations; when this same router is mounted in a table, "feel" becomes unimportant. As others have pointed out, it is unlikely that a single router will satisfy all your long term needs. Don't get too hung up on finding the ultimate router that you think satisfies all your future needs. Most people gravitate toward a router mounted in a table as that gives you more control plus being safer. However, there are some operations that can only be done with a hand held router. The router brands that I own include Porter Cable, DeWalt, and Craftsman (1972 vintage, 1st router I purchased). Both Porter Cable and DeWalt have been reliable brands for me.
 

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Best Router

John, You have lots of good suggestions here. Having a heavy duty router is a very good idea, but... I would also recommend a lighter duty router for template guided work, especially for dovetail joints. A dovetail bit is quite narrow at the end closest to the shank, even with a 1/2" shank. Until you learn to recognize when you are trying to move a small bit through a cut too fast with a large router, especially when making dovetails, you're going to be breaking bits. I've seen it many times, even to me. A smaller router will start to slow down when you're working it too hard. That is a good early warning system.

If you are just getting started, I would recommend finding a mentor, or taking a class, or joining a club. Oh damn. Just as I wrote that, my brain kicked back in & I remembered this is the age of Covid 19. Spend a lot of time on You tube. And, keep coming back to Router Forums.
 

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Hi John. Good coice on first router. I quickly got tired of moving the motor in and out of the table and bought a second motor only. I had a router lift, but wasn't tickled with it and sold it. Bought a Triton TRA001, which has a built in lift. It's nice having the two 1617s and they work well in the table, but the Triton can handle anything and I think the up air flow through the motor is terrific.

I now have the two Bosch, the Triton and a third Bosch 1hp Colt. Only thing I'd change would be getting the new, small Bosch palm unit about 1.25 hp, which is an improvement on the colt, not just in power, but a tad less risk of accidentally inserting a thumb into the open access to the bit.

I outfitted my shop while I was making good money, so I've not had to compromise much on my tools. As to table saws, I have a Laguna Hybrid, about $!1400, but on sale for a bit less. My primary shop is a 12x24 shed, so I got one with a 36 inch top rail, but the 52 inch is very little more, but would not fit comfortably in that space. I just don't think it's a good idea to compromise on a table saw. The Laguna has the max power available for 115v, but can be converted to 220 if I ever wanted more power. The motor is American made, BTW. I had a 1hp direct drive contractor's saw to begin with, but it had problems getting through thick hardwoods. Always bogging down, blowing the breaker.

One other thing to get right away is a good mask. Rockler makes one I really like, pictured below. It is a battery powered respirator so the positive pressure keeps sawdust out, and I am able to wear glasses with it and the air leaking out clears my glasses, a bonus in a humid environment. Don't forget the safety glasses, some have bifocal adds these days for us mature types.

Just some more thoughts for someone getting started.
 

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