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Hi,
I am new to wood working and hope to gain advice that will save me the usual cost of experience. Which from my past experience has always been gain from my last mistake, which I have made many. I don't have a router yet, could use some if not alot of advice on what kind to buy what to stay away from? Would a router table be a good investment again what kind? Please remember I don't have a lot of experience with wood working. I am 56 years old and am looking to get my shop going so I can enjoy doing projects for my self and with my grand kids.
Thanks
:confused:
 

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Dear Packernut4 (that sounds very painful, by the way), Welcome to the Router Forums!We have literally thousands of fellow members who went half-informed and bought the first router they could justify economically. The most expensive tools are the ones that don't get used!

Often there are places such as Wood Working Shows and privately-owned shops where one may "test drive" a few different models. I am very pleased with what I'm using and so are my coworkers - so we are in agreement that we are all pleased. The rarely required service work has been no-hassle whatsoever.

Numerous manufacturers have multiple router offerings from the most basic to ones with all of the "bells and whistles". Dependant on the types of work for which your router will be utilized you may not need all of the options available. Personally, nothing is more aggravating to me than to have to send-out a tool and await repairs - now I go to great lengths (when required) to ascertain that what I am buying is servicable reasonably.

Some dealers are here today and gone tomorrow, so do your own research; because a lot of stores will INSIST that their one model or brand is the best thing since sliced bread. They may even believe this - but they cannot all be right! I live in a very small town, but there are 6- local stores that advertise: BEST MEAT IN TOWN. Someone is pulling my leg! By joining this forum, you have access to more information than I know of anywhere else, but give it time - not everyone is able to immediately respond to your inquiries quickly. This forum is very friendly and helpful - more so than any other large group than I have ever experienced. As far as table use, some routers are better hand-held than table-mounted and others are vice-versa. What you don't want to do is make a poorly informed decision!

Good homework will be the best investment you can make on a router purchase! We all wish you the best of luck.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

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Welcome to the forum.
 

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Hey, Packernut; welcome!
Would you prefer we call you"Packernut" or "N/A"? ;)
Filling in a bit of your bio will help members help you...
Router Forums - View Profile: packernut4

I think most of us here do a bit of all sorts of woodwork, everything from construction framing and interior finishing, to woodturning and toymaking.
Tools just sort of accumulate over time, not unlike the way stars spawn planets.
For sure, try and hit the bullseye when you shop, but it's inevitable that you'll eventually miss the mark with a purchase. Just put 'er on the shelf and upgrade; we've all been there.
Personally, I favour Bosch tools, even though I have a bit of everything, collected over years.
 

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Hi N/a. Welcome to the forum.

Take the time to work out what easy/starter projects you want to begin with and research the router for that purpose.

The good thing about most routers is that they can be used in a multitude of roles.
 

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The first thing you need to know is all routers will spin the bits. A combo kit will give you a fixed base for table mounting and a plunge base for free hand work. Since the motor gets swapped between the bases this keeps the cost down. Many forum members own and like the Craftsman combo kit that sells for about $100. The combo kit I recommend is the Bosch 1617EVSPK for about $190. The controls vary by model and only you can decide which is the right choice for you.

As far as tables go it is a good idea to check out the Grizzly T10432 for $130. This table has everything you need for way less than most other tables.
 

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I like the Bosch 1617 EVSPK. Have two now so one lives in my table, the other is for freehand use. Their fixed base can be used in a table to raise and lower the bit from the top of the table. I prefer to use the router on the table whenever possible because it provides better control and is much safer.

I have a Rockler table, but I notice that many folks here like the Grizzley. You will need a fence.

However, the Router is not necessarily your first big tool, a good 10 inch table saw, properly set up is my choice. I have a Delta contractor saw that works OK, but will be replacing it with a Laguna Tools Fusion Series 1-3/4HP Tablesaw with 36'' Fence. At about $1300 bucks it will do lot for you and still runs on 115 volts. It is unusual in that the mechanism is connected to the steel frame instead of the table top, so it is easier to tune up. The fusion label means it crosses the lighter weight of a contractor saw with the increased precision of the cabinet saw. I have to close a couple of clients before I can get one.

Now for some other suggestions. Although there are classes in woodworking that are great at our local community college, I still work at odd intervals so I can't count on attending. So, I started with two things: Bought a lot of used books on woodworking on Amazon. You can save a little on shipping by buying as many as possible from one dealer but my 4 foot shelf of books cost about 20 percent of the retail prices. Read them carefully, particularly the parts on tuning up your tools. Getting the blade parallel to the miter slot on your table saw makes an enormous difference in you results and personal satisfaction.

The other thing that has helped is getting a video downloader app (free) for Firefox browser so you can search the enormous number of Youtube woodworking videos on just about every imaginable topic. I have collected hundreds of videos and always watch one or two on a method or technique before starting most projects. This really helps when you don't have a mentor to show you the subtle aspects of woodworking.

Dust collection: I'm a throat cancer survivor, so preventing exposure to carcinogenic sawdust is a big deal to me. That sawdust, particularly MDF is insidious and will coat your lungs, trigger coughing and can lead to serious conditions over the years. Search this forum for dust collection. You can spend a lot on this, but $ 400 - $ 500 is about right for budgeting purposes.

Some suggestions that have helped me: Start with some simple projects and make them several times, you'll learn to improve the result and the lessons will transfer to your later, more complex projects. I made several tool stands, starting with MDF for a light weight bench sander. Next one was made with 3/4 ply. Learned dado making on the first, did it much better on the ply. Third project was an insulation foam lined cabinet that keeps my shop computer from freezing. As I move on to hardwoods (costly stuff) I can use what I learned to produce a nice result instead of making firewood.

Although I now have a nice hardwood workbench, I used a 30x60 inch folding table for several years. You can add an MDF layer for flattening and stiffening (screw it on from below with a 1/4 inch high density fiberboard attached on top for replaceable smoothness. I kind of miss the old table because it was wider than the new, but it didn't have a workable way to add a bench vise.

I hope this has been helpful. I am 70 now, so my years of woodworking are shorter than yours. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
 

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"I prefer to use the router on the table whenever possible because it provides better control and is much safer."
-Tom

Can't argue with the control part, but the safety issue is definitely unfounded. When you use the router freehand both hands are on the router, or at least should be. On the RT, both hands are wandering around, trying to find a way to 'engage' the bit.
As for the "control" statement, it depends on what you're trying to do. For me a lot of my routing is done in situ, sometimes off a ladder or scaffold; RTs don't come into the equation. The same could be said for laminate installation and counter-top installation.
 
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