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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I think I scored at a pawn shop today. They had a Porter Cable router kit for $69. They had a pair of dial calipers for $22.
I asked if they would take $50 for the router............. facial expressions told me no ........ so I said "how about $50 if I buy the calipers too"? ($22)
So $72 later I walked out with the router+case calipers+case.
The router is the same model Porter Cable router that I recently purchased new for $170. 690LR
Unlike the new router I recently bought, this used one has the case, the plunge base, the standard base and a guide plus both collets. That combo is at least $206 from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/PORTER-CABLE-693LRPK-Fixed-Router-Plunge/dp/B00006411C

The Chinese calipers can probably be purchased new for $30, but I still think I done good overall. Router has signs of use, but sings like a brand new one and it's American made. I suppose that can tell me about how old it is? I know it's been used a fair amount as the cord is in good condition but the plug end has been replaced. Bearings feel good and tight.
Now I can leave one router in my router lift permanently instead of switching back and forth, and I have three bases.......... one "pre-owned" standard base to use and abuse. An identical brand nes base to use on more delicate surfaces because it's plastic base is not scratched up, plus a plunge base and a plastic carrying case with all accessories still in it. Both routers have the 1/4" and 1/2" collets
I don't see the PC 690 being bragged about here a lot, but I like it.
Anyway, felt like a decent deal since the router sounds so nice.
 

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Sounds like a good deal to me. I have an older PC 690, and am very pleased with it. I have the plunge base, and the D-handle base with it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had a friend who owned 5 of them, so that's why I bought one. There is one funky looking black plate thingy in the kit. I'm assuming it's a guide but don't know what it's for. It has a U shape on one end and holes for the steel rods to mount to the router. That U shaped end of that plate........ is it a pivot for cutting circles?
 

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I have two porter cable 690 routers. Never had a problem with one, but because it’s a fixed speed router you can’t use it with larger mass bits.

I once tried flush trimming an edge on a thick table top. Went out to buy a flush trim bit that was longer then 1 inch. Ended up with a 3/4 round, 1 1/2 long bit. Chucked it up, turned it on, and chewed the heck out of my table top because I couldn’t control the router. I made the top a little smaller and started over with a variable speed router and had no problem controlling the router. Learned an important lesson that day.

And yes, that is a great score.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
 

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I had a friend who owned 5 of them, so that's why I bought one. There is one funky looking black plate thingy in the kit. I'm assuming it's a guide but don't know what it's for. It has a U shape on one end and holes for the steel rods to mount to the router. That U shaped end of that plate........ is it a pivot for cutting circles?
I've had a PC690 for a number of years and always liked it. Sounds like you got a good deal.

That U-shaped thing sounds like you're describing an edge guide. If you post a picture we can confirm.
 

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690 (USA model) is a good general use router. Doesn't have all of the bells & whistles of the new routers but it's solid. Mine is at least 20 years old and still works just fine. The original base is wearing a bit but they are available for $50/60 online. $73 @ Home Depot. Have had mine in a router table and it works for light duty use. Never used the plunge base that came with it, I use my 1617 Bosch for that.
 

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No worries. You scored.
 

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That was a great score. You're right about the actual value of the caliper but they are an invaluable tool in the shop. I keep one handy that reads in fractions and millimeters. I started a thread once to see how many use one and how many uses they found for it but I don't remember the thread going very far so I'm not sure if that many members use them.

The biggest issue with my PC tools has been bearings. Upon replacing them I found PC used some of the cheapest they could source. Stick says replace them with a ceramic one if they go and you'll never have to worry about the bearing again. If any of mine go again that's what I'll do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That was a great score. You're right about the actual value of the caliper but they are an invaluable tool in the shop. I keep one handy that reads in fractions and millimeters. I started a thread once to see how many use one and how many uses they found for it but I don't remember the thread going very far so I'm not sure if that many members use them.

The biggest issue with my PC tools has been bearings. Upon replacing them I found PC used some of the cheapest they could source. Stick says replace them with a ceramic one if they go and you'll never have to worry about the bearing again. If any of mine go again that's what I'll do.
They had two pairs of 6" calipers. One had a ever so slight misalignment so I got the 'good one' :grin: It goes to zero consistently ad feels very smooth.
I have a dial indicator also. I used that to check the flatness of the top insert plate of the lift I'm making and to see if the shaft is perfectly square to the plate.
The plate is off .017 towards one corner about 6 inches out from the shaft.... that's about the thickness of 5 sheets of paper. On a left to right plane through the center of the plate, it was almost perfect.
My old calipers (Chines also) went bad after 5 years of abuse........ they were used when I bough them also. They are really a must have tool.

A wood flooring company told about using calipers to tell when wood flooring is acclimated to a home's environment. They said deliver the wood to the home and pull a few boards from the boxes. Next, measure the board width in a handful of places and mark them with blue tape. Wait a week, then come back and re-measure the same places as before. Then wait another week and repeat. If the board width measurements from week 1 and week 2 are the same, it's ready to nail down. Neat idea.
 

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One of the main uses for my caliper is as a depth gauge to check to see if dowel holes are deep enough or if the depth of a rabbet is the right depth for example.
 
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Dial indicater in 1/128s"

Ranman,
If you are really trying to work that accurately, I would suggest you get either a machinists indicator which measures to .001" or a Metric one. Either one will have a learning curve to it & take some getting used to. One thing that will help is a conversion chart that has fractions, decimal inches, and Metric. When I took training in machine shop I had to learn the decimal inch system & use a micrometer, which was a real pain. Now, there are digital calipers, some of which will change from fractions of an inch to decimal inches to metric at the push of a button. When Canada switched to metric in the late 1900s, there was a lot of confusion trying to determine standards. One of the big failures was trying to decide how big a sheet of plywood would be. Finally, cooler heads prevailed & it was determined that sheets of plywood would stay at 4'x8'. There just wasn't any metric standard that would work to repair or renovate any existing house. The only thing that did change is that plywood thickness is now metric.
I now work in all three systems, depending on the job. Mostly, I switch between fractions & metric. When doing really fine work such as calculating clearances for building router jigs & templates I use metric rules & tapes. Metric is based on a system of tens. Ten millimeters equals one centimeter, etc. A millimeter is slightly smaller then 1/16" & it's easier to add & subtract millimeters then fractions of an inch. An important rule is to use only one system or the other & only use the appropriate measuring tools for the one you are working with. Converting,as you go, is a recipe for screwups.
There is way more to the pros & cons, but I won't try to go in to all that here. As I said, I use all three, depending on the situation. If you are convinced that the way you have always done it is best, there is no way that I would try to convince you otherwise.
 

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I have a 690 and have no complaints. It’s mounted in my tablesaw extension ,and as you say it’s nice to have more than one router .
I think you did well also
 

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You guys do realize Randy's thread is 3 yrs old, right?
Fortunately, Randy's still with us...I mean an active member, not the other thing.
 

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I've got three 690's.
One in a plunge base, one in a table mount base, and one in a standard base.

Solid, dependable routers.

I also have an 892 with variable speed, that I like a lot.

And a 7518 for big jobs.

I like the older ones better than the new ones. Most of mine are ±20 years old.
 

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I've got three 690's.
One in a plunge base, one in a table mount base, and one in a standard base.

Solid, dependable routers.

I also have an 892 with variable speed, that I like a lot.

And a 7518 for big jobs.

I like the older ones better than the new ones. Most of mine are ±20 years old.
Unfortunately I purchased two 7518-2 (motors only) about a decade ago ,and apparently their garbage .
Guess I’ll try and figure out how the bearing are changed out when the time comes .
 

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I bought a brand new 690 about 25 yrs ago - hardly used it, it's now in the router table, controlled by a $20 Harbor Freight speed controller........looking forward to using it soon. lol

Bought two other 690s on Kijiji (Craigs List), one with plunge and standard bases. Also bought an ancient Porter Cable and two Black and Deckers, one of which is 40 yrs old and uses what looks to be the identical motor to the older PC, the other is a plunge style with lots of accessories. All of them work great, they all cost around $50 except for the plunge etc 690 which was $175 incl a bunch of bits. I also snagged a pile of Snap-On sockets and other tools from the seller at the same time for another $175 (they woulda cost way over $1000 new)so it averaged out nicely.

I have found older quality woodworking tools/equipment to be bargains, if you get them from the right place and are willing to disassemble and clean them up. Many have not had a ton of use. So far, no bearing or brushes required; I also like having multiples in case one dies, the working one acts as a instant replacement.
 

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