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plunge or fixed base

10846 Views 16 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  spowers[
Hi guys, I'm fairly new to routing and have a question; Is it best to use a fixed base router or the plunge router for table routing? What leads me to ask this question is the fixed base part of the Ryobi RE1802M 3 piece kit worked great until problems started showing up! The locking lever wont stay locked and the highth adjusting ring became very hard to turn. I have adjusted the locking mechanisim and have taken the motor out of the housing and cleaned, polished and lubricated the highth adjusting system. This router appears to be just a POS. I repair tools of all kinds in my small repair shop but just can't seem to turn this "sow's ear into a silk purse"! I began looking at the plunge base that came with the kit and noticed a more positive locking lever and highth adjusting system, is this what I should have been using from the start? Maybe I should just scrap this cheap stuff and just go buy myself a real router! What do you recomend?.....Thanks,,,, Tom
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Buy yourself a good quality router. I have had problems with Bosch Speed controllers letting me down. I will be going over to Dewalt.
I use the DW621 in my table and have had absolutely no trouble with it. Well, maybe some trouble but that was more operator error (forgetting to lock the height adjustment on more than one occasion). I don't use a router lift or anything fancy, I just set the height once and drop it into the table. If the cut is more than recommended I set the fence up to take the first cut and just continue to move the fence back until a full cut is taken. After 4 years of doing it like this so far so good!

Hope this helps,
FineHomesCarpentry said:
Buy yourself a good quality router. I have had problems with Bosch Speed controllers letting me down. I will be going over to Dewalt.
Do you mean the Bosch router itself, the speed controller on it? What do you mean letting you down? I was just curious because I hear Bosch routers are good. Later...

I prefer a plunge router for table mounting, because most fixed base routers must be
turned to adjust the hieght, which changes the position of the on/off switch.
take the springs out of the plunge router base and mount it into the table. As far as
tools made by Ryobi and Skill, I think you are right in deeming them POS.
I prefer PC, Makita, and Dewalt myself, I use these tools to make a living.

Good Luck, Woodnut65
I purchased the Porter-Cable 895PK router, plunge base plus fixed base with one motor. Using a Oak Park 11" base plate, which by the way is drilled for the router and has micro adjusting holes that align for precise above table adjustments using the fixed base and adjusting tool. This frees up the plunge base for the free hand routing chores simply by swapping motors, a mere 20 second event. I also had a Ryobi ruter and have sent it out to pasture due to the same basic defects.
I use the PC 895 and have to say it is a fine piece of machinery. I use the fixed base in the table, this gives you over the table adjustments and bit changes. Plus the horsepower is perfect for just about any job.
I really appreciate the words of wisdom from you guys, that's what these sites are for! I think I'll take the advice and get a good quality router and put this Ryobi stuff aside, maybe try to either return it to Home Depot or put it on E-Bay. I've been checking out the Dewalt 625 Plunge and will probably end up with it. I'm going to build my own kitchen cabinets and can't afford to have a tool that might let me down in the middle of a project like that! I have built a really nice router table I'll send some pictures of when I get back from vacation. Thanks again and I really like this Forum...Tom
There's really no doubt about it -- "scrap the crap" and "go good".

I've been seeing some Porter Cable 690 router combination kits at local Sam's Clubs for $189. (That's the motor, fixed base and plunge base set.) Those are still available at many Home Depot's as well (for a bit more).

Rockler's has been running some sales lately and has been having some reasonably good prices on the newer 890 router combination sets.

Regardless of which top brand router you do get, just be sure to go with a good one -- it's just "so worth it". Especially with what it probably the most useful of all power tools.
I too purchased the Poter Cable 895 PK. I had Ryobi/Craftsman before that. Stick with the Porter Cable. It is the best

Thanks to all of you for your answers, sorry I havent sent this note before now, been out of state. I think I've decided to go with the 3hp Dewalt plunge router and maybe put the Ryobi stuff on E-bay or return it to HD if I can. I'm a member of the BT3 Central site also and have enjoyed the information I've recieved from both sites, great bunch of people. I'll send some photos of my home built router table to get some input. Thanks again to all!! Tom
Good choice, you will be happy with the DW 625
Guys give serious thought to the Milwaukee routers for some serious table routing.First of all you do not have to buy a router lift as you can adjust the depth from above the table. Also the Milwaukee routers have a five year warranty.

P.S. The newest router combo (2 1/4 HP) from Craftsman also allows you to adjust the depth of cut from above the table.
There are so many good quality products it is hard to choose. And of course we all look for the features we know will fit our applications. I bought a Craftsman 1 1/2HP router 16 years ago just because it had an easily changeable worklight built in. Plus it had this really cool new product included at no extra charge: a mat that let you freehand router a piece without having to clamp it. Ok, now that everyone is done laughing... When it came time to upgrade from that router I was working in the machine repair department for one of the nations largest optical companies. Most of the 130+ stores had labs with a couple of machines to cut the plastic eyeglass lenses to shape. And most of these machines used a Bosch router motor. I figured since these routers were so durable, accurate and easily repairable that they would do a great job with wood. I bought a 1617 combo kit with plunge and fixed bases; as a bonus they included a nice adjustable fence. I picked up a rebuilt motor from the service center and ended up with 2 mid-power range routers for about $240. I intended to mount the plunge base to a table until I took a good look at the mechanism. The 1617 has a locking bar and 3 locating notches for a very fast rough adjustment and an easily accessed knob for fine adjustment. The router body does not spin so the fixed base is great for table mounting leaving the plunge base available for free hand routing. I'm very happy with my choice.
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I just joined the ryobi router forum and I have the same problem with my model RE1802M router. I have had this for years (and 2 other Ryobi routers). I have not fiddled with this RE1802M for probably 7 years and I am having the same problem. The height adjustment WON"T turn. The router was stored by itself, not in a base and, when I tried to mount it in either of the two bases I have, I COULD NOT get it in. I tried lube with no luck. I actually pulled the height adjustment rings (one with dimensions and the threaded ring) and I could still not get the base on. This plastic barrel of the router itself seems to have swollen (or the aluminum housing frame has shrunk - NOT LIKELY). I got my calipers and measured diameters and the OD of the plastic barrel is LARGER than the ID of the aluminum housing. I wonder if Ryobi issued a recall on this model???
Hi Gary, welcome to the forum.
My experience has been that router lifts (Jessum, Woodpecker, etc.) are built much heavier that any router's plunge system. Adjustability and accuracy is obviously enhanced along with durability. You get what you pay for!
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