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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my recent [need new router fast] post every one was insistent about the need for a plunge base. I have never owned a plunge router though I have used a few.
I have al ways found them to be awkward and poorly balanced with generally worse depth control than a fixed base. Granted that the last router that bought until now was about 199O, maybe the have improved. But I really fail to see the utility for general routing tasks. I use my routers for edge profiling, slotting, dadoes, template work and mortise and tennons. I can see the utility for sign making but can't think of many other real uses and none that would outweigh the balance, complexity and other issues.
My other question is in regard to large routers and horsepower. I used to have a three horsepower rated Bosch and see that many suggest the large horsepwer routers for tables. I've always used 1 3/4- 2 hp routers in my tables with no problems even with fairly heavy cuts in hardwoods. to the best of my knowledge a 15 or 2 amp circuit at 11O volts CANNOT produce 3+ horse power until the rotor locks up and melts.
And yes there is a difference between hp and torque and even my 1 1/2 hp shaper will out perform any router I've ever used or seen as far as eating wood. but that another whole discussion as they are different tools that have overlapping applications.

Graham O
Who is somewhat long winded
 

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Theo
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I didn't say that, honest. I can see some uses for a plunge router, even tho I don't own one, and have never used one. For what I do a plunge router would just be a waste. I've got some old Craftsman routers, all low horsepower, and only used in my table, they do what I want, I'm happy. I do have a project in mind that, if I am able to carry it out, I believe a plunge router would be appropriate. But I will give it a shot with one of my fixed base routs before spending any $ on a plunge router. I say, give a new plunge router a test drive, if you like it, maybe you will want to get one. If you don't like it, at least now you will know for sure.
 

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Graham
I think you maybe misunderstanding nothing wrong with a smaller router in a table but them big 3 hp routers are heavy for hand held use, also the newer plunge routers in the 2 hp range are easy to use, I usually recommend to new woodworker that if they can only afford one router go plunge, the best bet is to buy a combo kit with both.
But if you are only using it for edge routering you would have no need for a plunge router
 

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I have 6 routers, only one of which is a plunge router. I don't use the plunge capability very often, but when I do, I'm glad I've got it. You can make do without a plunge base for a long time, but sooner or later, if you get serious about woodworking, you'll need one. Your cheapest way to get both is to buy the kit with both plunge and fixed bases.
 

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Honestly, I have never had any problem with the plunge base on the Bosch 1617.

There have been times when I needed to make a minute adjustment in the depth. A feeler gauge and .010 made the depth just right. Much easier than the fixed base.

Cutting dadoes that require three passes to get a 3/8 depth, or even 1/4 inch? Just set your depth and make a pass, flip the turret to the next setting and make another pass. Cuts 1/8th on each pass.

Making a stopped dado. Just stop the router movement, depress the handle and the router will raise up out of the dado, then shut it off.
 

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What Andy said. I wouldn't have tried doing the the juice channels on my Xmas cutting boards with anything other than my plunge router.
Having said that, I would have preferred to use the lighter 1617 rather than the 1619 but I left ordering the plunge base for the 1617 too late. In any case I still did it in two passes just in case I screwed up...
 

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Like Mike said, stopped grooves or dadoes should be plunged. You say you are making mortises with a router? You should be plunging those too. Not only is plunging them more accurate, it's a lot safer too.

There is no comparison from a 3 horse, 240 volt Baldor or Leeson and a supposedly 3hp router. One horsepower is 746 watts so 3 times that is over 2200 watts and there probably needs to be some room for the surge when it starts. Router makers use a complex formula that involves peak power or brake horsepower but those aren't real measures of the tools ability to do work. But since all manufacturers are lying more or less equally then the HP rating can prove useful in comparing one model to another but I certainly wouldn't buy one router just because the maker says it is 1/4 hp more powerful that it's competitor and if possible use a wattage rating instead, preferably the output rating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I can see the utility of a plunge in some circumstances such as a captured dado or groove though I have always used other methods. I use a palm router to cut mortice and tenon joints [usually]with a starting hole for the mortice as a full size router would be awkward to use with my jig or I use the morticer and table saw or shaper for tenon's. I have made solid would boxes but used a sled to hollow them out.
I did have one very large router many years ago that used an overhead tether suspension and was I believe two hp but was i think three phase and weighed all of probably 3O pounds. I never dared to use it[I had a greater sense of self preservation back then].
Yes like a 5 hp shop vac or my craftsman 7 hp air compressor. I guess i will have to check the actual amp draw of my 2 1/4 hp machine under load.

Graham O
 

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"I guess i will have to check the actual amp draw of my 2 1/4 hp machine under load."
-Graham
Or not worry about it... :)
Just from usage I can tell you my Bosch 1619 is a workhorse and is considerably more powerful under full load, than my 1617.
Don't really care myself, what the stats are for either; they're both fine machines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I had to check on owwmwher someone had athread about large routers and indeed i found the one that i had it was a stanley and they were 3 phase 36O cycle and came in 4 and 8 real not peak hp. for anyone interested search "massive stanley routers" on owwm.org.

Graham O
 

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I had to check on owwmwher someone had athread about large routers and indeed i found the one that i had it was a stanley and they were 3 phase 36O cycle and came in 4 and 8 real not peak hp. for anyone interested search "massive stanley routers" on owwm.org.

Graham O
my horizontal panel router has one of those in it..
it's a 5hp... there is a 7½hp model too...
you running that free hand...
small people have problems running the 3 - 3¼hp routers free hand because they are scared of them...
the Bosch 1617 in plunge base is sweet to use...
I have no problems using the 1619 free hand...
 

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The advice that I always give is: buy the biggest, most powerful plunge router because it will do everything that a fixed base one will do plus so much more and will last almost forever. I can't imagine how I could have routed the items shown with a fixed base router. There really is so much more that can be with a router than edge work.
 

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Check prices as well. In my experience the packaged price, router+fixed+plunge bases is not that much more expensive than the router and 1 base and definitely cheaper than buying the extra base at a later point in time.
 

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I have never found a plunge router that I liked. I learned on a fixed base in the early 60's and then when the plunge routers came out I tried several different ones and never could find one with spring tension I liked. Besides that the bases are clumsy and hard to see what the cutter is doing. Now I do 90% of my routing on a router table, and all of the free hand routing with a fixed base trim router.
 

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Hello Graham!

To me many things are safer with a plunge router.

Mortising is fast, not dangerous , and no pre-drilling needed.

Stopped dado is easy and safe.

Some things I do I can do only with a plunge router:

Rounded mortice and round tenon with my jigs :

(This is my answer to square mortice or round tenon problem ; have them all rounded!).

I got , somewhere in an old box a router that has no plunge function, I never use that one,
(kept it for the motor it is , and might install that in a table with lift, If i got time for that.)

Regards
Gérard
 

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I have never found a plunge router that I liked. I learned on a fixed base in the early 60's and then when the plunge routers came out I tried several different ones and never could find one with spring tension I liked. Besides that the bases are clumsy and hard to see what the cutter is doing. Now I do 90% of my routing on a router table, and all of the free hand routing with a fixed base trim router.
My test when choosing a plunge router is to attempt a full plunge using just my index finger and my current workhorse the Makita RP2301FC passes this test perfectly. The spring action is such that when using it freehand unlocked there is no tendency to wander up and down on it's own. The opening on this and all other Makita routers is 2 1/2" allowing full view of the bit.
Another major advantage of a plunge router is it's safety, if a problem arises, simply letting go of the router and the bit instantly returns to the safety of it's housing.
 

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