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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to using a router and I have several furniture projects in my future. After viewing both the boss and the woodrat it's hard for me to decide witch is the better tool, is one better constructed? is there more versatility with one or the other? Is there another tool out there that is better than both of these?
 

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Hi John and welcome!

I've had a Woodrat in the past, as well as the Leigh D4 dovetail jig, but I've never seen or used the Boss, which seems from their web site to be a copycat design of the Woodrat with a few extra bells and whistles. I suppose the real quastion has to be what are you doing which requires the use of such an expensive jig? If you could perkaps answer that then maybe members here would be better placed to advise you on the relative merits of your choices.

BTW for what it's worth the Woodrat I owned was a well constructed item and I never experienced any slippage with the wire cable drive system. I sold it because I found it easier and quicker to build one off jigs for many of my projects

Regards

Phil
 

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John, I suggest you get an inexpensive table and learn more about using a router before you shell out big money for a "whistles and bells" set up. Many people start with the illusion that they have to make dovetails when they are woodworking and it just isnt true. Dovetails do more to discourage new woodworkers than anything else. There are many types of joints and most are far easier to make. After you have completed a few projects you will have a better idea of what is important for you... that is the time to look at more expensive options.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Because of my back ground in commercial construction I push and try to complete things in a hurry---- Projects are dressers, book cases, end tables. We will be moving into a new home in a year or so and would like to replace most of the furniture with hand made my me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mike your right, starting with basics is always wise. I was or am looking for a quality short cut I guess.
Thanks for being honest.
 

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This is a somewhat complicated question. Because the WoodRat is complex, in that it can do so many things. I've had the machine since 2005. The Router Boss is made in America - as opposed to England for the WR -- and was designed to work around a few design flaws and quality control lapses in the machining of the WR.

Look at the cost before inquiring further. Including the router, you'd be looking at about $1000. And probably another $150 or so for the specialized HSS bits it uses.

Only you can see if it would be worth it to you. Do you plan on making a lot of joints?
The WR will make Mortise & Tenon, Dovetails (all kinds), Finger or Box Joints, Tongue & Groove, Lap, Knuckle. The Dovetails are really elegant and look handmade. The one thing I wish it could cut is Dados on wide boards. It doesn't have the capacity.

Since owning the machine, I rarely turn on my router table. Three more advantages: great safety, pretty good dust collection and it doesn't eat up floor space in the shop. It mounts on the wall.

Watch the Videos of both machines ---- The Amazing WoodRat Makes Any Woodworking Joint and The Craftsman Gallery, chipsfly.com
 

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John, I have made it my mission to try as many routers and tables as possible so I can give good advice on the forums. Many tables are well designed, some excell at certain jobs. The best all around table I have seen is the Router Workshop table. Unfortunately it is no longer available but you can buy the plans for a few dollars and build your own version. The sticky thread at the top of this section talks about building your own inexpensive table top to the same dimensions using phenolic impregnated Baltic birch plywood. While this table top only needs a box to sit on and will work well a better choice would be to build the top from 3/4" Baltic birch plywood and then apply Formica top and bottom. This is how the factory top was made and I have many years of good use from it. You will find a link on our home page for Oak Park; order the plans from them. The plans also include a base cabinet design. This table will allow you to do just about anything you can dream up. I am building two tables now using this design with phenolic Bbp for the tops that I got on sale. I have already installed a PC 7518 using Rocklers discontinued over sized aluminum mounting plate in one of the tops. There is a poor quality image of it attached. This is a really good way to get started and worth your consideration.
 

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thats all interesting.
I stumbled across this forum looking for info on the woodrat.

it starts with the need to make some cabinet doors, so i fancy a table .. then i fancy a bigger professional table .. then i stumble across a woodrat .. and now i find a boss!

suddenly i need a boss more than my next meal, and i haven't made a dovetail joint since 1976 (at school)

now i read this thread and think .. maybe i should make a table!
 

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Hi Kevin

The Woodrat is very good, the Routerboss slightly better if you want things like digital readouts. One big advantage with the Woodrat,though is that there are always s/h ones available on eBay, so you can save a lot going that route. The Woodrat HSS cutters optimise it but aren't essential. You can use solid carbide or carbide tipped cutters as well. The HSS ones just offer better dovetails closer to hand cut ones.

There is masses of information on both at Visitors from

Cheers

Peter
 

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Hi Kevin

The Woodrat is very good, the Routerboss slightly better if you want things like digital readouts. One big advantage with the Woodrat,though is that there are always s/h ones available on eBay, so you can save a lot going that route. The Woodrat HSS cutters optimise it but aren't essential. You can use solid carbide or carbide tipped cutters as well. The HSS ones just offer better dovetails closer to hand cut ones.

There is masses of information on both at Visitors from

Cheers

Peter
This response begs a question...Why do HSS bits cut a better dovetail closer to hand made than carbide?
 

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The HSS bits are all one piece. Carbide bits have a steel shank to which a carbide cutter is brazed. One cutter for each wing of the bit.

Consequently the HSS bits can be quite elegant. The dovetails come in as narrow as 6° profiles. Being thin, so they resemble hand cut dovetails. Carbide bits are usually around 14° or so and appear like little Sherman Tanks, carving out chunky dovetails.

And then there is something about the metallurgy of HSS. The grain structure is quite small compared to carbide molecules. So you can attain a much sharper edge. Sharpening in the shop is easy, whereas carbide bits are a challenge.

This comes at a cost, though. Carbide is much tougher and will hack through hardwoods intact, and keep an edge longer. When cutting a variety of profiles in really hard wood, I will often use a straight carbide bit to plow a groove slightly smaller than the final measure, and then shape the profile with an HSS bit. WoodRat makes dovetail bits as small as 4mm, so initial carbide plowing prevents breakage of the HSS bits. Hope this explains it to you. For a lot of folks, this degree of style refinement is a pain and so they prefer carbide bits.
 

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When cutting a variety of profiles in really hard wood, I will often use a straight carbide bit to plow a groove slightly smaller than the final measure, and then shape the profile with an HSS bit. WoodRat makes dovetail bits as small as 4mm, so initial carbide plowing prevents breakage of the HSS bits. Hope this explains it to you. For a lot of folks, this degree of style refinement is a pain and so they prefer carbide bits.
Actually I had that question as well, and it did help, but here is my 2 cents, buy a 2nd router, because I like your thinking and don't like to keep changing bits!
 

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Jack, that is a good point. And if conventional router tables are your background, I know how unpleasant a bit change can be in some tables. However both the WoodRat and Router Boss mount the router at eye level, with no enclosure around it.

Bit changes are a one-minute affair. And many owners use a quick-release chuck featuring an Allen screw retaining the bit instead of wrenches (spanners).
 
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