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I have a 1/2" collet Craftsman router I was planning to use for my new (to me) Leigh dovetail jig. I've come across posts that suggest having 2 routers when making dovetails: one for the pins and one for the tails. I thought I might go this route, but wanted to see if there was a particular router that was good for using with dovetail jigs. I'd like to look for a used one on CL (new is too much money) and would like to know what to look for.

I've read some of the reviews and recommendations on this and other forums:

1. The Bosch 1617 comes up, but it's reportedly heavy, which seems like a bad idea for a DT jig. Anyone use tyhis and find that this is not an issue? I could go to the store and handle one. They are not cheap used, though.

2. I've also read I'll need about 2 HP. Seems that 2HP and light-weight might be mutually exclusive, though. Could I get by with a little less HP, like 1.5?

3. Craftsman routers are available, but the collets are integral to the shaft, so they are probably out since that piece can be worn-out on a used machine. Not sure if it's all C-Man routers or just some, though. Anyone know?

4. I like the older PC routers (I've used them in the past), but heard the QC on them went bad a few years ago. Is there a date where these were still good?

5. Other brands come up, but the reviews are mixed. It seems that the older machines are better, but I want to be sure parts are still available. I will not be heavily using it, but want something that going to last and has decent parts availability and customer service.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. This will not be heavily used; I'm a weekend hobbyist. Thanks.
 

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I have a 1/2" collet Craftsman router I was planning to use for my new (to me) Leigh dovetail jig. I've come across posts that suggest having 2 routers when making dovetails: one for the pins and one for the tails. I thought I might go this route, but wanted to see if there was a particular router that was good for using with dovetail jigs. I'd like to look for a used one on CL (new is too much money) and would like to know what to look for.

I've read some of the reviews and recommendations on this and other forums:

1. The Bosch 1617 comes up, but it's reportedly heavy, which seems like a bad idea for a DT jig. Anyone use this and find that this is not an issue? I could go to the store and handle one. They are not cheap used, though.

2. I've also read I'll need about 2 HP. Seems that 2HP and light-weight might be mutually exclusive, though. Could I get by with a little less HP, like 1.5?

3. Craftsman routers are available, but the collets are integral to the shaft, so they are probably out since that piece can be worn-out on a used machine. Not sure if it's all C-Man routers or just some, though. Anyone know?

4. I like the older PC routers (I've used them in the past), but heard the QC on them went bad a few years ago. Is there a date where these were still good?

5. Other brands come up, but the reviews are mixed. It seems that the older machines are better, but I want to be sure parts are still available. I will not be heavily using it, but want something that going to last and has decent parts availability and customer service.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. This will not be heavily used; I'm a weekend hobbyist. Thanks.

I have the D4R...

1... I have the 1617EVS's and MRF23EVS's... I prefer the MRF's for use w/ the Leigh because or the ergonomics and lighted base..
Heavy is a relative term... to me, 8 lbs for the 17 and 9 for the 23 is not heavy... the router while in use is resting on the jig and the jig has no issues w/ either...
also ''light weight'' often translates into something was sacrificed to get that lighter weight..
and what do you mean not cheap.. most all of my Bosch anything is refurbished.. it's a no worries buy..
https://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-...ctronic-router/bshr1617evs-46,default,pd.html
https://www.cpooutlets.com/bosch-routers-and-trimmers/bosch-routers-and-trimmers,default,sc.html

if you do go w/ Bosch go w/ at least one kit.. it'll be a purchase you'll never regret...
https://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-...e-router-kit/bshr1617evspk-rt,default,pd.html

2.. you'll regret the less HP route when you get into hardwoods and larger bits..

3... search for craftsman routers here.. 'nuff said..

4... all of my PC routers have become history... I have Bosch routers still in use from the 80's...

5... Parts and outstanding CS... back to Bosch...
PC CS sucks...
https://www.routerforums.com/tools-woodworking/98266-pc-7518-a.html
https://www.routerforums.com/395455-post25.html

I've come across posts that suggest having 2 routers when making dovetails: one for the pins and one for the tails.
same bit for the tails and pins.. the 2 routers; one for the DT bit and the other one for the straight bit that you'll hog out w/..

why are you gambling on used???
 

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Jeff I gotta go with Stick's advice. The idea of buying used can at times mean you get stuck with someone's screw up. The CPO Factory Rebuilt route at least insures the tool has been repaired and inspected to be properly functioning and is covered by some warranty. If cost is the factor then maybe best to wait a bit longer and make sure you get quality over cost. Cheaper doesn't always equate to a better bargain while sometimes it may. It's a gamble that may cost you more in the short/long run. Just saying, buy quality tools that you expect to use for a long time and have a company that has a great reputation for customer service or take a chance and not have any knowledgeable/capable service behind it. And then hope you can find parts when needed.

And that's the beginning, you'll want quality bits as well especially those that would get used far more often. You can play the long game or gamble on cheap.....just saying. It's a personal decision.
 

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The CPO Factory Rebuilt route at least insures the tool has been repaired and inspected to be properly functioning and is covered by some warranty.
Bosch rebuilds their own and CPO is only the outlet..
warranty is the same as a new unit...
never once have I ever had an issue w/ a refurb...
 
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I have the D4R...

1... I have the 1617EVS's and MRF23EVS's... I prefer the MRF's for use w/ the Leigh because or the ergonomics and lighted base..
Heavy is a relative term... to me, 8 lbs for the 17 and 9 for the 23 is not heavy... the router while in use is resting on the jig and the jig has no issues w/ either...
also ''light weight'' often translates into something was sacrificed to get that lighter weight..
and what do you mean not cheap.. most all of my Bosch anything is refurbished.. it's a no worries buy..
https://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-...ctronic-router/bshr1617evs-46,default,pd.html
https://www.cpooutlets.com/bosch-routers-and-trimmers/bosch-routers-and-trimmers,default,sc.html

if you do go w/ Bosch go w/ at least one kit.. it'll be a purchase you'll never regret...
https://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-...e-router-kit/bshr1617evspk-rt,default,pd.html

2.. you'll regret the less HP route when you get into hardwoods and larger bits..

3... search for craftsman routers here.. 'nuff said..

4... all of my PC routers have become history... I have Bosch routers still in use from the 80's...

5... Parts and outstanding CS... back to Bosch...
PC CS sucks...
https://www.routerforums.com/tools-woodworking/98266-pc-7518-a.html
https://www.routerforums.com/395455-post25.html



same bit for the tails and pins.. the 2 routers; one for the DT bit and the other one for the straight bit that you'll hog out w/..

why are you gambling on used???
"Heavy is a relative term... to me, 8 lbs for the 17 and 9 for the 23 is not heavy... the router while in use is resting on the jig and the jig has no issues w/ either..." I've been telling members this for years Stick when answering questions as to what type of router to buy, heavy, variable speed/soft start and powerful will be capable of performing ANY task asked of it.
 

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Most any fixed base router will work if you can put the Leigh bushing in it's base. I prefer using a router with a 1/2" collet so I can use bits that are stiffer and don't flex when making the cuts. I've had problems trying to use 1/4" shank bits for dovetailing. Two routers gives you the ability to set the bit depth accurately, and not have to remove the dovetail bit to change it for the straight bit. Once you get the bit depths just right it's best not to change it until the job is complete, but if you have a digital caliper or some other way of measuring and recording the bit depth, and can replace it and get it set exactly right again, there is no other reason not to use just one router. Having two routers just makes it more convenient.

When choosing your routers, look for good balance and as low a weight as possible. Your arms will thank me at the end of the day. I also made a stand that's the same height as the jig, with an over size hole in it bigger than the router bushing in use. This is a place to park your router while changing boards. The VRS helps balance the router on the jig, but you need a place off the jig for the router when changing boards, a place that is at the same height as the jig will minimize the lifting motion needed to remove and replace the router on the jig. I have tried several sizes and brands of routers for use on my Leigh D4R, and have settled on using two of my DeWalt 618 routers (I have 3) with their D handle bases attached. I found that the trigger and balance of this combination made it very easy to control the routers when dovetailing.

For joint accuracy, centering the bit in the bushing is great, but if you change the router depth adjustment, the bit can move off center in the bushing. I drew a large arrow on the top edge of each of my router bases using a black marker, and I always point this arrow toward the dovetail jig when cutting the pins or dovetails. If the bit isn't perfectly centered on the bushing, the error in the cut will always be offset in the same amount and in the same direction during the entire dovetail joint cut. The joint will go together perfectly, but may be shifted right or left by the router bushing to bit error. This will not affect your joint at all, but you may need to trim one edge of your board by a few thousandths to get it perfectly aligned with the mating board. I would much rather have this than an error in the middle of the joint, causing the joint not to go together correctly. If you use two identical routers, be sure to label them so you don't pick up the wrong one. DAMHIKT. I put tape on the top of each motor and draw a picture of the bit on it.


Charley
 

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I have the 1617. In fact, two. One was the EVSPK kit with both fixed and plunge bases, then realized I had to take it in and out of the table, so I bought a second motor. Then I put a 3.25 hp Triton in my table and now I have the 1617s for freehand use, such as dovetails. I did this over about 10 = 12 years, but by sticking with Bosch, everything works with everything else. Never heard a bad word about CPO either. And when you put the 1617 in a table, and you will eventually, it will handle whatever you need to do. It fits in every router lift made.

Some people like different brands, but when I handled them a the store, the Bosch felt right, more solid than the others. I also like that it has a micro adjuster to set very accurate bit height. I have no idea about Bosch customer service, neither of mine have ever given me a problem.
 

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Wasn't saying CPO was a factory or did any rebuilding. Just in case.

it was mostly a FYI for warranty clarification..
 

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From our posts, it's obvious that router choice is a personal thing. Pick routers of the better brand names that you feel most comfortable with, that have 1/2" bit capability and can hold the Leigh bushings, which are based on the original Porter Cable bushing designs. Get yourself a cone shaped bushing centering tool, and you should be in business. Wax the top of your Leigh Jig and the VRS and the base of your router with Johnson't Paste Wax, or an equivalent wax that does not contain silicone, and start cutting dovetails. Practice a few times before beginning to cut the good wood. The Leigh Jig manual is second to none. Follow it carefully and your dovetails should be perfect or nearly so on your first attempt.

Charley
 

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Don't buy used! Routers have relatively short lives when used in production. Collets wear, bearings wear, switches fail, especially the variable speed ones. Cords go to pot and parts are relatively expensive. Some routers have very difficult to remove bearings on the collet end. Best done with your impact wrench. Many of the new routers are now made in China, might be OK?? Check the label.
Heavy is good. Easier to control. 1/2" shank bits should be used whenever possible. Triger in handle is much better than some place else.
 
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