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Hi,

I am Bong and I come from the Philippines. I am a hobbyist and most of my carpentry jobs are just for use at home. Lately, I wanted to venture on using a router for my projects at home (frames, tables, drawers, etc...) and I was browsing around for some tips on what type of router to buy or are available which I could use.

I may do carpentry as a hobby but I want my tools long lasting, versatile, and easy to use. I'll be delighted to get some information by way of this forum.

Thank you
 

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Hi,

I am Bong and I come from the Philippines. I am a hobbyist and most of my carpentry jobs are just for use at home. Lately, I wanted to venture on using a router for my projects at home (frames, tables, drawers, etc...) and I was browsing around for some tips on what type of router to buy or are available which I could use.

I may do carpentry as a hobby but I want my tools long lasting, versatile, and easy to use. I'll be delighted to get some information by way of this forum.

Thank you
Hi Bong:

Your first problem is going to be deciding what philosophy you're going to use. For example, go to this url:

The Woodworking Channel

click on "videos" and on the top of the video window, scroll across and find "the router workshop."

Watch some of these videos. Next, go to LeeValley Tools and find their product number "05J20.01." This is the next philosophy.

Now you've seen two methods that function at "least cost." The OakPark you can make yourself but the LeeValley you have to buy.

Next philosophies include router lifts, above table bit changes, spindle locks and the list goes on. Do a google search for "router lifts" and you'll be introduced to a wide variety of options, each more expensive than the previous and each more restrictive than the next.

Your problem is going to be "which philosophy do you follow and how many dollars are you willing to throw at the various manufacturers." Once you are committed to a philosophy, you're stuck! You can't change without duplicating things you've already purchased.

Once you decide the philosophy then you can choose a router. For the OakPark system, it is totally flexible and versatile. You can start with the heaviest router and it will do almost everything you'll want to do. There are those that claim over-kill but my thinking is this starting point allows doing everything you might want to do. Smaller routers will eventually require steps up. I have a pair of heavy routers that meet this following criteria.

"A typical "nice" router would look like this:
1. ½" chuck: Smaller bit shafts can be fit using an adaptor.
2. 2 wrench collet: This is getting scarce but search for it. Sometimes it is hidden or it can be retrofitted. This is the alternative to the spindle lock which I consider dangerous. Note, I set and remove bits from a router sitting on a bench. If you use a router lift and leave the router in the table, you have no choice; you have to use a spindle lock. I broke a Craftsman router where the spindle lock attaches to the plastic case. That said, table-bound routers require spindle locks.
3. Variable speed: (8,000 rpm to >24,000 rpm.) Nice but close to useless under 3HP, but mandatory over 3HP. Note that the slower speeds are mandatory for larger bits but you need the horsepower to push them.
4. Plunge base: This is the most versatile, but a fixed base is fine for a third or fourth router
5. Bit clearance: Able to accept or modifiable for large panel bits 3½" to 3¾"+. Mandatory for panel bits.
6. Guide holes: These are used to mount a straight edge guide or for ski and foot use. These need to be a minimum of 12.5mm or ½".
7. Soft start: Is handy especially with the heavier horsepower (higher wattage) routers. Without it, a starting router could be wrenched out of your hands.
8. Light weight but versatile and powerful. With power you want weight but you also want to pick it up and use it all day long. Sometimes table mounting is a viable solution.
9. 1¾" template guide hole: 1½" hole with a " shoulder for brass template guides. There is the Porter Cable 1 3/16ths standard but is too small for even occasional use. Makita allows for a 40mm template guide."

Once you think you're ready to make a decision on what philosophy to follow, go back to the Router Workshop videos and watch them like you're taking on a new religion. Pay particular attention to the sounds and how they use and handle a router. This is an excellent school.

My current router inventory is two heavy 3.25 HP Hitachi M12Vs, a 1 1/3 HP Makita fixed base "D" handle and a Makita 3700 trim router. This selection will handle all of the 25 mounting methods for routers. (Oops, that's 25 ways that routers can be used. This doesn't include jigs and fixtures.)

I am looking for one more router: a fixed base router that the motor can be removed from the base. The switch, wiring etc. must be independent of the base. I'll use this one for "lighter" methods like the pendulum.
 

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Hi Bong,

Welcome to the forum
 
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