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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. My name is Matt from Toronto and I am new to the forum and woodworking. I am a very handy diy'er who wants to build cabinets for closet wardrobes and 'built ins', bookcases, etc.

I'm busy with family/career so I bought a Kreg bench top router table to save time. I also bought a barely used Ridgid TS3650 table saw. I found a Porter and Cable 690 Single speed router in my neighbourhood, used once.

I have been reading and watching YouTube and am now worrying that I should have purchased a Variable speed router. Should I have? I haven't drilled holes in my Kreg mounting plate just yet.

Is this just a case of Variable being 'nice to have, not necessary' ' or 'just get one'?

Thanks for your advice.

Matt

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John
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Hello and welcome to router forum, Matt
If you only have one router variable speed would be the most ideal but you can do a lot of work with a Single speed
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should have mentioned that I also have a Bosch Colt Variable Speed. My concept was to have a 1/2 Collet table mounted router for 'heavy lifting' and a hand held for finish work on a larger work piece or simple round-over work.

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Theo
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Well, depends on what you've got in part, and what you plan to do in part. Me, I've got 4 or 5 single speed routers, been using them for 20-30 years, and for what I use them for they do just what I need. So, for now at least, I have no plans to change.
 

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You're okay to 1.5 inch diameter bits. Larger than that you need to start slowing them down. 3.5" raised panel bits should be run at about 12,000 rpm. Like Dan said you can get an after market speed control as long as you don't have soft start but chances are you don't because they usually come with speed control too.
 
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Matt...
listen to DaninVan...
just go 3rd party speed control..
 

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Hr. Matt...
some reading for you...

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keep going...

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your comments. I will stick with what I have for the time being. I may possibly add 3rd party speed control if necessary.

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I would say based on the fact that you do cabinets you should have not only a variable speed router but one that is powerful enough to use large bits. Something in the 2 1/2 to 3 hp range. As far as speed controllers go, my experience with them has been mixed. They do allow you to slow the router down however they also reduce the torque. However for most of your work a single speed will do just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would say based on the fact that you do cabinets you should have not only a variable speed router but one that is powerful enough to use large bits. Something in the 2 1/2 to 3 hp range. As far as speed controllers go, my experience with them has been mixed. They do allow you to slow the router down however they also reduce the torque. However for most of your work a single speed will do just fine.
Thanks. I am planning shaker style doors so simple tongue and groove, rabbets, and Dados will be all that is needed, until I get more experienced anyway.

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I give all newcomers to routing the following advice: start off with a BIG powerful variable speed plunge router with a LARGE opening making it easy to SEE what the bit is doing and preferably with a multi-step anvil which makes deep routing a breeze. By following this advice you will be equipped to carry out any and all procedures that can be done with a router, not only that, you will be in a position to quickly learn all the wonderful things that can be done with a router. Welcome to the wonderful world of routing Matt.
 
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The best videos I've seen are by Marc Sommerfeld, who also sells tools for router use. But he was a cabinet maker for years as well and taught shop classes. He is using a Triton router in his table. When you decide to upgrade, consider the Triton TRA001, which has a built in lift that allows you to adjust bit height and change bits above the table. It is also 3.25 hp, variable speed and can be used as a plunge router, although it's a little hefty for that to me (I'm oild).

A couple of things: Sommerfelt and recently Freud have offered "matched" bit sets. Not cheap, but they allow you to set the first bit in a set, then just drop in subsequent bits without readjusting and testing every bit in a set. This works in part because you drop a half inch rubber grommet into the collet so all bits in the set start from that height. You're not supposed to bottom out a bit in the collet, but the rubber makes it safe to do so since it's not metal to metal.

Sommerfeld has videos on all kinds of projects and his technique is simple, direct and flawless. Yes, every tool, fence and table top is his brand, but the methods are universal.

All of my bit sets are now that brand, but Freud now offers matched sets as well, and that brand is cheaper by a small margin.

I'm like you in that rather than spend time building a table, I bought one from Rockler. I have the Triton, and recently changed the aluminum mounting plate over to a Woodpecker brand plate. Had to enlarge the opening an inch top and bottom, but the plate is extra thick and has a bayonet insert ring, so I can change the opening size to match the bit on the fly without having to remove easily lost screws. I think another brand has this twist/lock feature now and it is a real convenience. The Woodpecker plate is the most expensive, but will never sag.

My wife has been very understanding about my getting upgraded tools. In part that's because she was a quilter with top grade quilting machines. She walked into my shop one day and asked if I was going to make any money with them. "About as much as you'll make with your quilting machines," I replied. My entire setup now amounts to about $1K more than her machines, but I'm still using mine. My wife really likes my doing woodworking, I'm around, do honey-do projects all the time, but not under foot. If I had kids, I'd get them doing projects and helping out in the shop, and moms love to see that kind of dad-kid interaction. You earn a lot of husband points that way.

If you're interested, I posted a long piece on the 17 major things I did to accelerate my learning curve. Covers a lot and was intended to help someone new to woodworking build up a shop over time without wasting steps or money. Search for "17 Things." It was written so a spouse can understand why good stuff is generally a better, safer choice. They don't want you injuring yourself.

Welcome to the Forum. We all LOVE to be helpful.
 

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BTW, the Triton and a few other brands have dust collection built in. This is a good thing, dust is nasty stuff that sticks in your lungs forever. At the least, go get some paper or fabric face masks. 3M makes one with a valve. Eye protection!!!!!
 

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I started my venture into routing about 55 years ago with a 1 hp fixed speed, non soft start, 1/4" collet, fixed base router. Back then they didn't offer much else in router size or capability. It was all that I had for almost 10 years, so I learned to hold it tight when turning it on, and a bunch of other work-arounds to achieve what I wanted to do. I cut raised Shaker style panels on my table saw and tilted my router into cuts that would have been much better and safer done with a plunge router. All this can be done with a basic router, but it's much easier and safer to do if you have soft start and plunge capability, and variable speed if you want to run larger bits with 1/2" shanks.

If I was just getting started and buying my first router today, I would go for one of the better brand 2-2 1/4 hp two base 1/2" collet router kits that are available today. They will also come with 1/4" collets, so you will be able to use any of the common router bits in them. They will also have variable speed and soft start too. These routers are kind of mid sized and will be the most flexible routers for general purpose use. Get a good one and it will likely last you many years, if not the rest of your life..

You can buy larger or smaller routers as you get more into woodworking and find the need for them. I still have and use my original 1 hp router, but now have a full variety of routers both in size and features. I have three different multi base 2 1/4 hp router kits now, one in the truck and two in the shop and they are the ones that get used most, but I have a wide variety of both larger and smaller routers now as well.. A more recent purchase was my DeWalt 611 two base kit. It has proven to be very handy when doing small work, like edge trimming, hinge mortising, and lock mortising, something that I seem to be doing a lot of recently.

Charley
 
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