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HI

I can tell by reading your post, you are learning..To see that the PC you looked at didnt have soft start/ Variable speed, shows you know what features you are looking for.
I wonder how many people pick up a router kit and get it home and find out it doesnt have what they thought it did.Its best i think to get there cataloges and then go from there.Alot of the stores only carry certain models.
I have yet to see my Porter-Cable 694 combo in a store.I got mine off Ebay.

If the bosch 1617 is in your price range, go for it. The edge guide also allows you to do circles.So if he wanted to do a small table with a round top, he could up too 12 inches round.

.Its pretty hard to match up old mouldings that are on a old house..Thats custom work and to get old moulding's to match you have to have custom knives made."Not router Bits.This is a whole new very expensive field to get into.
Its gets much more complicated. I have many routers and bits and if you ask me to match up old mouldings i couldnt do it

If he just wants to curve a board , and put a profile or shape on it, then a router with a selected bit can do that.

Routers are a very versitile tool..I am sure it will lead on to other things. I would not buy a fixed base router.Alot of handheld router work requires a plunge base.
The bosch like many have both bases..Like i said before, if he has both bases he can make a router table and leave the fixed base on the table and just change the motor from one base to another.
I have nothing to do with the bosch company but do have the 1617 router along with 2 - porter cable routers, and like the feel of the bosch, also it is a 2 1/4 hp .
A variable speed router is also important if he decides to buy large bits someday , for eg if he wants to do Rasied panel doors.
The large bits need to run at a slower speed. The variable switch allows you to match the RPM's to the Bit size you want to use.

If you can only buy a router with one base...buy a plunge base router., but saying that i dont think a combo kit is too much for a person starting out.As his woodworking skills grow he will be looking for a router table, and then the list goes on and on. sorry to say.
A hobby woodworker is always looking for new tools. There is always something out there you seem to want, ( But not really need LOL)
It can certainly be an expensive but injoyable hobby.

Cheers

Hickory
 

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Milwaukee doesnt make a plunge that i know of..Its a shame, they are a quaility router and Fits like a glove. Didnt know they had the collet release like PC does..Wish they all would follow that design.

Hickory
 
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