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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, sorry to be going on this much.
Had a thread about my KM12VC, and just happened to find the box for it, and have been encouraged to consider getting a fixed base only to start with. On the Ryobi BT3Central forum, someone mentioned that because this router is a dual fixed/plunge router, using it primarily as a table router means that it is a bit more of a pain to change bits as it requires 2 wrenches, and height adjustment is sub-optimal due to its dual fixed/plunge design.

Since I'm a complete novice woodworker, I'm wondering if it might not indeed be better to just get a good fixed base router, and worry about a plunge at a later date. My thinking is as it will be in the table most of the time, features which include 1 wrench or no wrench bit changing, and more accessible bit height adjustment in-table are probably priority features.

Is it possible to get a decent fixed-base router with these options at a savings over the $175 I payed for the KM12VC? I like the Rockler #1 table, and would like to get a router compatible with that, however Bosch and DeWalts are a bit pricier than I think I want to spend, unless I have too.
I expect to use this primarily for smaller projects, and if I find myself becoming skilled enough, would easily upgrade to a 3+ hp router in the future to make my kitchen cabinets.

Are there any decent mid-range routers available which you would think excel at being table-based and are adequately accurate and user-friendly in the bit changining/height adjusting category?

Or, should I keep this Hitachi, or go with one of their fixed, variable speed models?

For mainly hobbiest use, do I really need the variable speed if I am not using the larger bits?

Thanks for you time.
 

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Hi,

I'll give you what I did some years back. I got the single speed fixed base Porter Cable router(690). Since it was 1-1/2 HP and my Sears was the same I did it mostly to get to 1/2" router bit and to "standard" collets. The PC router was much more powerful then the Sears and handled much better.... a big improvement, I got more then I planned on. I then got to the point I wanted a plunge base.... woooooooow I think the router went for like $120 the plunge base was $80 all by itself so my cost went to $200 rather then the like $160-170 the kit was... nothing like throwing away $30 or $40. The point being kits most often save you money if you end up wanting "more".

Now the softstart and speed control along with quiet operations and good hp plus the reasonable cost make the Hitachi kit a good deal. With the kit you get the centering fixture, a set of template guide, another sub-base with flat side, and a case (and the motor and two bases). If you just get the M12VC you get the router and wrenches that's it. I have never seen the plunge base for sale but it will be in the $80 range I bet (well I don't really bet but it is likely in that range).

I find I like the two wrench setup, we haven't taken a survey here but my money is the 2 wrench system wins hands down.

If I were to have only one router it would be plunge router... I lived and made do for a lot of years with just a fixed base and it works but...... lots of jobs call for having a plunge router and work-a-rounds can be unsafe and time consuming to do.

I don't know if you get to see the router workshop show but the set up they have with the mounting plate that pops out of the table makes 2 wrenches easy to use, bit changes are easy and you can often get the height adjustment done up where you can see it better...

Now if you want the single wrench system, above the table bit changes, and above the table height adjustments what router are you looking at?? Only a few come to my mind but maybe someone has a less then $180 model??

Of course in the end it is your choice and only you know how you plan to use it and how much you want to spend, the above opinions are just mine.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ed thanks, and my only experience has been watching the Router Workshop :)

I am really leaning towards be a gunea pig for the new Freud router 1700-something, as it has above table height and bit-changing capability. I can see where a plunge will come in handy at some point, however I would be happy to pick up a nice dedicated one if I end up needing it for more than rare use. I would like to stay with the KM12VC, however I think I'm going to spend a lot more time changing bit and adjusting height than lots of board feet against one bit set-up. Freud seems to have a decent name. Appreciate yours and everyone help, and hope to pick one up this weekend.
 

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Hi,

I posted a question about this router see:
http://www.routerforums.com/showthread.php?t=2135

I have not found one to look at but then I haven't been out looking this week. I will be interested in having you tell us about as the information I have seen doesn't really say much. They have it listed at Amazon for $180 and a very short description and only two comments one good one bad. The Lowes has it listed but not at my local stores.

When you get it please get back to us with details.

Ed
 

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I recently bought the Hitachi fixed base. Its a lovely machine and only 114$ The quality is evident and the base and guide bushing match the PC so all the templet guides fit it! What ever you do forget anything from HF. I know the prices are very attractive but the quality truely is horrid. I have bought a few tools from them seduced by the price only to find the machine so poorly made. My latest was the 1-3/4 plunge for 80 bucks. Very sorry I did it and a mortise machine I just got was damaged in the box, now I have to repack it and take it back, damn thing weighs a ton and my back is paying the price.

The Hitachi is very nice I would concider buying the plunge base for it.

I say the HF is horrid cos the shaft wabbles....I returned the first one cos it wobbled too....
 

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badpacket said:
I am really leaning towards be a gunea pig for the new Freud router 1700-something, as it has above table height and bit-changing capability. I can see where a plunge will come in handy at some point, however I would be happy to pick up a nice dedicated one if I end up needing it for more than rare use. I would like to stay with the KM12VC, however I think I'm going to spend a lot more time changing bit and adjusting height than lots of board feet against one bit set-up. Freud seems to have a decent name. Appreciate yours and everyone help, and hope to pick one up this weekend.
Hi BadP -
Was able to look at the Freud FT1700 at a Lowes near me last night, as I'm looking at a new router myself.
Basically Seems all right ... collet does clear the base by a nice distance for above table changes ... feels comfortable enough ... has through the base height adjustment for above table adjustment (wasn't able to see the type of wrench it uses) - micro adjustment seems pretty smooth and secure (although that's a hard one to tell for sure untill it's under power and load, which I couldn't do in the store).
For some reason it didn't have a base plate on it so can't comment there (poor kid at the store didn't know what I was asking about either!). So I also couldn't tell about what guide bushing sizes their base would accept (he couldn't find the packing case or manual either).
One thing I DIDN'T like was the on/off switch location and operation - it's on the motor body and pretty stiff both to lock On and turn Off. It's a slide switch that you sort of rock over a clip to lock it on - just didn't feel right. In the table for me that doesn't matter as I have a safety punch-switch, but for hand-held use that kind of scares me - awkward to start and difficult to turn off. Seems like you'd almost have to lay it on its side to start and stop it.
But for a table dedicated machine might be a nice option. I have no experience with Freud tools so can't really speak for their overall quality.
My thoughts at first look.

(P.S. - Jnam, what brand is HF?)
 
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