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Hi - I am a novice woodworker with a limited budget for my hobby -
I have just been given a 15 amp 2.5 HP plunge router the collet is 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 - it weighs about 12-13 lbs - It has a speed of 23,000 RPM

What bits should I get for it and is it advisable to mount it to a table

I have never owned a router before - do you have any suggestions on learning to use it other then just practicing with it

Would using a rheostat to slow it down harm it

thank you for any help :)
 

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Welcome to the forums. To keep things simple you should always buy 1/2" shank bits. They are stronger than 1/4" bits and help cut down on vibration. Only specialty bits should be considered in other shank sizes. The best value for your money is to purchase bits from Woodcraft when they are on sale. They have 20 commonly used profiles that they put on sale for $5 each; at times they have sets of 10 for as little as $40. These are reasonable quality bits and will serve you well. Do not waste your money on a set with lots of pieces for a cheap price. Buy the bits as you need them and your money will go a lot further. Starting out you should consider a 1/4" straight cutting bit, a 1/4" roundover bit, a 1/2" diameter by 1-1/2" long cutting edge pattern following bit with a bearing on the end and a chamfering bit. This selection of bits will let you build a surprizing number of projects.
At 13 Lbs you will not want to be doing much free hand routing. Table mounting is the best solution since it gives you more control and accuracy. The key to easy use of your router in a table is installing a mounting plate on your router. I prefer the Rousseau mounting plate for a couple of reasons; they have a template for making the cut out in your table, a centering kit and super easy to follow instructions. This plate lets you mount guide bushings which you will use as your knowledge and skills advance, allows you to adjust the size of the center opening for different sized bits, has corner snuggers and leveling screws to keep your plate perfectly mounted.
All of the bits I mentioned should be run at your highest speed to achieve the best cut. Using larger bits requires you to slow the motor and this is best done with a speed controller. Harbor Freight puts their speed controller on sale for $13 on a regular basis. This is better than using a lighting rheostat since it is designed specificly for motor speed control, no worries about damage to the motor.
 
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