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My wife is treating me to a new router. I can't make my mind up Triton or Makita 1/2 models... It will be used under a router table & free hand. I was made up on the Triton because it has the Handel for raising it up but a mate has said the makita is far better.. I'm very new to all of this can anyone advise me? 馃榿
 

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I have and love the Triton TRA001, but only use it in the table. It is a bit top heavy to me. It is a very powerful router and has many desirable features, not the least of which is the above table height adjustment. But at 77 and not as lively or strong anymore, it's just a bit much to handle freehand.

The Makitas seem a little lower slung to me, but still stands pretty tall. Makita sells a lot overseas and is widely available in Asia and Australia. A plunge router is the way to go for freehand use, and I don't think you can beat the Bosch 1617 EVSPK for that use. It comes with both bases and many of us have used it in a table. You can get a key that lets you do fine height adjustment using the fixed base in the table. It has plenty of power and great customer service. So I have both.

There are so many things you can do with a router in a table, in fact, if there's a way to do a job on the table, I ALWAYS prefer to do it that way. Table routing is MUCH safer than freehand. Haven't used my routers freehand in awhile, and the last few times were with the Bosch Colt, which is a small hand held. I have used it many times to cut the recess (mortise) for hinges and locks when I replaced all our damaged interior doors. (1/8th inch deep at the most).

Having one tool to do all things is genrally not the best way to go. One size doesn't fit all projects.

All that said, I'd go with the Triton and get a copy of a book on routing so you can see all the methods of using the table mounted router. Bill Hylton has authored a number of books on router use (and other tools). I found two used on Amazon (search for used)

Router Magic Jigs, fixtures, and tricks to unleash your router's full potential. B&W pictures are not so clear and are often small.

Woodworking with the Router Professional Router Techniques and Jigs Any Woodworker Can Use. My preference, biggeer, color pictures that are easy to grasp-better photography matters.

I prefer the second title. Some of his used books are getting pricey. So used is your best bet.

To be honest, I've had very little experience with Makita routers, but the member (Harry Sinclair, Australia) has and loves Makita tools. But he is also the one who tipped me toward the Triton TRA001, which is what he uses all the time in his table.

I hope @Stick486 comes along shortly with his link to a lot of pdfs of materials on safe, proper router practices and method. Very well worth reading.

Finally, Before you start using your Triton (or whatever you choose), I urge you to go to YouTube and look up all the router and woodworking videos by Marc Sommerfeld. He was a cabinet maker who started a premium router centered busienss. He shows exactly how he uses his Triton to make all kinds of things. His technique is incredibly simple and doesn't require a lot of fancy gear to do. A good way to watch a very experienced woodworker do his thing. I learned a lot and even bought a set of his videos in DVDs because I always watch one on how he does a project I'm working on. All those videos, however, are free online https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=marc+sommerfeld.

I have purchased three of his door making sets, and also what used to be called the Katie Jig for making dovetail joints. There are other brands of similar jigs as well that are as good, or larger than his dovetail jig. I hate using the old Porter Cable jig because you have to move the router. The Katie and Leigh jigs, you move the jig and the router stays put safely in the table.

As for router bits, I tend to stick to Freud bits, purchased one at a time. There are many other brands of bits and huge array of shapes and profiles they cut. But you WILL need a set of roundover bits, 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 with half inch shanks. Order a catalog or two from Freud and a couple of other makers (Sommerfeld is my go to for looking up bits, whether or not I buy them).

Hope this isn't too much all at once, but the router is such a versatile tool you'll want to learn all you can about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your excellent reply its just what I need to read as I have very little experience in routing thank you
 

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Roy, you should know that the Triton would require taking the springs out if you're going to mount it in a table. This makes it a bit hectic if you're going to use it free-hand also. Some folks find the Triton a bit heavy for plunging free-hand.

I have the Triton in the table and use a trim router for hand-held use. I also use the Bosch 1617 and Ridgid 1/2" free-hand, depending on what I'm cutting. Bit profiles typically used free-hand can almost always be used in a trim router (if 1/4" shank). You will need 1/4" bits for the trim router and you'll want 1/2" bits for the table router. What you will do with it will determine the right size bits. Typically, you might use the trim router for rounds and other small edge-trimming needs. If you're planning on more complex cuts on the face of a board, you will need additional "specialty bits". If you're going to start with projects around the house (carpentry types) pick the bits that will suit those projects. You will hear differing opinions as to whether you should buy large bit sets vs individual bits of varying sizes. This too will be determined by what projects you undertake. Whatever you decide, make sure they are higher quality rather than "cheap sets". BTW...when I say size, I mean profile size rather than shank size.

Keep in mind that you're likely to use the table most of the time. Bigger jobs, like raised panels, will definitely need the table.

If you decide to use two routers, table and hand-held, make sure you put the free-hand models in your hands before you buy. The feel in your hand is very important for safe free-hand routing. Some routers have the handles very low which makes the router very stable (knobs just off the base). Others would have the handles higher. What is comfortable for your use will be determined by how it feels in your hands.

Some models also have the switch in the handle while others have the on/off switch on the body. The Triton's switch also has an interlock cover on the switch and that might make it a bit more cumbersome for free-hand. And some models have an easy to reach plunge release while others take two hands. These reasons are why you need to feel the intended router in your hands...

And some models have good dust collecting accessories to be mounted directly on/near the router base for free-hand use...keep dust collection in mind when you shop.

Take your time choosing a router...it's going to be with you a long time. Carefully consider what you plan to do with it...even if it means you will buy another router later on...
 
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Hi again. Nick's comment about having a second "trim" or small router is a good way to go. His details are helpful too. The price for the Bosch Trim Router is about $100. And you will find it does a lot of simple freehand jobs. Just don't force it or take too much off on each pass. He is also accurate, most all of your router work can and should be done on the table, ESPECIALLY since you're new at it.

I see Stick posted his great pdf collection.

Since you're fairly new to this, I am attaching a pdf that covers the 18 plus things that helped me accelerate my learning curve. It's 10 pages long with pictures. I made a lot of mistakes and poor purchases over the years, so hopefully it will help you avoid making the same mistakes.
 

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This is my makita
https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/RP1800
It stays in the table.
I have 2 x 1/4" makita edge trimmer routers as well, they are very cheap used and it saves so much time if you just want round over edges or cut grooves.
i also have a small bosch plunge router and another make as well.
They breed faster than rabbits.
 

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I'll throw another router into the mix. I use a Hitachi M12V2 for table. It also is capable of above table adjustment and the plunge tubes have plugs in the ends that allow installing or removing the springs in 1- 2 minutes. The downside of that is that you have to remove it from the table plate and that takes as long as the springs. The other downside of this model is that it is already discontinued and I don't recommend the newer VE for a table but the M12V2 can usually be had cheaper than most other routers and still comes with a 5 year warranty.

One other thing to think about is just using the router with the table plate still attached. I sometimes do and it makes the router much more stable. But if you need to use it as a plunge then you need to leave the springs in it. All the plunge routers I've used in the table can have the springs left in it just makes raising the router more difficult when you work against gravity and spring pressure.
 

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Makita V Triton

I have both the Makita RP2301FC and the Triton TRA001, the Triton is superb in a table but nowhere near as easy to use for hand held routing as the Makita.
 

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Sorry, gonna throw a monkey wrench in here... unless that Makita has a light on it, you're gonna hate using it free-hand. You'll either have to modify it, or find a way to get good light in there. I have my own rant on that (since I only use mine free-hand to make signs.) if you'll be doing carpentry, you may be good. But to do any work like I do, you'll need one with a light. My go-to is my DeWalt 611 with a plunge. But with the little light I clipped on my Makita, I like it, as well. (Now....)
 

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More monkey wrench. Just found a new Colt, 1.25 hp, which has a light. Comes in a kit with fixed and plunge bases, dialable speed control. Never saw this model before, but given Bosch's customer service and quality, it's a contender. Not the same at all as the previous Colt trim router. Even has a safety interlock that closes the front clear cover over the blade when running. Bosch GKF125CEPK Colt 1.25 HP (Max) Variable-Speed Palm Router Combination Kit. Give it a good look.

Reviewed here: https://www.protoolreviews.com/tool...uter-combination-kit-review-gkf125cepk/50818/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JKK1TW...olid=1TSPCACUYOA5Y&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
 

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Sorry, gonna throw a monkey wrench in here... unless that Makita has a light on it, you're gonna hate using it free-hand. You'll either have to modify it, or find a way to get good light in there. I have my own rant on that (since I only use mine free-hand to make signs.) if you'll be doing carpentry, you may be good. But to do any work like I do, you'll need one with a light. My go-to is my DeWalt 611 with a plunge. But with the little light I clipped on my Makita, I like it, as well. (Now....)
Surely Barb. it isn't a trim router that is being questioned but a full size one with the same power as the Triton.
 

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Out of the wood work I just checked it does come with 2 led, lights I've read many reviews now about 70% of the reviews for the Triton were positive. But nearly 90% the reviews for the makita were positive.馃檮馃
 

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More monkey wrench. Just found a new Colt, 1.25 hp, which has a light. Comes in a kit with fixed and plunge bases, dialable speed control. Never saw this model before, but given Bosch's customer service and quality, it's a contender. Not the same at all as the previous Colt trim router. Even has a safety interlock that closes the front clear cover over the blade when running. Bosch GKF125CEPK Colt 1.25 HP (Max) Variable-Speed Palm Router Combination Kit. Give it a good look.

Reviewed here: https://www.protoolreviews.com/tool...uter-combination-kit-review-gkf125cepk/50818/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JKK1TW...olid=1TSPCACUYOA5Y&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
It does look like a fine TRIM router, what is being compared are two 3 1/4
HP models.
 

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Out of the wood work I just checked it does come with 2 led, lights I've read many reviews now about 70% of the reviews for the Triton were positive. But nearly 90% the reviews for the makita were positive.馃檮馃
I fully agree with what you said, if hand held routing is involved,and it should be, then the Makita wins hands down. Whilst a table mounted router is important, most routing can be done holding the router.
 

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Surely Barb. it isn't a trim router that is being questioned but a full size one with the same power as the Triton.
Didn't notice that part, Harry. Sorry. Guess if I woulda read it correctly.... but, always something to look for; ya never know these days what you'll be missing when you get it home.
 

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Surely Barb. it isn't a trim router that is being questioned but a full size one with the same power as the Triton.
Didn't notice that part, Harry. Sorry. Guess if I woulda read it correctly.... but, always something to look for; ya never know these days what you'll be missing when you get it home.
 
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