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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm fairly new to woodworking. I currrently own a Sears 15 amp variable speed plunge router I recieved as a gift. Since these routers are terrible when it comes to guide bushings and other standard accessories, and since it is powerful, I placed it in a router table that I made. Now I am looking to buy a fixed base router. I am on a budget and can get a PC 690 fixed speed with a PC half blind dovetail jig for $200 at a certain woodworking store. This seems like a good starter deal for me. My question is, down the road, will I need the variable speed option or will the PC 690 fixed speed do the trick?
 

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Phillip K said:
I currrently own a Sears 15 amp variable speed plunge router I recieved as a gift. Since these routers are terrible when it comes to guide bushings and other standard accessories, and since it is powerful, I placed it in a router table that I made. Now I am looking to buy a fixed base router. I am on a budget and can get a PC 690 fixed speed with a PC half blind dovetail jig for $200 at a certain woodworking store. This seems like a good starter deal for me. My question is, down the road, will I need the variable speed option or will the PC 690 fixed speed do the trick?
Hi Phillip

I'm NOT one of the 'experts' around here, but here's my guess...

You will probably be OK with the PC 690 as is...

You would probably want the variable speed control more on the big one in the table... where you would be using the Large Raised Panel bits, etc. at a slower speed...

Just my 2 bits... Wait for the real experts on the subject... :)
 

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Doug
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Phillip,

First question, do you need the dovetail jig right now? If so, that sounds like a decent deal. You're probably paying more for the jig than the router.... (The 690 LR by itself is online for around $115). If not, I'd find a decent 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 variable speed router. (chances are you can get a very good deal on them)

I'd look for a combo base router package, because out of the table you'll want a plunge router too. There are a bunch of multibase packages that are all variable speed.

I've got a 693 (my first router)- the plunge version of the 690, and it's a great machine, but I wish I could spin it a bit slower sometimes. It's a quality machine, and it's still running strong over a decade later. There are several after market speed controls you could use, or limit the size of your bits.

Just my humble opinion,

Doug
 

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Hi Phillip

I'm Not one of the experts but you will want a speed control down the road so it's best to find a router that has one built in, many on the market place now days. :)

Take a hard look at the router below.
It comes with one as a default item and the price is right, I don't have one (YET) but should have one this week and I will post a user review at that time.

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/prod...s+&+Laminate+Trimmers&vertical=TOOL&ihtoken=1
also see the link below for a bit more info.
http://www.routerforums.com/table-mounted-routing/4063-model-320-17542-table-routing.html

Just a small note****the 2" diam.bits should not be running at 24,000 rpm. the norm would be about 12 to 18,000 rpm and the 18,000 rpm is a bit to fast at that.
You can search for on this fourm for a chart to set the speed on your router for bit size,some routers come with a chart and some have it on the router.

One more tip :) :)
If you buy the router from Sears take the money you saved and send off for one of the Oak-Park Box jigs (3 ea.set) , dovetail jigs are nice to have BUT the box jig will do the same so to speak and you will be happy you did every time you use it :) or every time you make box or a drawer.
The Original Box Joint Jig by Oak-Park
http://us.oak-park.com/catalogue.html?list=boxj--


Bj :)




Phillip K said:
I currrently own a Sears 15 amp variable speed plunge router I recieved as a gift. Since these routers are terrible when it comes to guide bushings and other standard accessories, and since it is powerful, I placed it in a router table that I made. Now I am looking to buy a fixed base router. I am on a budget and can get a PC 690 fixed speed with a PC half blind dovetail jig for $200 at a certain woodworking store. This seems like a good starter deal for me. My question is, down the road, will I need the variable speed option or will the PC 690 fixed speed do the trick?
 

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bobj3 said:
Hi Phillip

I'm Not one of the experts but you will want a speed control down the road so it's best to find a router that has one built in, many on the market place now days. :)

Take a hard look at the router below.
It comes with one as a default item and the price is right, I don't have one (YET) but should have one this week and I will post a user review at that time.

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/prod...s+&+Laminate+Trimmers&vertical=TOOL&ihtoken=1
also see the link below for a bit more info.
http://www.routerforums.com/table-mounted-routing/4063-model-320-17542-table-routing.html

Just a small note****the 2" diam.bits should not be running at 24,000 rpm. the norm would be about 12 to 18,000 rpm and the 18,000 rpm is a bit to fast at that.
You can search for on this fourm for a chart to set the speed on your router for bit size,some routers come with a chart and some have it on the router.


Bj :)

Bob,

That Craftsman combo looks like a worthwhile venture!! Sure looks good to me! But how long does it take for the Bugs to appear and will they fix / stand behind the products like they normally do?

If I didn't have my Hitachi 12svc combo, I think I'd try it.
 

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Hi Joe

You know Sears/Craftsman If you don't like it we/they will refund/replace it.

At one time I sold used tools and I had customers come in and ask if I had any old Craftsman tools working or not ,I would sell them cheap and they would take them down to Sears and get brand new ones.
Some people can do that I can't. :)

Bj :)


Joe Lyddon said:
Bob,

That Craftsman combo looks like a worthwhile venture!! Sure looks good to me! But how long does it take for the Bugs to appear and will they fix / stand behind the products like they normally do?

If I didn't have my Hitachi 12svc combo, I think I'd try it.
 

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I had a 2 hp Craftsman router that I used for years for free hand work. When I put it under a table and used a large bit, I smoked the router after a while. I believe Sears warrenty on power tools are only one year. If I was to have a router exclusively free hand work, I would get a varible speed plunge. For under the table I would get a fixed speed and then add a speed control. I have a PC 7518 which is a 5 speed soft start. If I had to do it over, I'd get a fixed speed with a speed control add on. Better accessibilty.
 

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Hi Mike

Are you being facetious ? :) :) :)

I don't count myself as a expert but one that has done many things with routers and tools and I try and help when I can. :)


Bj :)

facetious ▼
1. not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark.
2. amusing; humorous.
 

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Phillip (and Mike), BJ is pulling your leg... he is one of the most knowledgeable people on the forum.
I would suggest spending the money on a combo kit if possible and waiting on purchasing a dovetail jig. I own two dovetail jigs and rarely use them. A combo kit from any of the major brands, whichever feels best in your hands, will be a much better deal in the long run. I prefer using routers with a fixed switch, and an after market speed controller. Here is why: The most likely item to fail in any machine is an electronic chip. They are effected by heat and vibration. Consider the size of the speed controller in a router vs a much larger after market unit. The larger components will disipate the heat easier and should last longer. Many will disagree with me and are very happy with their variable speed routers. I went with my 35 years of industrial machine repair experience on this one.
 

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AxlMyk said:
You aren't? And I've been following what you post here?
Big mistake.. BIG MISTAKE :rolleyes:

:D :D :D :D

We kind of like Bob around here. He's a good guy and good at customing up stuff. I think he can make a router out of a string, some metal, a rubber band and..... oh yeah... Toilet Paper! Ha ha BJ


Corey
 

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Joe, as you know Sears doesn't make anything. some of those older ITT/Ryobi made routers weren't the best routers but I worked and learned on them. Still got a 1 1/2 horse thats going strong. I am not sure who is making that router but it looks like a decent router from appearance.

corey
 

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challagan said:
I am not sure who is making that router but it looks like a decent router from appearance.

corey
Yes, my first thought was that it looked like the PC 6xx line... but probably not.

Would be interesting to know what it really is though... :)
 

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Ok, I'll deflect all of this stuff and get back on topic. I can only speak for my experience and not that of others. I own a Sears Craftsman router. It is currently in the box with all of the other busted Sears Craftsman stuff that I can't get parts for. On the other hand, I picked up a Makita 3601B at a garage sale for $12.50 and checked with the Makita repair centre to see if I could still get parts for it -- yup, including stuff that's been discontinued for more than 10 years and they still manufacture parts for stuff 30 years old. To prove it I picked up a "dead" 2010N heavy hammer drill. I called Makita and got the part for it. I now have a perfectly functioning hammer drill for about $16.50 ($15 for the part including shipping plus the $1.50 I paid for it,)

Go for the Sears stuff in the short term but if you're going to get seriously involved with this craft nothing beats good equipment. By the way, the Sears router broke where the shaft lock attaches to the housing. When I loosened the chuck the housing broke -- have to scrap the entire router, no fix possible nor can I use it with a broken housing.
 

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You are basically repeating what I have been saying for a long time, Makita make superb power tools, most tradesmen here in Australia use them and in my humble opinion, the 3612C plunge router is a tool to be reckoned with.
 

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If you have a fixed speed router with soft start, the external speed control will not work. I wanted to buy one for my Craftsman router but the speed control ad stated that it will not work on soft start routers. Had I known that I would have bought a variable speed one.
 

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You are basically repeating what I have been saying for a long time, Makita make superb power tools, most tradesmen here in Australia use them and in my humble opinion, the 3612C plunge router is a tool to be reckoned with.
Except for their SCMS's. I do believe I would rather buy Harbor Freight than to touch one of those. Makita makes good tools for the most part, but I would take Hitachi or Porter Cable over them anyday. :)
 

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As always, to each his own.
 

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Jon, I can not imagine why you would choose a Chicago Elecctric router over a Makita 3612. Is this some sort of joke? Did you have a bad experience? The Makita 3612 is comparable to the Hitachi M-12 and to date nothing HF sells in routers holds a candle to any name brand router. I say this with great confidence since I inspected their current offerings last week.
 

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Ok, I'll bite what's a "SCMS's?"

I own lots of Makita, Hitachi and Porter Cable. All of it is high end stuff but purchased for different reasons.

The Porter Cable is a circular saw that I purchased because it was as accurate as a circular saw could be _and_ it was left handed. I find the motor technology to be robust but outdated. The table is magnesium and very nice but fragile. The mounting system, well, let's just say "don't drop it."

I own two Hitachi M12Vs and the 14" sliding compound mitre saw. All are really nice stuff. Robust, well designed stylish if not almost pretty. Fit and finish is very good.

I collect Makita. They use a unique 4 pole motor technology that allows a reduction in the size of the motor and thus the size and weight of the tool. I didn't buy any of it. It all just kind of "fell" into my possession. I had a Sears electric drill and it croaked and any attempts to resurrect it were futile.

I stopped at a Saturday garage sale and low and behold a Makita drill. I offered the guy $1.25 for it and he said sure and handed it to me. OOOOOOk! I ran like hell thinking he might realize what he'd just done. I got it home, plugged it in and nada! I figured I'd just spent $1.25 for nothing so I might as well learn from the experience. I undid all of the screws and it fell apart into two neat halves. One half was perfectly clean and the other half had everything neatly arrayed in front of me. It took about 10 seconds to see the problem. The cord had been cut right at the cord protector. I shortened the cord and re-installed it. Plugged it in and ZOOM big time. Everything worked - variable speed with speed lock, reversible, keyless chuck. I was surprised and thrilled.

Next week a different garage sale another Makita drill - I offered the guy a buck he held out for two. Same thing, minor repair, another drill to add to the collection. One of the garage sales the guy had a very heavy hammer drill. No plug on the end. $1.25 later got it home, new plug - zoom. Everything works like a charm. I called Makita ordered a manual (free) and a cord -- Zoom! I now have a very heavy-duty variable - two speed, reversable hammer drill.

Other drills, reciprocating saws typically go for 1-2 bucks. The router on the other hand -- I had to work for that one. 3601B for $12.50 _but_ it didn't need any repair.

I'm now gradually getting rid of Dewalt, Black & Decker, Skil, Milwaukee even Porter Cable and replacing it with Makita, Hitachi (tools only - I don't like other Hitachi divisions) and Bosch. (I don't own any but they always come a close second when I go to buy something new. They just seem to have one less feature when everything else is equal. Bears consideration every time.)

There is one ringer in all of this. Ridgid makes ok stuff but then they went and put a lifetime guarantee on it. At certain times of the year you can buy a Ridgid battery powered drill and get a lifetime guarantee on the battery. I'm not nuts. I figure if I buy one and blow the battery every few years even if they go bust I'm still good for several free batteries. Pretty good buy -- except Makita of course ;-)

Makita - worth the investment. Harbour Freight? well let's just say "disposable!"
 
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