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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

I live in the UK and after an illness that's floored me for 9 years, I am trying to get back into things around the house and do a little DIY. I am a complete novice to woodworking but it is where my passion lies.

I've been buying some decent tools, Makita, DeWalt etc drills and sanders and now want a router to do some basic woodworking. it making bee houses, bird houses, boxes, etc.

Can you point me int he direction of a good quality router and a set of bits that will keep me going for a while. I don't want to buy twice so prefer a decent brand. I don't need an enormous router either, just something not overly heavy.

Many, many thanks Li
 

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Most of us have our own preference and for me the Bosch 1617EVSPK which has both fixed and plunge bases works great for my uses. I have one in my router table (motor only on a lift) and another for hand work. The bits I use are Whiteside and I've heard good things about Freud. I tend to get higher quality carbide bits that will last longer and give a nice cut.
 

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Welcome to Router Forums n/a. I have to call you n/a because you haven't edited your profile to provide us with your first name yet. Please do so. The "Edit Profile" button is in the upper right of your screen just below where you log on.

You should pick a middle size router that comes with at least a fixed and a plunge base. A middle size router (here they are 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 horsepower). The two common sizes of collets would be good too. Here the collet size is 1/4 and 1/2". Over there I believe that the most common sizes are 8 and 12 mm. Just make certain that the collets for the router that you buy will fit the commonly available bits that you can buy. Get one of the better brands of routers. Bosch, Makita, Proter Cable, and DeWalt are all good reliable brands here that I believe are also available in your Country and any one of them should give you many years of reliable service. Options like router bushings and edge guides are often needed and it would be good to get them too.

Buy carbide tipped router bits as you need them for what you want to do. This avoids spending a lot of money on router bit sets, because you will likely never use half of the ones that come in the sets.

Come back here and ask questions as you find that you need answers. I'm sure others will come along soon and send you many pdf files with information about getting started using routers. Reading them should get you off to a good start too. Our member "Stick486" probably will flood you with reading material.

Charley
 

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A router table is the safest way to do a lot of routing tasks. You can buy one pre made or simply make one of your own. It can be as simple as a sheet of ply with an opening and the router mounted beneath. Suspend across two saw horses and you have a table. You can use a very straight 2x piece as a fence. The Bosch allows you to use the fixed base in a table and with an accessory key, you can adjust height from above the table. If you search for router tables here, you'll find a lot of different types, from very simple to quite compex.

My personal preference if I only had one router, it would be the Bosch 1617 kit, which may have a different name and setup for UK power. Here's a picture. The other picture is of the Bosch mounted under a table showing the adjustment key.

The Bosch table setup does not give you a full range of adulstment. You do a coarse adjustment by flipping the mounting lock off and pushing the motor up or down. Then you use the key for the fine adjustment. There are other good brands, but I haven't used them.
 

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A possibly dissenting opinion: @lijong, the best router for you is the one with which you are most comfortable and allows you to do what you want to do. In general, get the most powerful router that takes both 1/4 an 1/2 inch shaft bits (or 6 mm and 12 mm shaft bits?). Above table height adjustment is a very serious time saver. As fo the fixed base + plunge base, a plunge base can do anything a fixed base can do, but not all plunge routers have above table height adjustment.
Another issue is customer support. Bosch and Makita are both first rate, based on my experience.
 

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Normally I'm all onboard with the the Bosch1617 series but Lijong has expressed an interest in doing smaller scale projects. In this particular instance I'd almost recommend a smaller 1/4" (or metric equivalent) machine.
Maybe the DeWalt 611(?) or Bosch Colt(?). Bee houses and birdhouses will need small bits and precise cuts, the extra HP will be unnecessary.
Yeh, I know, pure sacrilege! ;)
 

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Hi and welcome. Keep in mind that the model numbers quoted are North American models that run on our 110 volt 15 amp power system. Your models may have different numbers. Your best bets may be Trend as they are UK based. As I understand their bits are decent and reasonable. Freud should also be available but are probably more. Try having a lol at the Trend T4 I think it is. ITs a smaller router I think, good for small projects. Its utility quality but much cheaper. Might be a good choice to start with.
 

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Normally I'm all onboard with the the Bosch1617 series but Lijong has expressed an interest in doing smaller scale projects. In this particular instance I'd almost recommend a smaller 1/4" (or metric equivalent) machine.
Maybe the DeWalt 611(?) or Bosch Colt(?). Bee houses and birdhouses will need small bits and precise cuts, the extra HP will be unnecessary.
Yeh, I know, pure sacrilege! ;)
+1...smaller would definitely be better for your application...and there are plunge bases available, certainly for the Bosch trim router...
 

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Welcome aboard. Personally, I would not buy a bit set. I buy bits as I need them, in the style I need. If you buy a set you likely will wind up never using some of the bits.
 
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I found this little beauty on a UK tool site...
https://www.powertoolworld.co.uk/trend-t4elk-850w-1-4-variable-speed-router-115v-in-kit-box
Maybe Colin or someone else over there can let us know if it's a good deal tool wise?
I can definitely see that one as being a nice size for smaller workpieces.
Looks great, I found a YouTube video of it:



And here is the 230volt equivalent for the U.K.:

https://www.powertoolworld.co.uk/trend-t4ek-850w-1-4-variable-speed-router-230v-in-kit-box
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all so much for the welcome and help. I really appreciate it. I will look through what you've all suggested and when I buy one I will post a picture. Looking forward to getting into it. The amount of jobs I could use it for is countless. Thanks again, you've all been really helpful,
 

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Thank you all so much for the welcome and help. I really appreciate it. I will look through what you've all suggested and when I buy one I will post a picture. Looking forward to getting into it. The amount of jobs I could use it for is countless. Thanks again, you've all been really helpful,
Here's a little reading to help you get you on your way.....
 

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Visit a retailer that has routers on display so you can grab them by the handle and see how they feel; you need to be comfortable holding the router handles. I do not like the round handles on the Bosch routers so I have never bought one; I may be missing a router that is perfect in other regards but it first needs to feel comfortable. Next, consider dust collection. Can you easily connect the router to some kind of dust collector? I make a lot of mortises with a plunge router and I used a PC891 (120V, 12A); dust collection is not very good when you use guide bushings. An improvement in the dust collection department is the DW621 (120V, 10A). Another feature is convenience of the on/off switch. The DW621 has the on/off switch on one of the handles while the PC891 requires moving your hand from the handle to the top of the router motor. While my PC891 is more powerful, I prefer using the DW621. Are you in an area that has a local woodworking club? This can be a great resource. Good luck on your selection.
 

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Visit a retailer that has routers on display so you can grab them by the handle and see how they feel; you need to be comfortable holding the router handles. I do not like the round handles on the Bosch routers so I have never bought one; I may be missing a router that is perfect in other regards but it first needs to feel comfortable. Next, consider dust collection. Can you easily connect the router to some kind of dust collector? I make a lot of mortises with a plunge router and I used a PC891 (120V, 12A); dust collection is not very good when you use guide bushings. An improvement in the dust collection department is the DW621 (120V, 10A). Another feature is convenience of the on/off switch. The DW621 has the on/off switch on one of the handles while the PC891 requires moving your hand from the handle to the top of the router motor. While my PC891 is more powerful, I prefer using the DW621. Are you in an area that has a local woodworking club? This can be a great resource. Good luck on your selection.

@bfblack, IMHO you are spot on. I had tried to say essentially the same thing.

I agree with your comment about the Bosch routers. I still do not understand why Bosch also sells the MRC23ESSK which has an immeasurably small (in the real world) more power than the 1617 to which you refer. I chose the MRC23 because the handles seem much better for me.
 

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