RA1054 Bosch Deluxe Router Guide Review
by V. Kelly Bellis
Utility: (on a scale of 1 to 10) 5
Bang for buck: 7
My old 1604 Bosch router (circa about 1985) recently lost a few fins off of its impeller, probably when an old router bit failed and flew into pieces, though I didn’t think to look at the fins at the time as my workpiece had just been badly chowdered up. When I finally did notice the missing fins, I wrote to Bosch asking if the router was still safe to run. They promptly wrote back indicating that the only issue would be the uneven wear on the motor’s bearings.
Well, that was enough reason to upgrade to the 1617EVSPK combo kit, and because I have a bunch of circular grooves and discs to cut for a planned Thien Separator build, I also purchased the RA1054 Bosch Deluxe Router Guide. This customer review centers on the RA1054 after a number of tests and trials over the past few days cutting circular grooves, disks, as well as straight cuts and dados.
The 2.375” disk made of clear ABS plastic is easily centered on the marked workpiece. The only means of securing the pivot plate to the workpiece is by using tape. For my tests, I used (4) pieces of 1” wide regular masking tape, which for the most part worked well enough when the workpiece extended out beyond the router’s base; however, after cutting out the circle of plywood from the larger square, subsequent concentric circular grooves with slightly lesser radius tended to tug the tape outward. The reason being that more than half the weight of the router was hanging out over the edge of the workpiece. The end result being the tape didn’t hold fast the pivot plate to the workpiece allowing the .25” diameter steel pin to develop a slight wobble with each rotation of the router. Also, the repeated circular movement of the router around the taped down pivot plate caused the tape to chafe and separate from the workpiece. One rather sorry looking work around was to use a 4-pound counter weight.
The RA1054 is advertised as “Features precision fine adjustment control”, and while that is true in the context of straight cuts using the edge guide, it does not apply when cutting circles and arcs. Even if the RA1054 could make precision fine adjustment control akin to the micrometer-like feature of the edge guide when cutting circles and arcs, the variances introduced by the pivot plate’s movement lower my expected tolerances in precision.
The advertising for the RA1054 said “All in One: Includes router guide, pivot plate, dust extraction hood, vacuum hose adapter, attachment hardware”. I was most happy to think that the customary mess that for me has always come from using the router was finally going to be reigned in; however, as it turned out, the dust extraction hood, vacuum hose adapter and attachment hardware are only applicable when using the RA1054 as an edge guide.
The advertising for the RA1054 also says “The router guide quickly and easily converts into circle guide for making arcs and circles up to 32 inch in diameter” but it fails to mention that the smallest circle that the RA1054 is capable of making is about 10” in diameter.
The fine adjustment guide’s pivot plate hole, intended to be facing away from the router, results in a minimum radius of 5” as measured from the center of the pivot plate to the center of the router bit. Trouble arises when you need to cut circles with a radius of less than 5”. So instead of sending the RA1054 back to Amazon for a refund, I made my own circle guide using the guide rods and the fine adjustment guide.
Making this small circle cutting guide provided an opportunity to test out the edge guide features of the RA1054 including the most welcomed dust extraction hood.
Once again, my original high expectations for the RA1054 faded while using it. The design for the use of the dust hood doesn’t account for the guide plates, those pieces of plastic which ride along the edge of the workpiece, to be adjusted to be close to the router’s base. This may not have any impact while working with wood 0.75” thick, but when working with material less than 0.5” thick, this becomes problematic.
The gap between the base plate of the router and the top edge of the guide plate would be mitigated by loosening the guide plate screws and making the necessary adjustment of the guide plates’ location, if not for the ABS plastic dust hood.
The chore of loosening the screws is further complicated by the type of fastener that Bosch has chosen. First, I tried using a Phillips screwdriver, then a straight slotted screwdriver before going through both my metric and imperial hex key Allen wrenches.
No tool or screw driver that I had really fit very well into the screw heads. Eventually, I found that a specialized Torx T-25 driver bit (6-pointed star) worked best and I believe should have been included with the purchased kit. Still, after trying to reduce the gap, the closest I could get was within 0.11”. If your material is 0.25” thick, things can get a little dicey.
The other aspect of poor design of the dust extraction hood in this particular application with the edge guide and the RA1166 plunge base, becomes evident with its increased distance from the cuts that are made. The advertising says “Versatile: The Bosch RA1054 Router Guide adds to the versatility of Bosch routers as the guides cut along the work piece or up to 8 inches in from edge”, and while I completely agree that the RA1054 is versatile, enough so that Dewalt and other routers apparently can use it, the dust hood does little good when it’s not close to the source of the chips.
I’m thinking that a better solution for customers that purchased the 1617EVSPK (and others using the RA1166 Bosch plunge base) would have been for Bosch to have included the dust hood specifically designed for the RA1166 plunge base that attaches to directly to the base; i.e. part number 2608190038. Similarly, customers trying to utilize the RA1054 on their particular router model could be given a choice of dust hoods commensurate to their need.
The RA 1054 Bosch Deluxe Router Guide has without question considerable room for improvement, but at the end of the intended project of the Thien Separator build, and only with the home made circle cutting jig, it allowed me to get the job done better than without it. As previously mentioned, I purchased this product and the Bosch 1617EVSPK Combo Kit from Amazon. That was a month ago. Much of the text written for this review was done while I was making the Thien Separator. Before posting this review on Amazon, I wrote to Bosch asking them through their website's Contact Us online web form where I could send the (attached) PDF to them for review. That was more than a week ago and still no response. If I ever hear back from Bosch, I'll update this thread.