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post #1 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Plunge Router

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the 2.5hp plunge router from harbor freight?(http://www.harborfreight.com/power-t...ter-37793.html

I have a few craftsman fixed based routers that work nicely in the table, but I just recently started making M&T joints and think a plunge router would be nice to cut my mortises.

This router is 2.5hp, which is nice, and it seems it has favorable reviews on the site and on some harbor freight tool review sites. My concern is longevity, i don't necessarily expect it to last 10 years, but I would like it to not die in a year haha.

My main however is cost, I cannot afford a new decent plunge router ($180-$300 range), and after months of searching patiently on craigslist I haven't seen anything worthy. So, what do you think, take the risk, or continue to search around?

Thanks everyone!
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post #2 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 03:42 PM
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Well, I see no one has answered so I will give you my thoughts. I have never bought any power tools from HF and I stay away from a HF router. With a hand tool turning at 12,000 plus rpm spinning a piece of steel designed for cutting I want to know what I am buying. There are a lot of good name brand router out there that you can find on sale and that will last for years. Just my two cents.
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 04:02 PM
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I am not a Harbor Freight hater by any means. My shop is filled with HF tools and I am happy with the overwhelming majority of them. Having said that, HF routers scare me. Just from a fit and finish perspective, things don't seem well assembled, fastened tightly... And with top quality routers available on the cheap, I got lucky and got one of my Hitachi KM12VC routers for $99.00, cheaping out on the Harbor Freight router just isn't worth the risk...

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post #4 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 06:15 PM
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I bought my porter cable from craigslist for that much money and it included both plunge and fixed bases. Keep an eye out for a good deal.
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post #5 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,

Yea, I'm definitely keeping my out for used stuff, but it just doesn't seem to come around in my area. It's frustrating because I just want to make some sawdust, but waiting for craigslist and good deals is wearing on me.

I've tried cutting the mortises by hand, and they come out ok. The tenons were better than the mortises, but man making mortises by hand is slow work haha.

My other thought was to get a DP from harbor freight and use that for the mortises and then just chisel them square. I know many guys on here have had relative success with them and I could always use a drill press anyway.
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post #6 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 09:36 PM
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FWIW, have you considered a hollow chisel mortiser? I got mine NIB for $75.00, I think if I had bought it new with the 20% off coupon, it would have been like $134.00... Good machine, funky hold down, but clamps, or in my case a replacement table with T track fix that...

The Skil 1830 plunge / fixed base router kit, at least near me goes for $108.00 at Lowes. Or $112.00 with free shipping from Amazon.com... That is a FAR better router than that HF one you were looking at...

Steer clear of B&D routers, and while the Ryobi's are decent little routers, they tend to only have 1/4" collets, you REALLY want one that will handle 1/4 and 1/2" bits...

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com

Last edited by dbhost; 09-21-2011 at 09:40 PM.
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post #7 of 23 Old 09-21-2011, 10:33 PM
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I'm also far from an HF hater, but there are too many other excellent choices that can be affordable to take the risk with an HF router.

DBHost's suggestion for the Hitachi KM12VC is excellent...it can drop as low as $100, but is more commonly found in the $140-$200 range.

Here's a nice deal on a Ridgid combo kit for $159 shipped.

Even the Craftsman, Skil, and Ryobi plunge routers would have more appeal to me than the HF. The newer Craftsman routers by Chervon get good reviews overall...their 12 amp plunge/fixed combo kit is currently on sale for $103.49..variable speed, soft start, accepts standard PC bushings. 10 amp plunger is $72.

Buying refurbished or used can shave costs too.

Last edited by knotscott; 09-23-2011 at 03:47 PM. Reason: nuther router on sale...
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 08:11 AM
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I have a fair amount of HF tools however I don't buy their stuff for precision or longevity. I'd stay away from their router. Amazon and Woodcraft both have some good deals on routers from time to time. Good luck, Mike
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 09:27 AM
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My opinion on the HF router is based on very little use, I bought it in February but have only used it a few times. It works fine for what little I do but it does appear a little cheaply made and mine was missing the collet adapter, had a hassle and a 11 day wait to get another in the mail. If you are going to use it regularly I would just spend the extra and get something else.
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 09:43 AM
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Also, don't be afraid to shop craigslist outside your normal area and request shipping. I have gotten some great deals that way.
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 12:37 PM
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Speaking of harbor freight routers; has anyone taken a look at their new PC690 knock off?

http://www.harborfreight.com/2-horse...ter-68341.html

For $40 (after coupon) I'm really tempted to pick up one of these for table use. Next time I get over to the store I'll check out the fit and finish and see if it looks like a bargain.
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 02:09 PM
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Got an email today with this ; http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/208...paign=11IN09RL

Not sure if it's any good but similar price wise to the HF you were checking out.
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post #13 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks,

That brings up another question.....

How much HP do you need to plunge cut mortises? would 1.5-1.75 suffice, or do you have to go to 2hp and above?
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandres View Post
Speaking of harbor freight routers; has anyone taken a look at their new PC690 knock off?

http://www.harborfreight.com/2-horse...ter-68341.html

For $40 (after coupon) I'm really tempted to pick up one of these for table use. Next time I get over to the store I'll check out the fit and finish and see if it looks like a bargain.
Doesn't have variable speed so would be limited to single speed for very small diameter bits...not overly useful for table use.
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 02:28 PM
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Cutting mortises actually takes a bit of oomph.... The bit gets buried pretty deep in your workpiece. I have done it succesfully with 1.5 HP but the poor router was laboring hard... My 2.25 HP Hitach has no troubles at all... I suggested the Skil 1830 because, although that is a new model, I know a few guys with its predecessor, the 1825, and even though it has the Skil name attached to it, which is usually a bad sign, it seems to be a decent enough router...

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com
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post #16 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks db.
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post #17 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Woodworking View Post
Thanks,

That brings up another question.....

How much HP do you need to plunge cut mortises? would 1.5-1.75 suffice, or do you have to go to 2hp and above?
The HP ratings are misleading...the amperage rating of the motor is a better indicator of useable power output. Most 2hp routers are in the 11-13 amp range, which is what I'd suggest going with.
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post #18 of 23 Old 09-24-2011, 11:33 PM
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I picked up a used 3-1/4hp freud for $80.
Look around for good quality unit.
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post #19 of 23 Old 08-17-2013, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandres View Post
Speaking of harbor freight routers; has anyone taken a look at their new PC690 knock off?

http://www.harborfreight.com/2-horse...ter-68341.html

For $40 (after coupon) I'm really tempted to pick up one of these for table use. Next time I get over to the store I'll check out the fit and finish and see if it looks like a bargain.
I just got one of these. $50. less a 20% discount from Wood Magazine. For an extra $10.00 I got a 2 year extended warrenty. I did get the variable speed controller for $20. It is mounted permanently in my router table and will likely stay there. I have used it several times and it seems like an ok machine. so far.

Charlie
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post #20 of 23 Old 08-18-2013, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipperOfWood View Post
I just got one of these. $50. less a 20% discount from Wood Magazine. For an extra $10.00 I got a 2 year extended warrenty. I did get the variable speed controller for $20. It is mounted permanently in my router table and will likely stay there. I have used it several times and it seems like an ok machine. so far.

Charlie
Do you every get any use out of the extended warranties. I never get one on anything.
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