router strength and type - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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router strength and type

A beginner's deliberations:
I am interested in purchasing my first router and would like it to do as much as possible. I do not have a table saw. The basics are cutting rabbets, dados and shaping edges.
My question is if a 900 watt machine (1.25 hp) is strong enough for doing this work on maple and oak as well as pine. I thought that this would be a good size to learn on and there are models available here (Israel) that can be purchased as plunge and fixed sets. I would also like to be able to attach it easily to a table.
From 900 watts there is a big jump in sets like this to 1600-1800 watts. I am concerned that these big routers would be over doing it for me.
Thanks very much,
Mo
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 03:29 AM
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You can't have one router for all operations......

The 1.25 HP you mention is the smallest and is a good choice for edge profiles, but won't do well on dados. The mid size routers from 1.75 Hp to 2.5 HP will do all but the heaviest panel raising with large cutters and is what I recommend when starting out. Later, get the small palm router 1.25 HP as the second in your router line up. Finally for use in a table setup, and for raising panels with 3" cutters, the 3.25 HP family will be the last one you need. The midsize can also be used in the table with perfectly good results, just not for the largest cutters.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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about 2.5 hp

Makita makes a plunge router of about 2.5 hp. It's the RP2301. It's a pretty heavy machine, but looks like it has all of the other qualifications.
Can a plunge router like this be hooked up to a table?
Is this big enough to surface a butcher block table that I would like to glue up?
Is this too big for running around the edges of projects?
These machines are very expensive here, costing about 3x the US price. I add, shipping, customs and the fact that I need 220 volt. A Bosch GMF1600 CE kit would run me over $900 including a local warranty.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 04:25 AM
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You cant have one router for ALL applications, but you can have one router for ALMOST all applications. A router in the 2hp/1200w range will do pretty much everything you ask of it. Its not as maneuverable as a palm router, and doesnt have the same 'oomph' to run something like a raised panel bit that the big boy 3hp+ routers do, but itll handle pretty much anything. Worst case scenario is you take a lower depth of cut when making a dado.

Dont fear the tool either, not overly much. A small router will be just as dangerous as a larger one, in fact theres an argument to be made that with less mass and a smaller base the smaller router is more likely to get away from you if the bit catches on the work. Pay attention to what youre doing and how youre cutting, make basic safety precautions and you wont notice a difference between a 1/4" bit in a palm router and a 1/4" bit in a 3hp router. The bits are the hazardous part, a big old 3" diameter panel raising bit is a bit more dangerous no matter what you run it in
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 11:08 AM
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Moshe,

I'm very sorry the routers are so expensive! How do you handle using a 110V tool with 220? Do you have a chance of buying used?

I believe the router you mention is 3 1/4HP, no? If so, it would be too big for your application.

Regarding the 1.25HP you mention, I have such a router, (DW611), and I will say although it does have surprising power, dados, rabbets, etc. would still be a heavy task. That said, lack of power can be over come by making multiple passes, so it is still a possibility - up to a point. Long term, no.

If at all possible, I would recommend buying a kit (plunge and fixed base). This way the fixed base can be left mounted to the table, just the router motor removed and used in the plunge for hand use.

Several brands of 2 1/4HP any would serve you well. Since I am pretty partial to DeWalt I think the 2 1/4HP combo is a very good choice (DW618PKB).



Good luck with your search!

Robert
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 12:06 PM
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Sadly, you may find that buying a 1.25hp router will leave you wanting more power. The big units are expensive but they deliver when power is needed for hardwoods.

I've got a Porter Cable 3.25hp that is a monster and will deal with anything I throw at it. The drawback is it's super heavy, and wouldn't recommend it for hand use, if it's going into a table you won't regret it. I'm fortunate to have been collecting tools for 15 years and have 3 different routers, I've got a Dewalt 2 1/4hp that I started out with that is a great comprise between power and usability and would highly recommend something in this power range. Also, I've got a small ridgid trimmer for laminates etc.

IMO spend a bit more and get a 2-2.5hp and you will be much happier in the long run.

Cheers
Mike
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 05:12 PM
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There are other considerations. Please keep in mind that my experiences are in the US, where we still use Imperial measurements, but sometimes we mix in metric, just for the challenge:

* Router Bits are Expensive, too. If routers cost three times as much in Israel, then router bits probably cost three times as much, too. Remember to budget for router bits.

* There are Two Popular Router Bit Collet and Shank Sizes:
There are two common sizes for router bit shanks here in the US - 1/4 inch and 1/2 shanks. Routers come with one or more collets, see below. You can also find 3/8 inch and 8 mm collets in the US, but they are uncommon, and rarely used. You can also find adapter sleeves.

I do not know if they use the same router bit shank sizes in Israel and other metric countries. The router collet should be a perfect match for the router bit shank.

-> Be careful to know your router collet sizes and match the router bits accordingly.

* Mid-Size Routers Come with Two Collets, but Compact Routers Support Only a Small Collet.
The mid-size routers with 2 horsepower (and up) come with two collets: 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch. The smaller ~1 horsepower compact routers come with one collet for 1/4 inch shanks. You cannot buy a 1/2 inch collet for compact routers. Trying to adapt a compact router to use a 1/2 inch shank router bit would be dangerous.

1/2 inch shank router bits are better. They vibrate less and make smoother cuts. Some larger router bits are only available with 1/2 inch shanks.

Many router bit profiles come in both 1/4 and 1/2 inch shank versions. Sometimes you must choose between a 1/4 inch shank bit that will fit any router, versus a 1/2 inch shank bit that may cut smoother, but won't fit in a compact router.

* Router Accessories
You will also want to budget for a few router accessories.
(1) Guide bushings can be useful. They come in a standard 1-1/4 inch size with a screw on ring to hold them in place, but some routers need adapters to fit them.
(2) Edge guide. Your router may come with a simple one that is good enough.
(3) Base plates. You can make your own easily enough.
(4) Router table. You can make crude ones or complex ones or buy commercial ones at high cost.
(5) Etc. There are more router gadgets than budgets allow.

* Recommendations:
Ideally, I would want three routers, and would recommend buying them in this order:
(1) Mid-size router with 1/4 and 1/2 inch collets and fixed and plunge bases.
(2) Compact router with 1/4 inch collet with fixed and plunge bases.
(3) Large router motor base or large router permanently mounted in a router table.
(4) Water-cooled spindle motor built into

To start, you would use the mid-size router #1 for everything. I would look for one that has a built-in "lift", which means a hole in the base for a crank handle to raise and lower the router when it is mounted under a router table. It won't be as good as a true router lift, but it is better than adjusting the router from below.

It will be a little heavy and awkward for edge trimming and other uses where a compact router is convenient, but it will do the job nicely.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-16-2020, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your helpful thoughts and suggestions.

I can import 110 volt machinery for a bit less, but my understanding is that the electronics do not work properly on transformers due to the difference in Hz. I can bring from Europe, but I would not have a warranty here for local repairs. From what is available in this mid range in Israel I've come up with a:

Bosch GOF1250 (1250 watts) plunge router 7.92 lbs
Dewalt D621K (1100 watts) plunge router 6.82 lbs
Bosch GMF1600CE (1600 watts) 12.76 lbs with a two base set

I am wondering if the Bosch 1600 is too heavy for regular trimming work. If so, I would go toward the Bosch 1250 if the plunge base can be attached to a table fairly easily. The Bosch 1600 is a bit large, but should easily handle most work.

Router bits here work on the same sizes. They can be imported via Amazon or Ebay with reasonable shipping and import costs or purchased here at a premium.

Your comments are appreciated.
Thanks.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-17-2020, 05:23 AM
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I would go with the DeWalt. I like the adjustment mechanism on the DWs

If a combo kit is available, again, I highly recommend it.

Robert
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-17-2020, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moshe Kwart View Post
Makita makes a plunge router of about 2.5 hp. It's the RP2301. It's a pretty heavy machine, but looks like it has all of the other qualifications.
Can a plunge router like this be hooked up to a table?
Is this big enough to surface a butcher block table that I would like to glue up?
Is this too big for running around the edges of projects?
These machines are very expensive here, costing about 3x the US price. I add, shipping, customs and the fact that I need 220 volt. A Bosch GMF1600 CE kit would run me over $900 including a local warranty.

Step up transformers are made that allow you to run 110 volt equipment of 220 volt. This may be something to consider if you may be purchasing additional equipment in the future. There is some loss in the process, but you would need to find someone who has knowledge of that.



George
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-17-2020, 06:32 AM
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You don't want a plunge base in a table ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moshe Kwart View Post
I can import 110 volt machinery for a bit less, but my understanding is that the electronics do not work properly on transformers due to the difference in Hz. I can bring from Europe, but I would not have a warranty here for local repairs. From what is available in this mid range in Israel I've come up with a:

Bosch GOF1250 (1250 watts) plunge router 7.92 lbs
Dewalt D621K (1100 watts) plunge router 6.82 lbs
Bosch GMF1600CE (1600 watts) 12.76 lbs with a two base set

I am wondering if the Bosch 1600 is too heavy for regular trimming work. If so, I would go toward the Bosch 1250 if the plunge base can be attached to a table fairly easily. The Bosch 1600 is a bit large, but should easily handle most work.

Router bits here work on the same sizes. They can be imported via Amazon or Ebay with reasonable shipping and import costs or purchased here at a premium.

Your comments are appreciated.
Thanks.

A plunge base has a spring loaded "return to zero" or fully down in the case of a table. You will have constant adjustment difficulty, over shooting your depth, or underestimating it while it trying to overcome the spring. You want a depth/height adjustment that is precise and easy to fine tune, since the height of the bit above the table is a critical adjustment. Some fixed base Porter Cable routers require that you unlock the motor and turn it to adjust the height. This allows for minute height adjustments. If you can, get a two base kit with what ever router you decide, not a plunge base only.


Weight won't matter when the router is under the table and supported in it's mount. Weight when hand held is also not that important because it presses down on the top of the workpiece to insure a constant depth of cut.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-17-2020, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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One last question

Thanks very much. I've received a lot of information here. This coming week I plan to try to see and feel the actual machines of interest that I have not seen.
110 volts on a transformer to 220 volts is a bit tricky today due to the electronics in many machines, such as constant speed, electronic speed control and soft start. I read that these features often do not work properly on a transformer as they also depend on other features that are not transformed along with the voltage such as hz cycles.
Based on what I've learned here, I won't expect to table mount a plunge router. Should I go for a model that is a single base, plunge only, I will wait for a later date and a second router for a table. My preference is a two base kit.

One last question:
Is a 1/2 inch, 2.25 hp, 1600 watt router enough for surfacing/flattening a glued up butcher block maple table top (coffee table size)? Or a surfacing a slap as a table top surface.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-17-2020, 12:12 PM
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Yes, if your system is 50 hertz and your router is 60 hertz, then there will be an impact. I remember that in Vietnam I ditched my electric razor and went to standard.


George
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-18-2020, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Just a final note on my router questions:
I purchased a Bosch 2.25hp, 1600 watt router with a plunge base and a stationery base a couple weeks ago. I have been learning how to use it and am very pleased. It is quite large and heavy, but does the job. It probably will not be the only router in the stable as I continue, but for an only router, it's what I need.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Best,
Mo
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-18-2020, 08:30 PM
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I would not stress over the power of the router. I have found HP ratings greatly vary between brands, and between old and new. I have 6 routers ranging from a palm router to 3hp plunge routers. Three of my routers are old school 1-1/2 hp Porter-Cables. I find I can do just about anything with these routers. What I find more necessary are the bases. I have standard, D' handle, and plunge bases. A bunch of base plates some perfect, some cannibalized. What is important, regardless of your router size, is that you do not get too aggressive with the cuts. I have easily gut 2-1/2" deep by 1/2" mortises for loose tenons in entry doors with ease with a 1 1/2 hp router.
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