Question about selecting a router - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-10-2010, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Question about selecting a router

Hello,

I am new to woodworking. I am planning on buying a router to eventually get enough practice before I start making my own kitchen cupboards for my home.

I did a lot of reading up and it seems that all signs indicate that Festool Routers provide the best value for your money when it comes to quality and durability.

I don't want to throw money at an overkill (its for personal use), but at the same time I don't want to buy something that will fall apart after 1 year (because I dont want to spend the money twice). That being said, I have been looking at the Festool OF 2200 EB Router because it seems like a workhorse that will stick with me through thick and thin. However, the price is significantly higher than everything else I see.

So my goal is simple, learn routing and get a machine that is easy on the learning curve and one that is durable enough for me to make my own kitchen re-design and maybe a few other around the house projects.

Can someone recommend a router for me and a suitable table?

Also, what are some of the major things that I should be looking for when buying a router...i.e. what are some of the "must have" that should come with the box.

Thanks for your help folks.

DW
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-10-2010, 05:42 AM
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Porter Cable makes some pretty decent routers that cost a bit less than the Festool models and seem to last for a very long time. Hey, if they're good enough for Norm (who also can be seen with Bosch) then they should be good for the likes of me!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-10-2010, 06:42 AM
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Just my .002$.......Routers are somewhat disposable tools nowadays.I know theres a big difference in how a pro shop vs serious hobby vs homeboy(cpl uses per year)view this,so that would be one of the decisions.As a pro shop,where we'd run multiples,which means they get a slight break in usage.IOWs...three routers,each with a diff bit will usually outlive one router,bought three times.

Routers are alot of UMPH in a sm package.....sorta like a laptop vs big unit.As such we ask an awful lot of them,spreading their usage out(w/multiples)gives them a slight break.I'd get two PC's and feel pretty well armed.BW


PS and as soon as possible would be snaggin a sm laminate trimmer,we rarely do lam......they're just so dang handy.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-10-2010, 08:01 AM
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There will undoubtedly be some Festool fans out there, but it's highly debatable whether or not they represent the best value for a newbie planning on doing one kitchen, and perhaps some other hobby projects. They tend to be darn expensive compared to other excellent routers from Milwaukee, Freud, Bosch, PC, DeWalt, Makita, Hitachi, Triton, Craftsman, Ridgid, and others...there are many happy campers with every one of those brands.

Kitchen cabinets often means raised panel doors, if so, a powerful router with variable speed (VS) is what I'd look for....the VS is must because you'll need to slow down the speed of the big 3" panel raising bits. I'm also very fond of above table conveniences like a collet that extends through the table for easy one handed above table bit changes, above table height adjustments, and above table height lock....only the Freud FT1700 (13 amp), FT3000 (15 amp), and the two Triton routers (13 and 15 amp) provide all of those that I'm aware of. I've also got an excellent 15 amp Milwaukee 5625 that's a workhorse, but it only offers above table height adjustment, though a bent wrench can help with above table bit changes.

Preferred features for hand routing tend to be comfort, lightweight, and quieter noise levels. Since the desirable features for table routing and hand routing are different, many of us end up using multiple routers for those specific tasks. For the price of one nice Festool router, you can buy an excellent table router and an excellent hand router. My favorite hand routers are the Milwaukee 5615 & 5616, and Hitachi M12VC.

Good bits are also essential. My best bits are from Whiteside, Infinity, Freud, and CMT, but Amana and Eagle America also offer bits of comparable quality. For decent bargain bits I tend to lean toward MLCS, Holbren, Woodline, or Price Cutter...avoid the no name cheap bits.

Last edited by knotscott; 12-11-2010 at 09:29 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-10-2010, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Knotscott,

That was a very useful feedback. I will look into those models. About those 13 and 15A models, are they safe to run in my basement without tripping a cct breaker? Or are those big ones only for shop use?

Also, can you recommend a good table or does any router generally fit on any table?

Thank you,

DW









Quote:
Originally Posted by knotscott View Post
There will undoubtedly be some Festool fans out there, but it's highly debatable whether or not they represent the best value for a newbie planning on doing one kitchen, and perhaps some other hobby projects. They tend to be darn expensive compared to other excellent routers from Milwaukee, Freud, Bosch, PC, DeWalt, Makita, Hitachi, Triton, Craftsman, Ridgid, and others...there are many happy campers with every one of those brands.

Kitchen cabinets often means raised panel doors, if so, a powerful router with variable speed (VS) is what I'd look for....the VS is must because you'll need to slow down the speed of the big 3" panel raising bits. I'm also very fond of above table conveniences like a collet that extends through the table for easy one handed above table bit changes, above table height adjustments, and above table height lock....only the Freud FT1700 (13 amp), FT3000 (15 amp), and the two Triton routers (13 and 15 amp) provide all of those that I'm aware of. I've also got an excellent 15 amp Milwaukee 5625 that's a workhorse, but it only offers above table height adjustment, though a bent wrench can help with above table bit changes.

Preferred features for hand routing tend to be comfort, lightweight, and standard noise levels. Since the desirable features for table routing and hand routing are different, many of us end up using multiple routers for those specific tasks. For the price of one nice Festool router, you can be an excellent table router and an excellent hand router. My favorite hand routers are the Milwaukee 5615 & 5616, and Hitachi M12VC.

Good bits are also essential. My best bits are from Whiteside, Infinity, Freud, and CMT, but Amana and Eagle America also offer bits of comparable quality. For decent bargain bits I tend to lean toward MLCS, Holbren, Woodline, or Price Cutter...avoid the no name cheap bits.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-11-2010, 10:58 AM
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Just about any router you're able to purchase should run safely on a standard 120v circuit. The bigger guns (15 amp), might occasionally trip a breaker when pushed hard if the circuit's got other appliances drawing from it, and/or if the circuit isn't overly robust.

As far as table recommendations, I've built most of mine...the one I bought was a POS cheapie, so I'd guess the "you get what you pay for" rule would apply, but that rule has proven to be far from an absolute! Your odds of getting a good anything tend to improve as you spend more, but there's no guarantee...if you keep your eyes peeled long enough, great deals on just about everything eventually come along. If you're mechanical at all, it shouldn't be too difficult to fit most any router to most tables with a little thought...its often a matter of just drilling the sub bases.

It's hard to go too wrong with anything that remotely resembles this setup. I believe this one is from Rockler, but Freud, Woodcraft, Hartville, and many others will have something similar. The next step up are the cast iron tables. It's not difficult to build something like what's shown below.

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