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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to gather a little information on certain power tools for future purchases. One is the Craftsman router, model 27680, a 2 1/2 HP combo kit. What I'd like to know is has anyone used this in a table? Looking at it yesterday, it looks like even the plunge base could be used in a table and adjusted from above the table for height, due to a long threaded rod on it like the fixed base has. I'm also wondering if using the plunge base in a table and leaving it there will weaken the springs over time if I don't lower it back to its lowest setting when I'm finished with it. This seems common sense but I still wanted to ask. Completely unrelated to this, I have a pump shotgun I've owned for at least 16 years. It's remained fully loaded for most of that time and spends years at a time unused with the magazine spring compressed with shells in it. The spring has remained very springy and provides the needed tension in spite of this, so I just wondered if I'm worrying too much about the plunge base springs.
 

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The fixed base is the one to use in the table....I have two of these that both have seen table use. It's a great router, I'd pick up another in a heartbeat if I needed one

I do wish they still offered it with the d handle base, one of mine is a few years old model that came with it, and I'm a huge fan of that base.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I figured that but I was just hoping to keep the fixed base free. I already have two plunge routers so I wanted a fixed base to do edges and use with jigs for dadoes and grooves. This could be an excuse to get two of them. :)
 

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I use mine with the plunge base in the router table so I can adjust the height from above the table; it saves me from buying a lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It looks like both bases could be adjusted from above the table. With the plunge base it looks like I might not have to lock it though, depending on how prone the threaded rod is to turning on its own with vibration. Still this would be simpler to do than with the fixed base. The lock is on the opposite side from the threaded height adjusting rod so it would be secured from both sides. The only drawback is there's no vacuum attachment to the plunge router that I saw. Maybe there's one in the box. I need to go look at this router in person.
 

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Duane....just an FYI....a lot of the stores don't carry that particular one in stock. If you were interested....I'd consider selling the fixed base from mine. It's brand new never been used. Make me an offer if you'd like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I appreciate the offer, and you may be right. My Sears has a display but they were out of stock. I have another Sears within reasonable driving distance. The biggest thing is, I really want things set up so I don't have to switch bases all the time. In other words, I need three routers at least, one to stay in a table, one to stay set up as a plunge router, and one to stay set up as a fixed base. I have a pretty good plunge router. Wouldn't be as good as the one I'm asking about here, but it's still strong, it's a Craftsman 17543, 11 amp, rated at 2 HP though I think that's a stretch. I'm sure plunging into hard oak would be easier with the 27680. But if I stick with the one I have as a plunge, then I guess I need two more. Definitely the 27680 for a table, and either one more for freehand use, or a 02768, which is a 2 HP, 12 amp model with a fixed base.

It probably wouldn't be a big deal to swap bases around but for some reason I just see that as a hassle and don't want to do it. To the point I'm willing to buy three separate routers to keep from doing it.
 

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I have a craftsman router its a 12 amp, and 12.25 hp but also has a plunge base and the digital speed selector. I am usually the first to suggest avoiding craftsman but this router has done me well. Ive used it mounted to the underside of my workbench and am in the process of building a table and sled for it. I would suggest going with the plunge base and the digital selector.
my model:

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-12.0...p-00927669000P?prdNo=7&blockNo=7&blockType=G7
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The one I have now is identical to that except not digital, and 1 amp less in power. Curiously it's still rated at 2 HP. After doing the math, even with full 125 volts and full current draw, it's not physically capable of achieving 2HP. Still a good router though. Seems very potent and plows through wood easily with sharp bits. I've never had it bog down at all, but some of that could be me taking my time and making multiple passes when I feel it's needed.

I think I'm going to stick with the 27680 as my choice. It's the strongest of the Craftsman routers, comes highly recommended by those who own it, and is affordable. It has both bases too. I'd LOVE to get two of them but if one router is all I get then it will live in a table so I'd never see the side of the motor where the digital panel is on yours. That would make it hard to set the speeds without removing the motor all the time. The 27680 doesn't have that set up so it would be a bit easier to adjust.

Thanks for the suggestion though. It's cool that you can see exactly what RPM you're running. Takes the guesswork out of it.
 

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I have a 27680, very nice combo kit. I reach for it most of the time unless I'm using my router table were I have a 3 1/4 hp porter cable . I recently talked with a man that owns a large cabinet shop and he claims that all he uses and the craftsman out last all others. I have a 3 1/4 Bosch, and 2 table mounted porter cables. Anything I do by hand I prefer the craftsman
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Well I tried one of the new model Craftsman routers today. I'm going to have to eat a healthy helping of crow after this. Some guys here swear by buying higher end branded tools over Craftsman. I've been one to argue that Craftsman is good stuff, and some is, but my router experience has left me doubting wanting any more of the Craftsman routers no matter what the model number.

I didn't get the 27680. I bought the weaker version, the 02768. It is a 2 HP, 12 amp router, fixed base only, but the fixed base is identical in design to the 27680, and a huge improvement over my 17543 as far as adjustments go. I have wanted two of these, one for use in a small portable table and one for freehand use. Then I wanted the 27680 model for use just spinning raised panel bits in a larger table. I figured I'd start with one of the smaller ones so I got the 02768.

I actually really like the design of the router and all the little details that seem to make it nice. Things like a rubberized motor cover and adjusting knob. 1/4 turn levers for tightening an edge guide in place, instead of multiple turn set screws. These little touches seemed to make it very nice, and it's cosmetically appealing too.

My biggest beef with the design was the fragile, thin plastic, two piece design of the vacuum port. Shop vac hoses are stiff and seem to have a mind of their own sometimes. There's no way the vac port would hold up to more than a few uses before beginning to break.

This wasn't the complete deal breaker though. I powered it up and the motor sounded like it had dry bearings inside it. Not only that but the 12 amp motor with the speed setting at 6 was slower than my older 11 amp 17543 router with its speed setting on 4. There had to be something wrong. So I went back to exchange it for the other one they had but I wanted to turn it on first before leaving the store. They would not allow this before I had already purchased it. The clerk also acted like he didn't believe me about it, and even said he doubted the others would sound any different. That's basically just saying I don't know what I'm talking about. I wasn't having that so I said forget it, I'll take a refund. He started to do it but suddenly ran over and got the display and brought it back and plugged it in. It fired up and sounded normal, but with a slight whirring noise. Not like mine was though. It also ran a whole lot faster.

So then he makes himself look like a complete jerk and finally opens the other new one he said he couldn't do before. Now the display did not have a collet and I had already took the collet off of the one I was returning to eliminate it as a source of noise, being loose. The boxed one had it on so I told him to remove it for safety, so it didn't fly out. Well, the nut came off but the sleeve stuck in the shaft. We'd need pliers to get it out. I said never mind, I wasn't going to risk damaging the sleeve and having a burr on it for a bit to fly out later. The whole thing was a hassle. I was done.

I'm not so aggravated with two trips to Sears over this. What aggravates me is knowing they're the people I have to depend on for my warranty, basically, since it's literally THEIR product, and I almost always get somebody who acts like I'm the one who did something wrong, or doesn't know enough to make the call on an item being good or bad when it was very clear that I knew a great deal more about the use of the tool than the guy who was (not so much) helping me. I've bought a lot, and I mean A WHOLE LOT, of Craftsman tools through the years, even worked there for 2 years myself, and have spent hundreds of hours using these tools. Normally I can tell if the tool is junk, just so so, or outright good before leaving the store, except for the electrical part. Have to try it to know. So what looked like a solid router turned out to have a bum motor. When I returned it, I didn't like AT ALL feeling like the return might be based on just whether that guy was convinced or not.

So, I'm probably going to be looking elsewhere for a router. The Bosch 1617evs is made just like the Craftsman for adjustments. Don't know about the vac port yet, I'll have to research it. Already been to Lowe's but their display didn't have one on it at all so I still don't know.

This sucks because other than the vac port I really really liked the design of that router. But even with a one piece solid vac port like my 17543 has, the motor issue would have still happened, and the deal breaker was the runaround I got when I went back. I'm beginning to come around to the mindset of paying more for a better made tool, and having a company stand behind its product, not question my knowledge on it before believing me on it working or not.

My thinking on that last part is, I use the tools near daily and my knowledge of their use is solid. Not all, but the vast majority of the salesmen there don't use the tools at all, and only know what they've picked up through conversations about them. So in my mind, suggesting that the router is actually fine and won't be any different than another new one is insulting. He even admitted he hadn't used a router himself since about 2008. He was probably acting on training he's been taught, to try to prevent shoppers from pulling a fast one, and having worked in retail for 12 years previously, I know something about that. But I also learned to tell the difference in people too, and more than a few tactful ways to deal with the situations when I wasn't sure. Since these employees are who I have to deal with when I have problems like this, and this is twice in a row now having this happen (another product last fall) then I'm not so sure about Sears anymore.
 

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So a few thoughts I have after reading your post.

1. I've been using the dust port for a couple years on mine and it's still in good shape. It's surprisingly durable.

2. I don't disagree the one you got probably had a bad motor. It happens....you mass produce anything ones going to be bad here or there.

3. The collets stick in almost all the routers I've ever used when they haven't been taken in and out. I recently sold a 690 that I couldn't get the collet out of for anything. It was stuck on permanent 1/4 duty.

4. Don't let a crappy minimum wage clerk sour you on a good product. The online order packer from most online places are probably just as unlikely to be helpful.

5. I have both the 27680 and a now discontinued 2.25 hp version as well as a 2 hp model. The quality of the 2.25 and 2.5 hp models seems much better than my 2 hp router. So if it were me, I wouldn't let a lower end model sour you on the top model. It's like comparing a ford focus to a ford raptor. Both are fords....but likely very different customer reviews.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I thought about that but it seems anytime I have to return something to this Sears (only one around without a long drive) I get a hassle. The higher end one might be better.

The collet being stuck is likely a result of how they're packed. I've seen two come out of a box now and they both were adjusted as low as they'd go when packed. The collet protrudes through the base and the router sits on it this way. Through shipping, stocking, and being moved around in the store, it's own weight has jammed it in solid. I didn't want to buy it and take it home, fiddle with it, maybe have a problem and need to do another dreaded return again. The guy didn't want to cooperate at all either, so it was buy it and risk a return, maybe being told I can't return it, or figure it out in the store. The higher end routers, they don't apparently stock (seems you told me this before) so I sure wasn't going to order it and take a chance on the same thing happening.

I'm glad you told me the 2 HP isn't as good as the 2.5 Hp model. That might make me think about it some more. What exactly is not up in quality? The displays looked nearly identical mechanically, comparing the fixed bases.

You like the vac port? Mine felt beyond cheap like just assembling it might break it. The cylindrical part just had two tiny plastic prongs that had to flex a good bit to twist it on, and actually stay partially flexed for it to hold to the shield. If one breaks, it falls off, and it's under constant pressure without a hose to pull on it. I considered just super gluing it but that would make removing it not possible then. Even the shield part flexed from light pressure and only had one screw to hold it on. My shop vac hose would have broke this easily when using it freehand for edges and dadoes. I was expecting something like the thicker one piece vac port with two screws holding it like my other Craftsman has. It doesn't flex at all.
 

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So the bases on mine look similar, but aren't interchangeable between the 2hp and 2.5. Now to be fair my 2 is a couple years old so the new 2 hp Coukd be different. That said....my 2.5hp is the current model.

As to the collets, there's a snap ring that if not installed allows the two parts to come apart separate. I'm trying to remember if they came assembled or not. Once I put a bit in, tightened the collet and then loosened the collet it's never got stuck again. Your probably right that it's just a matter of packing


The dust port....while it's not the design I would have used...it works. It's never broke on me. While the mounting is a bit cheesy, it's quick to pop in and out when I want to which is a plus.
 

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As to the quality difference.....the plunge base seems smoother, the motor has always been a bit quieter and smoother on startup than the 2 hp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The 2 HP I bought actually would swap bases with the 2.5 HP in the store. I tried their display one day a couple of weeks ago. I bet you have a 2 HP like I have, that has a different adjustment than the 2.5 HP does. Mine is the old type where the motor has a set of straight gear teeth fixed to its side and can be (supposedly) raised up and down this way. The new ones have an up/down adjust like the Bosch 1617 does.

That all said, that's why I wondered if the 2.5 HP router would be any better than the 2 HP I returned since they're so similar. The bases are identical except one looks to be magnesium and the other aluminum. The reviews on the 2 HP seem to suggest there's been more than a few with bad motors. I need to look at the ones for the 2.5 HP.

Also, the one I bought was just a fixed base only. It had no plunge base. Seems there's also another 2 HP, but in a combo pack, that's basically the same thing.
 

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Ya know I don't think my 2hp had the gear on it, but I can't remember why I didn't think it would fit.....

I know your a bit sour after the headache you had....but I've yet to find anyone who didn't like the 2.5 hp ( or previous 2.25 hp) routers.

I think in the end if you got something else you'd like it fine, but you'd have spent more money than you needed too.
 
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