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Ok I finally bought the table saw, now it's time for the router.

What should I look for in a router?

What's the minimum hp to look for: 1 1/2? 1 3/4 or more?

Fixed base or Plunge base? What types of applications will I need a plunge for? Is a fixed base router with a plunge attachment ok?

What size collet? Just what does a collet do anyway?

Should I make my own router table or buy one? The ones I see advertised look cheap and not very stable.

I read in some of the other posts the Dewalt 616 with is a good all around router but just want to get some input into what I should be looking for.

Thanks in advance for answering my probably very stupid questions.
 

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Any question asked is a good question IMO...it's those you don't know the answer to and don't ask that are stupid!

There are a lot of good choices from many prominate names. Which to get really boils down to your preferences and what you want to do. There are a bunch of different features available. I look for different features in a table router than a handheld router.

For table use, variable speed is important to slow the rpm down for large bits. More power can be useful too for large bits. Above table features like above table bit changes, height adjust, height lock are nice in a table router. I prefer a router with a throat opening large enough to pass a 3.25" panel raising bit. 11-15 amps (2-3HP) is preferable in a table. The Freud FT-1700 and FT3000, Milwaukee 5625, PC7518, Bosch 1617 or 1619, and Triton are excellent table routers.

For hand use, the variable speed isn't as important, and power is less critical. (9-13 amps is sufficient). I'd look more for comfort and feel in your hands. There are loads of good hand routers...Milwaukee 5616, Bosch 1617, PC690, DW621, Makita, whatever you like.

A combo kit that includes two bases offers a lot of flexibility. The new Milwaukee kit is worth a long look IMHO. As are the Bosch and DeWalt kits. You're likely going to want two routers...one dedicated for table use, one for handheld. I don't use plunge very often, but YMMV.

Whichever you choose get one with a 1/2" collet. The collet holds the shaft of the bit. Most bits are avialable in 1/4" or 1/2" shafts...1/2" is stronger and should be first choice in most situations. A router with a 1/2" collet often includes a 1/4" collet too, or an adaptor, but you can't go from 1/4" to 1/2".

I've built a couple of router tables. It's a simple and inexpensive option, and you can tailor it to suit you, plus modify or upgrade it over time.

Here's my last two setups:
1b84239e.jpg GIlayout2.jpg
 

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