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I'm new to woodworking and need a little advice. This pertains to hand routers. Does anyone know if router cutters are specific to brand or can you use lets say Craftsman router cutters with a Ryobi router? Any help would be appreciated. I actually should have also asked about a router that can be mounted on a router table. I hear that you have better control and better results with a router mounted to a table. As for which brand, I hear Dewalt is reliable and gives good service. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for all the responses so far!
 

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I'm new to woodworking and need a little advice. This pertains to hand routers. Does anyone know if router cutters are specific to brand or can you use lets say Craftsman router cutters with a Ryobi router? Any help would be appreciated.
Yes, they are standard. They will either be 1/4" or 1/2" shank bits, but many routers have colletts for both sizes included.
 

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You can use a bit with any shaft size that will fit your collet....usually 1/4" or 1/2", but there are some specialty size shafts, and mini 1/8". 1/2" shank is a lot stronger than 1/4", so I'd suggest 1/2" whenever possible if your router accepts 1/2".

It's worth noting that not all carbide bits are created equally...some are definitely better than others, and since they spin at > 20K rpms I try to avoid buying the cheapest ones I can find. On a tight budget I like MLCS, Woodline, Woodriver for bits that don't see a ton of use. My best bits are Whiteside, Eagle America, Infinity, and Freud....they cost more, but last longer, cut better and are worth having resharpened. I generally try to avoid bits from Sears, Skil, HF, or Ryobi if other choices are available.

It's also worth noting that larger diameter bits (> 1" diameter) should be slowed to control the outer tip speed, meaning that a variable speed router or a fixed speed router with a speed controller are necessary.
 

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router research

All the info given so far is correct. My input is about the router. You mention hand routers. To me that sounds like you are not planning to mount it in a table. So, in spite of the fact that bits with a 1/2" shaft are better I would get a small (1 hp) router for hand work. Such a router will only accept 1/4" bits, but it is lighter and much easier to handle. I recommend either a Bosch Colt or a Dewalt.

I have both but prefer the Dewalt. It has LEDs that help you see what is happening and it can be bought with both fixed and plunge bases.
 

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Jory said:
All the info given so far is correct. My input is about the router. You mention hand routers. To me that sounds like you are not planning to mount it in a table. So, in spite of the fact that bits with a 1/2" shaft are better I would get a small (1 hp) router for hand work. Such a router will only accept 1/4" bits, but it is lighter and much easier to handle. I recommend either a Bosch Colt or a Dewalt.

I have both but prefer the Dewalt. It has LEDs that help you see what is happening and it can be bought with both fixed and plunge bases.
Oh the DeWalt is a great choice. I tried 3 Colts and returned them all due to the collet not centering the bit. Ever. One was 12 thou out. The router worked great as a vibrator.

I picked up the Porter Cable version of the DeWalt. Can't see any situation where a router that size will ever need more than one speed. Liked the square side to the DeWalt base so I ordered one for mine. A light would be nice but PC didn't incorporate that into their look alike either.

I would say this router is a perfect fit for a mid sized router. But the best router ever made and one every shop should have two of is the Porter Cable 690 fixed base. Bar none, pound for pound the best router ever made.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 
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