View Full Version : First time router.
01-01-2006, 01:36 PM
Afternoon all. I am looking around at buying a router. This would be my first one. The only problem is that i have never used one before. Should I just read some books and just learn to use it? And what would be the best router to buy for the first time?
01-01-2006, 02:06 PM
Before buying a router I would recomend reading up on them a bit. That way you have a better understanding of how you would be possitioning your hands and such. Then you could shop for one haveing a better idea of what to look for.
01-01-2006, 02:43 PM
My first router, I bought used.
I paid $50.00 for it. I thought I was getting rooked, but it was from a friend. He assured my that it was a REALLY really good router. He told me about what a router does and a little bit about how to use it. At the time I knew absolutely NOTHING about routers or what to do with a router.
At first I used it a bit for corner rounding some stuff, but mostly it just sat in the metal box it came in. For a long time 4-6 years I even forgot I had it. I was not even doing any woodworking at all.
Now I am really glad I have it. I have had it for about 10 years now. I've used it more in the last two years than in the previous 8 years.
Not trying to say you should buy it blind like I did. I do beleive you should research a little before buying.
Some key elements in routers
1) Make sure it can hold a 1/2 chank
2) Variable speed is real nice to have, but not mandentory.
3) 2 hp is a nice all around size, but a 1 to 1-1/2 is also a nice router.
01-01-2006, 03:10 PM
>1) Make sure it can hold a 1/2 chank
To me, this is a key detail for someone who knows nothing about routers. I had no idea about 1/4" and 1/2" bits and didn't even look at the collet. My first router only had a 1/4" shank and I felt very limited right away when I learned about the larger sized ones. It was quickly replaced with a Milwaukee 5615 - a 1 3/4 hp with both 1/4 and 1/2" collets. It's my current workhorse router, i haven't really done anything big enough to bog it down (large raised panel bits and such).
Knowing what I know now, I would really like a model with "soft start" - just because it scares me to go from 0 to 15,000 RPM in half a second. Especially handheld. I put a speed control on mine to sort of simulate that feature. Usually you can't use speed controls on a soft-start router so keep that in mind, too.
Good luck with your search!
01-01-2006, 04:56 PM
Thanks for the advice. I did not know that about the 1/2 and the 1/2 inch collet size. I had seen some farely inexpensive routers that said 1/4 inch but did not have 1/2 inch. Another quick question. Should I buy a plunge or stationary router? Or do they make them a combo unit?
01-01-2006, 05:00 PM
Porter cable has a REALLY really nice combo set that often times goes on sale for $199.00
It is - I think a 690 series. It has both the plunge and fixed bases.
That is a really nice router set.
01-01-2006, 05:12 PM
I have a 690 Porter cable with 1/4 and 1/2 colects so you can use the 1/4 or 1/2 bits in one router I love it but you would do better with the combo kit that comes with a plunge and fixed base. You use the fixed base for mostly edging your boards using a roundover bit or some other decorative edge. The plunge base is for sign making and daddos if you have a certain place in the wood say you wanted to start a daddo cut but don't what to go all the way to edge you set your router to the depth of cut you want and start cutting where you want.
01-01-2006, 06:41 PM
As long as someone else brought up Porter Cable 690s. I have used them for nearly 20 years and still use my first one. About 90% of the time I use the D-handle trigger switch base and the plunge base the rest of the time while a fixed base remains attached to a router table.
Soft start seems like a neat feature but to me more fancy electronics on tools will mean more trips to the service depot which I have not yet used. After spending 30+ years in designing and manufacturing electro-mechanical and micro-processor controlled stuff I still prefer simple on-off switches on my tools.
01-01-2006, 06:57 PM
I just got my first router about a month ago. What I have is a Black & Decker 1 3/4hp plunge router with a 1/4in collet. It doesn't have variable speed. I would have liked something with a little more power, and variable speed. There just wasn't much selection around where I live, and I wanted it right away. I'm just learning to use it. So far, it seems that it will be adequate for what I need. The best advice I got, as far as learning to use it, was to get cheap pine and just practice alot. You can read all the books you want, but you have to just use the tool and get used to the way it works.
I love the smell of fresh sawdust!
01-01-2006, 07:35 PM
IMHO, I think Poplar would be better than Pine...
Poplar is more uniform in grain than Pine and would
be better on the bits...
Happy New Year!
01-01-2006, 07:54 PM
I have the PC 690 kit with fixed and plunge attachments. It is a very nice piece of machinery. It gives you the feeling that you are holding a fine piece of machinery when you use it. I highly recomend the kit as your first router purchase.
Jim_J Lazy 3
01-01-2006, 09:48 PM
I concur with all of the above, and offer this;
"Router" magazine is a neat read for beginners and pro's alike. Lots of stuff about jigs and such to expand the use of the router. Personally, I resisted using one for 10 years, they just scarred the h**l out of me, then... I table mounted and old 690, and I've been "hooked" ever since. I actually own 9 routers now (Separate routers allow me to dedicate particular bits to particular tasks,i.e. dovetailing, beading, v-grooving,etc)because setup time can be exhausting when you need to make repeat cuts on 2 or 3 cabinet jobs at once. One particulr router stands out above all the rest though, IMHO, the Hitatchi M12V is the best plunge out there. 3+hp,1/4"/1/2" collets, 'soft start' and variable speed, comes with guide,a 1/2" straight bit, and works equally well as table mount or free-style. Available for under$200.00 at places like HD, and they last! FYI, as comparison, I've used Milwalkie,PC,Bosch,Freud,Dewalt,Sears,B&D, and Ryobi routers. The ones that have stood the test of time for me??... P/C (690's),Hitatchi M12V, and an old,old 1/3hp B&D that I dedicate to a 3/8" rabbiting bit. Got a new Hitatchi 2 1/4hp fixed for Christmas but haven't used it yet. Be careful, use GOOD eye and ear protection, and hang on tight... routing is FUN.......Jim@JLazy3
"The only thing certain in this life is... uncertainty!"
01-02-2006, 12:07 AM
I concur with the above users about buying a combo kit.
There are several basic 1 1/2 routers that come in a "kit", which includes the router (motor), a fixed base, a plunge base, and usually a case, all for about $200. I have the Bosch 1617EVSK but there are very similar models available from Porter-Cable, DeWalt, and maybe one or two others.
It's a little more expensive than just buying "a router", but it will definitely pay off in the long run. Even if you don't start with a router table, it won't be long before you'll need/want one, and it's quite convenient to simply leave the fixed base in the router table and move the motor between the two bases as needed. It's also quite a bit cheaper to buy these as the "kit" instead of buying the router and adding a base later.