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cibula11 03-01-2009 08:17 AM

Buying a Router
I need some advice on a router. I'm wanting one for "around the house" use. It won't be used extremely often, but I'd like to start some furniture building of some sort and was wondering what I should be looking for. I don't want to break the bank since this is my first one, but I'd like something that I could attach to a router table in the future. I've considered this one:

Craftsman 2 hp 10 amp Digital Router - Model 17517 at

Daryl in Nanoose 03-01-2009 08:26 AM

It certainly looks like a nice router, nice features, user friendly. It would probably do a nice job for around the house and in a table.

cibula11 03-01-2009 12:13 PM

Is a plunge router the way to go or do I need a fixed instead? I wasn't sure with attaching it to a table which one would be the better fit.

Daryl in Nanoose 03-01-2009 09:28 PM

Some like fixed and some like Plunge, I myself like the plunge better.

fuster 03-30-2009 12:01 AM

Buy a Porter Cable router. More aftermarket accessories available that fit that router than any other product on the market. It is probably the standard of the industry as far as retail consumer use. Porter Cable makes a nice package with a case that has a stationary router that has a base you can remove and put on the plunge base which comes with it. And it has plenty of power, and it will install on a number of aftermarket router tables because again, their base is an industry standard. My wife bought this for me several years ago, and it is great. I usually use the stationary router.

I also own one of their laminate routers.

I like to buy a good product and not have to buy another product again. I take my tools to the right place to have the motors serviced and cleaned periodically. A good electric tool with proper bearings and motor design will last most homeowners a lifetime with proper servicing. That is why I like the Porter Cable routers.

Debby36 03-31-2009 08:54 PM

I'm glad this topic came up. A router is the next tool I would like to purchase. You make the Porter Cable sound expensive. Where is it available, and is it cost prohibitive if you only want it for occasional use?

fuster 04-01-2009 12:57 AM

Well, I tried to post an answer to your question, and this web site erased it after giving an error message about a web link I tried to post.

I am not going to re-write that post.

You can buy a cheap router, made in China, probably. You will be doing what too many Americans are doing, giving jobs to Chinese instead of preserving ours here. And when it comes to tools, the American made tools like Porter Cable are far superior to anything the Chinese or Koreans could even think about making. You will end up throwing it out when it stops working, and cursing the day you bought it because the ergonomics are bad and it is hard to use and do anything accurately or as easily as you would like. When you pay someone a low wage to design a tool, you get something that is harder to use.

You can get a Porter Cable fixed base router for $139.00 at Lowe's, I just used Google Check Out to find it. They have many models, and that one is probably at the low end of the price range. There are many on line tool sellers who are reputable and you can shop around. Use Google Shopping to find the sellers, and use the ratings they list for the sellers. I have used several companies on the web, including Amazon, and eBay, to buy good tools.

Nestor_Kelebay 04-01-2009 11:37 PM

In my humble opinion, the correct answer to "what router should I buy" is:

"Don't buy a router. Buy a laminate trimmer instead."

Unless you're going to be routering profiles in hardwoods, then a laminate trimmer has more than enough power to do virtually everything you'll probably be doing with a router.

And, even though you aspire to building fine furniture, MOST of the time you'll be doing common repairs around the house instead, like mortising the edge of a door to fit a door hinge, or cutting a slot in some underlayment to replace some rotted wood.

And, the advantage of a laminate trimmer is that you can use it with one hand while you hold the workpiece steady with the other. A router weighs a ton and requires that you use both hands to hold and guide it.

If you're starting to do home repairs, you'll find a laminate trimmer much more handy to own than a full blown router.

I have a Porter Cable 730C laminate trimmer and it accepts the same collars for doing inlay work as Porter Cable routers. And, I can't see any reason why you couldn't buy a generic phenolic base for a router and screw this laminate trimmer to it for use in a router table.

fuster 04-02-2009 04:18 PM

I also have a laminate router and purchased it using your axiom, but I ended up wanting a regular router about two years later, and my wife bought me the combo kit I now use for regular routing projects. Unlike most folks, I like to install laminate and use this router for that purpose. It depends on what you are going to do. If you don't install laminate, don't buy a laminate router. It is too small and mine will not take a larger base that goes on the mainstream routers because it (a Porter Cable) has a small footprint and the base is smaller too.

My laminate router is very compact and the base is angular to fit in small corners. It does NOT work well for regular wood routing projects because the base is too compact and the motor is less powerful. It will move around more than a big one will unless you use a bit that follows the material, as is the case with laminate trimming bits. If you buy a regular Porter Cable router it will likely come with the 1/4 and 1/2 inch collars. The larger bits come in both shank sizes but will likely be found more often in the 1/2 inch variety. The laminate router that I have does not take the bigger collar, and it does not need it for laminate work, nor does it need a lot of power. I have used both, and you get a better finish on hard wood and plywood edges with a full sized router.

I would never hold a router in one hand. This is a tool that turns at very high rpm and has an ultra sharp bit that will disintegrate anything it hits, like your fingers or hand. No manufacturer to my knowledge recommends holding their router in one hand.

Nestor_Kelebay 04-02-2009 09:35 PM

I wouldn't hold a full blown router in one hand either, but holding a laminate trimmer in one hand is relatively safe.

If I was making laminate trimmers, I wouldn't recommend people hold them in one hand either. But, the reason wouldn't be because it's unsafe for most people to do. It'd be for the same reason that Makita's angle drill owner's manual advises against using it underwater. It's because there's lots of people out there with six thumbs on each hand that figure they can make violins like Stradavarius. That is, they're an accident waiting to happen. And, it's those people that keep lawyers busy and rich. You can be sure I'd tell my customers to hold onto that sucker with both hands in a death grip (to deny them any premise to sue me).

For your regular type garden variety DIY-style work around the house, a laminate trimmer is more practical and convenient than a much heavier router. A router is what you'd need for making fine furniture out of hardwood, but that's not typical of DIY work.

Besides, a laminate trimmer is half the cost of a router. Why not try the laminate trimmer first? If it doesn't work out, you've wasted $100. If you buy the router for $200, and then find that MOST of the work you're doing would be more conveniently done with a laminate trimmer, you've wasted $200.

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