Fixed or Plunge Router


Old 11-29-05, 08:26 AM
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Fixed or Plunge Router

I'm trying to determine which is best to get. I'm going to be building furniture, like a bed, coffee table, chest of drawers, etc.

It sounds like the plunge router is the way to go. I'm wondering if the fixed router with table would be more useful? Is it possible to fix the plunge router to a router table?

Also, I'm probably going to try to use hardwood (maple). Do I really need high power (10amps)?
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Old 11-29-05, 10:36 AM
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Usually the more amps the stronger the motor.

My first router was a crafstman 1hp router. It did most of what I needed done. When the base plate broke [in the middle of a project] I purschased a 2hp plunge router that was on sale.

A plunge router can be locked into position and used like a normal router. The only drawback I see with my plunge router is it is bigger and bulkier so for some jobs a smaller router works better. [gotta fix that base plate ]

I don't have a router table but think it would be handy. I usually clamp my router [upside down] to my table saw and use it that way for making trim.
Old 12-07-05, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wayne County, OH
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Buy both. From the menu of project ideas you listed, I can see you benefitting from both. I use a "Crap"sman (no, that wasn't a typo) 2hp plunge router and a smaller DeWalt 2hp mounted in a small portable table. On more than one occasion, building a Mission style Sleigh Bed for example, I have had to use both routers in the same hour.
Old 12-07-05, 03:03 PM
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What problems are you having with your crapsman? I'm tempted to get the Skil 2.25hp fixed plunge combo. But then there's the Hitachi router with the same features but for $80 more.
Old 12-07-05, 05:51 PM
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I have a Bosch 1613EVS Plunge router that's mounted in a homemade router bench, with homemade fence, and it works fine. I have it mounted in the table with a veritas router plate which enables you to easily slip the router in and out from underneath the table top.

My only wish is that I had a router that had a height adjustment that cranked from above, because since it's a plunge router, when you want to adjust the bit height drastically, you have to hold the plate down with one hand and change the plunge setting with another- then fine tune the height with the fine adjustment dial (which is actually *very* handy).

If you have big plans, don't scrimp on the HP of the motor. I mainly do simple roundovers with my setup, but every now I'll switch to the 1/2" collet and make some raised panel cabinet doors. A smaller HP router probably wouldn't handle that too well. My next router will probably be the Bosch 1617EVS, a bigger, better version of the one I've got now.

Plunge routers do tend to be bigger and bulkier, which makes them a little cumbersome for small jobs that require intricate detail. I still have an old Bosch 1601A router with the 2 wooden handled knobs and a simple wingnut to adjust the height, and it's my favorite router for routering by hand. I usually leave the plunge router set up in the router table, and rarely take it out... only when I need to use the plunge feature, which is nice to have when you need it!
Old 12-08-05, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wayne County, OH
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My saga of crapsman tools ends with the 2hp router. It's actually the 3rd Sears router I've owned. The first broke within minutes of first use and I returned it for a duplicate. It was the type that had a large ring around the body of the router that when turned, raised the bit height. The ring had split and no longer engaged the threaded body. #2 never even ran. I noticed the same failure already happening as I opened the box. #3, (and I should add, the last Sears power tool I'll ever buy), has suffered a broken bit lock, a burned out power switch and I have had to replace a motor brush on one side 2 times. Sears has refused to replace the router. Consequently, I have refused to remain a customer of Sears, forever. To get around the bit lock, I had to machine a pair of "flats" on the motor shaft to be able to hold it with a wrench.
I was shocked when the power switch failed, literally. In the process of flailing about after getting 120VAC pumped into my hand, the still spinning router fell to the concrete floor and a $40 1/2" solid carbide straight cut spiral flute bit shattered.
I should also add that the base for the crapsman is an odd size and is not fully round making it not easily adaptable to aftermarket router accessories.
My displeasure with sears has evolved during the course of no longer owning a chop saw, table saw, drill press, bench grinder, lawn mower and 2 weed wackers. Lucky me, I'm also surrounded by co-workers and neighbors that swear by sears.
Old 12-08-05, 11:40 AM
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Location: N.E. Arkansas
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imagineer, It's a shame that you have that "Craftsman cloud" over you. I have had really good luck with their tools and warranties. I DID have to show one of their Associates the written warranty when he tried to give me a rebuild kit for a ratchet. Warranty does not say they will supply parts, says they will replace broken tools.
Back to the original question. Two routers (or more) is the preferred way to go. One in a table and one (plunge type) for free-hand. Norm Abrahams from This Old House had 26 routers on the shelf in his New Yankee Workshop. I have one router in a table, one free-hand and even have the router attachment for my Dremel which I use for small work. Good luck.
Old 12-09-05, 07:32 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 653
Originally Posted by snapshotmd
But then there's the Hitachi router with the same features but for $80 more.
I was eager to read this thread because I'm considering which router to buy, also. I've been scanning ebay because I figure I can get good equipment for less than full retail.

Snapshot- I've seen a particular seller on Ebay who sells rebuilt Hitachi equipment. (I'm not associated with the seller in any way.)

Now I'm worried about violating terms of service: Snapshot, if you'd like to know the seller name, I'll be happy to PM you.

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