Is this a good router? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this a good router/ a good deal?

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/FathersDay/Handyman/PowerTools/PRD~0546902P/Mastercraft+12A+Plunge+Router+with+Digital+Display.jsp?locale=en
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 06:46 AM
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That looks like a copy of the Bosch 1617, heh.

Anyone here used one?
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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yeah, and the 1617 is $300.00 in canada. This one has a digital display too to automatically change speed based on bit or something.

what exactly is the difference between a plunge router and a fixed base?

Would a plunged router be fine for basically just cutting baffles and rounding edges?
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:04 AM
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A plunge router allows you to "plunge" (vertical movement of the bit) into a solid surface and rapidly change the depth of a cut. This is very useful for cutting holes/baffles for speakers. For edges and trim work a fixed base will work fine.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=Routers&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:07 AM
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Can a fixed based router also do baffles and driver cut outs, or is a plunge based router best for that purpose? I would imagine that a fixed based router would work fine for that as I think all you would have to do is set the depth, am I correct on that assumption?
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah so which one would be better to get, like can't you just set the plunge router all the way down and it's virtually identical to a fixed router? It says fixed is better for edging, but why is that, just because of the weight?

it seems like the fixed router i linked doesn't have variable speed, which would be pretty bad for a 3/4" roundover if it's 25000 rpm.

So should I buy the plunge router 99.99 regular 200?

from my understanding you can do anything with a plunge router, some stuff might be a little more challenging though. You can' t do "plunging" with a fixed based router. So if you only can have 1 router it's better to have a plunge router.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:26 AM
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Your best bet is to get a set with interchangeable bases. If you have to choose one only I would get the plunge as you will be able to do most the work with that.

A plunge base is what you want/need for baffle cutouts or any case where you're plunging a new hole in the middle of a board. Generally change the depth with a fixed setup requires you to unlock the base which is not something I'd do with a moving bit IMO. Also, with my fixed base, the bit does not retract up past the surface fully meaning that it could not start a board without a hole. You will need to make multiple passes at increasing depths to perform a driver cutout.
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:33 AM
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If you only want 1 base, go with the plunge. You could always set it down to the depth you want just like a fixed base. It comes with both 1/4 and 1/2' collets which is nice but it doesn't come with a case, if that matters to you.

I'm not familiar with Mastercraft brand but you can always try it and return it if you decide it's not up to par.
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDean View Post

If you only want 1 base, go with the plunge. You could always set it down to the depth you want just like a fixed base. It comes with both 1/4 and 1/2' collets which is nice but it doesn't come with a case, if that matters to you.

I'm not familiar with Mastercraft brand but you can always try it and return it if you decide it's not up to par.

mastercraft is a canadian tire only brand, it's fairly high regarded, especially for hand tools, as they offer lifetime warranty without proof of purchase.

but yeah I need to get a new router because the one I have now only takes 1/4" collets and I'm getting a 3/4" roundover that is a 1/2" collet. The router I have now is junk though.
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 03:07 PM
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I have a Porter Cable and love it, especially since a lot of after-market accessories support them.

If it's not a BIG screen, it's not a theater...
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post #12 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WagBoss View Post

mastercraft is a canadian tire only brand, it's fairly high regarded, especially for hand tools, as they offer lifetime warranty without proof of purchase.

but yeah I need to get a new router because the one I have now only takes 1/4" collets and I'm getting a 3/4" roundover that is a 1/2" collet. The router I have now is junk though.

I'd recommend 1/2" shank whenever possible.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 07:03 PM
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I have the Craftsman version of that router, and it has worked very well.
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-12-2013, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WagBoss View Post

Is this a good router/ a good deal?
Well, it is good enough for Sears to sell a version under the Craftsman name. My experience with house branded power tools sold by big companies is that they are generally good quality, if built for lighter duty. But I always find something lacking in them that makes me buy one of the major brands like Porter Cable, DeWalt, Bosch, or even Makita or Ryobi. If you are only going to use the router to build a few boxes, Mastercraft is probably fine. If you are planning on using the router for a lifetime of projects, I would recommend spending the extra money for a router from one of the companies named. FWIW most of my tools are Porter Cable.
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from my understanding you can do anything with a plunge router, some stuff might be a little more challenging though.
Everything else is a bit more work simply because it is clumsier and heavier than a fixed based. You just set the depth and use it like a fixed base.
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You can' t do "plunging" with a fixed based router.
Not true. Just about everything folks use a plunge base for can be done with a fixed based. You just have to learn the technique.
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So if you only can have 1 router it's better to have a plunge router.
It is really a matter of preference. I worked for years without a plunge base. I have one now but hardly ever use it.
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-13-2013, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Colm View Post

If you are planning on using the router for a lifetime of projects, I would recommend spending the extra money for a router from one of the companies named..
+1, buy once, cry once. A well made tool will last a lifetime. As for plunge versus fixed, a plunge will work as a fixed, a fixed won't plunge, so why not get something that doesn't have built in limitations? You may never need to plunge, but better to have the ability and not use it than the other way around.

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post #16 of 23 Old 06-14-2013, 08:04 AM
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I've got a Bosch 1617 with both the fixed and plunge base, have not used the plunge yet, but it's nice to know it's there whenever I need it. Also I've wondered if drilling a hole in the workpiece as a starting point and using a fixed base would be useful in case someone didn't have a plunge? I've used this technique with my jigsaw quite often and it's worked well.
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-14-2013, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

...I've wondered if drilling a hole in the workpiece as a starting point and using a fixed base would be useful...
Yep, that is one way to do it.
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-14-2013, 12:27 PM
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I can attest to the quality Porter Cable 891. I bought the 893PK and have been very happy for the 7 years I have used it.
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-15-2013, 03:12 PM
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Each have their advantages and uses. I prefer using a fixed base and drilling a starting hole. The advantage of the fixed base is better control of depth adjustments. After each pass, it's much easier to lower the depth by twiddling a knob instead of fighting a spring.

Plunge bases are a pain if you want to use it in a router table.

For your choice of router, I notice in the reviews that the bit size is limited to 1 1/4". If all you're going to do is cut baffles and do round-overs, it won't be a problem, but keep in mind what bits you might be using.

The digital speed is a gimmick. The best routers on the market don't have it.

Lastly, 1/2" chucks are better. The bits are more stable and make smoother job. You can get a 1/2" to 1/4" collett but you can't go the other way with a 1/4" chuck.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-15-2013, 03:24 PM
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You're limiting yourself with a fixed base...also, using a fixed base for tasks designed for a plunge router, isn't very safe or smart.

Mike
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post #21 of 23 Old 06-15-2013, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face2 View Post

You're limiting yourself with a fixed base...
Funny, I never found myself limited in what I could do when I only had a plunge base. Sometimes I had to make a jig to do what I wanted. But I didn't find anything I wanted to do that I couldn't. I got a plunge base because the price was right at the time and I thought it would make some things faster. And it did in certain cases, but those were few and far between.
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...using a fixed base for tasks designed for a plunge router, isn't very safe or smart.
Tools are designed to accomplish tasks. Some tools make it easier to accomplish certain tasks than others. You pick which one to use based on a number of factors, including the training and skill of the operator. What you can do safely may very well be different from what another can do safely. If you feel safer using a plunge router for a particular task, by all means do so. But just because you don't think it can be done safely with a fixed based router doesn't mean others cannot do it safely.
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post #22 of 23 Old 06-15-2013, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koturban View Post

...the bit size is limited to 1 1/4".
Supposedly there is an accessory base that will accommodate larger bits. Whether one can actually get it seems to be questionable.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-15-2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Supposedly there is an accessory base that will accommodate larger bits. Whether one can actually get it seems to be questionable.

Routers like Bosch, PC, DeWalt, et al, have interchangeable bases readily available. As Bill said: "Buy once, cry once."
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