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Router Tables / Routers
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We were a bit anxious to get our hands on the DEWALT DW625 EVS Plunge Router for a couple of reasons, first of all it boasts a 3 horsepower motor, which is about what you would expect from a 15 amp unit, and this is a plunge router, which is what we prefer given a choice.
We used this router both on and of the router table and found it easy to use and very capable of anything we challenged it to do. We liked the soft start feature, which in a 3 hp unit is very nice. I means when you start the tool it doesn’t try to jerk it out of your hand every time you start the unit up, a very nice feature and a good safety feature too.
The DEWALT DW625 EVS Plunge Router uses a variable speed motor which runs between 8,000 and 22,000 rpm. Useful for doing a wide variety of jobs. We found the rack and pinion mechanism for moving the router up and down to be smooth and move. We also like that the scale on sliding ruler was magnified somewhat for easier viewing. We also wondered what this scale and magnifier would look like after a few months of use, would the dust start masking the scale? Then we surmised a bit of blown in air would probably solve the problem.
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Although this is something of the little brother of the 3.25 Hp Bosh Plunge router, we very much liked this smaller version. If you don’t need all the routing horsepower of the bigger Bosch, this is certainly one to consider. Again, we prefer the plunge routers if they are your only router, we just find them more versatile.
The Bosch 1613AVES Plunge Router is another well thought out tool and even with a bit smaller motor will still do pretty much anything most woodworkers will need … admittedly you may need to take a couple or even three passes with the bigger panel bits, but this unit will still perform.
We liked how well the tool was designed and that it had all the options we look for, sort-start, constant speed under load, variable speed, off / on switch on handle, both half and quarter inch collets included, micro adjustment plunge stop and lock down leaver.
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The fixed base Bosch Router 1617EVS is a nice 2.5 horsepower router, and one that can be used freehand or, more often for mounting in a router table. The 1617EVS has many of the features of other Bosch routers such as variable speed, soft start and “constant response under load” circuitry, macro and fine adjustment for depth control, right of left on / off switch.
One feature the 1617EVS does have that is not wide spread among it’s competitors is the ability to adjust the height of the router – above the table! For anyone who uses a router a lot, and especially those using the router in a table, this feature alone will capture hearts.
We only used this router in a router table, which was really too bad because when you look at the tool it has such lovely hardwood handles, its almost a pity to hide them under a router table.
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No router section is complete without talking about the often forgotten palm routers. If you have ever talked to anyone who has one of these they always rave at what a great, handy tool they are … I confess, I do not have one, so taking one for a test drive was high on my agenda.
Palm routers or hand-held routers as they are sometimes called are simply smaller versions of the bigger routers. The only take ¼ inch bits, but owing to the fact they have smaller horsepower, this is not a drawback.
The Bosh Colt comes with a one horsepower (5.6 amp), soft-start, and variable speed motor (there is also a fixed speed version of this unit). What struck us the moment we opened the box was the contouring of the body of the router. When we picked it out, it seemed to conform to out hand. I weighed a bit more than we were expecting but because of the grip it really wasn’t noticeable.
This unit comes with a fixed base, but it is very easy to
adjust and includes both a macro and micro adjustment that was very accurate.
We started off by using a flush trim bit and cutting off piece of ¼ inch
plywood, about three feet long. The router hesitated only slightly at the
start, then immediately picked up speed and ploughed its way easily through the
plywood to make an nice neat trim cut. We can see that this kind of a tool and
these kinds of bits would be very popular with home
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The first thing that strikes one when just looking at this router is huge yellow “D” shaped handle. The DEWALT DW618D is a bit unique looking but was specifically designed for easy in accomplishing certain jobs. The large “D” shaped handle which includes the on/off swithch (which can also be locked in the On position). For anyone doing hand routing jobs, this unit is an edge above most others when it comes to actually holding the router. Lets not minimize that role. Imagine if you doing an edge job on a counter and trimming laminate or rounding an edge, it is VERY simple to make an imperfect cut, especially if you don’t have a good grip on your tool. DeWalt makes it easy with this tool by providing a large, easy to hang on to handle, AND an opposing smaller black round grip to make the woodworker will have all the gripping power needed.
Lets talk a bit about the tool it’self. The version we tested was a fixed base unit, which means the depth control is set manually for each cut. We liked the idea of the micro adjustment which even gave us control of 1/64 inch adjustment. This will accommodate even the most fussy woodworker. Changing the bits in this tool means lifting the motor from the base, which, with the quick release clips made the job quick and easy. We also liked that the spindle “locked” into position so we could change bits with just one wrench.