The Ridgid Lamminate Trimmer is basically a small hand-held router and in many ways similar to the Bosch, Makita and other small 1/4 inch mini routers. The Ridgid Trim Router features a moulded grip that makes the router easy to hold on to and seems to conform to your hand as you hold it, and when you think about it, a hand held router should feel good to hold onto, after all it IS a hand held unit.
The Ridgid trim router that we tested also comes with a nice canvas case and includes both a square and a circular base, and even and edge guide along with the chuck wrench for installing and uninstalling bits. This unit is one of the few laminate trimmers that also features variable speed. At the outset, having variable speed may seem like a small feature but if you are using the trimmer for a variety of jobs, you NEED variable speed because trimming different materials requires a different speeds, like triming laminate or arborite uses a different speed than trimming burl wood veneers. The one thing we loved was the location and ease of changing speeds with this unit.
We found changing bits was a wee bit awkward as the base really needs to be removed altogether. To help facilitate this there is a quick release, but then there is also "stop" near the end that needs even more effort to get past. All in all, changing bits was not a big issue. just something we needed to get used to. We weren't thrilled with the off on switch which is a indented square block at the top (in fact we to really look to see where the off/on switch was). On the other hand we didn't know what we would do to improve this and we did appreciate that this design although not as easy to turn the trimmer on, is VERY easy to turn the trimmer off which is more important.
In using the router we came to like the micro adjustment that changes the height of the bit in relationship to the base. We found that we could some very accurate cuts and lock the position firmly and that it was positive and smooth to operate, but held firmly.
Laminate trimmers have been around for quite some time but have never been wildly popular and now that we have used this unit, we wonder why that is? These small hand held routers are convient, easy to use and have a multitude of uses such as ...
... doing quick round-overs of edges of boards and shelves with a variety of roundover bits that are available. Trimming edges and uneven cuts on a variety of surfaces, cutting small intricate inlays and edge banding jobs that require rabbeting, and of course the reason for laminate trimmers in the first place is in making counter tops.
Before the popularity of dedicated kitchen coutertop businesses, many carpenters and woodworkers had to make their own counter tops. This was done by contact cementing laminate or aborite to a substrate material (usually plywood) then trimming the top and edges flush ... which was the primary use of laminate trimmers. Many carpenters would purchase a small laminate trimmer, install a flush trim bit in the unit and NEVER take it out until the bit got damaged or dull. It was the only bit they would ever use which is sad because these little routers have a much greater ability than doing one singular job.
All in all we were very pleased with the Ridgid Laminate Trimmer. It worked well and was easy to use and convenient. A well made tool that we enjoyed using and would easily recommend.
Copyright - Colin Knecht