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Author Topic: Which Router?  (Read 1280 times)
richter1978
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« on: December 27, 2013, 03:21:21 PM »

I'm not much of a woodworker, so I could use some advice on which router to buy.  After cutting my hand badly this summer with my dado on the table saw, I think a router may come in "handy". Thank you in advance.
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Simon
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 07:43:22 PM »

It sounds like you need to get/make some push blocks for your saw so that your hands don't get anywhere near the blade.  Watch out for kickback too.  Dado blades can kickback too and throw pieces of timber at you at 100mph, usually straight back from the blade (although not always  shocked as I found out a couple of years ago).  Some finger boards help a lot to prevent kickback and keep the work against the fence.  If you use a router mounted in a router table, you need similar safety devices too.  My Grandfather managed to remove a knuckle from his thumb with a spindle moulder (not too far removed from a router) and he had heaps of woodworking experience, so router can "bite" just as hard as a table saw.

I't's a bit hard to recommend a particular router without knowing what you are going to use it for.  Are you making boxes with box joints or rebates?  Are you going to make yourself a new kitchen with raised panel doors?  If you have limited use for a router, you might be better off getting some jigs etc to make your life easier with your table saw.  There are some threads here on Beemaster related to some really good table saw box joint jigs that would be invaluable for making supers.  There are also some good Youtube videos that would be worth a look.

I have a Makita 3612 1/2" router and it's about 3HP.  It works great mounted upside-down in a router table and it can be hand held without too much trouble, but it does weigh 6kg and wants to do the twist when you hit the switch.  I have had it for around 15 years and really abused it at times.  If I ever manage to break it, I'll be looking for another one the same or at least another Makita. The Makita 3612 is discontinued now, but they make a couple of replacement models that should be just as good (RP1800 and RP2301FC) that should be just as good if you want a plunge router.  Depending on what you are doing, a good powerful 1/2" router will run rings around a smaller 1/4" one - you can use bigger more rigid cutters and take deeper/wider cuts in one pass.  Variable speed would be an advantage too if you want to use some of those wide joint making bits that need to run slower.  Mine just has one speed, but I have a motor speed controller that I can use to slow it down.  I also have a small variable speed Ozito 1/4" router that is really handy for some jobs as it's easy to hold and get into tight places that the big one can't get too, but I wouldn't use it to cut wide slots in hard timber (or soft timber for that matter).  I burned out the motor in my last small Ozito router trying to push it too hard because I was too lazy to set up the big one.  The Ozito router is a cheapie and it works really well for light jobs, but I think it would be too slow and underpowered to use it to make many bee boxes.
 
Hopefully, that helps a bit.

Simon



 
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richter1978
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 10:21:47 PM »

Simon,
     That helps a lot, thank you for the thoughtful and informative response!  Bee boxes were my initial interest in a router, with other projects later.  I naively saw it as a safer alternative to my table saw.  I cut three of the fingers on my left hand due to kickback while test cutting a hand hold.  I of course love to add any new tool to my quiver, but saving $200 dollars appeals to me as well.  I will look into the jigs and push blocks that you referred to. 

Andy
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Simon
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2013, 01:55:45 AM »

Andy,
Here's one of the posts about finger joint jigs I was thinking about http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,40540.0.html

Handholds??? Have a look at these for some different (and sometimes safer) ideas.
     http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,35028.msg290297.html
     http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,42992.msg368876.html
     http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,27114.20.html

Anywhere that you are raising the blade into the work piece or lowering the work piece on to the blade, there is a great chance of having the work piece forced into your body at speed because any twist/misalignment of the timber that happens relative to the blade (really easy for this to happen when doing this sort of thing) leads to the spinning saw blade suddenly getting a heap of grip on what it's cutting.  If you are lucky, the saw will stall and if not, you already know what happens.  I ignored my own advice and ended up with three dislocated fingers and and a big purple imprint of a piece of timber in my arm ...pretty luck really as I was expecting a compound fracture, and I was standing to the side of the saw, not right in front of the blade.  That's where you need the right jigs etc to hold everything square and down onto the saw table - they are much cheaper to replace than your expensive, one-of-a-kind set of fingers.       

Simon
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richter1978
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2013, 10:10:44 AM »

Awesome, thank you for the help!  Kickback to the side of the saw, YIKES!

                 Thanks again, Andy
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capt44
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 12:16:10 PM »

Here is a setup I use to cut handles in boxes.
There is no saw blades or router blades but does use a carbide tipped buffing wheel.
There is a feller in Columbia, Mo that builds a jig that you use with a Drill Press.
I have one and found it to be the safest way to make hive handles.
Each one is precise and just 2 or 3 passes and they are done.
I build a lot of boxes and can cut handles in enough boards to do 4 complete boxes in around 3 or 4 minutes.
Here is a link to a video he has.
Hive Handles using a drill press jig
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2013, 07:23:54 PM »

Why not just screw cleats on the side as we do in au easy safe and you never drop a box with slippery hands.Can also be used with hive lifting equipment.
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capt44
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2013, 07:27:36 AM »

Cleats are okay for awhile, then as they age some they become weak.
There's nothing worse than to pickup a box and a cleat come off.
The bees and the beekeeper get frustrated.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 07:34:20 AM »

If you're going to buy a router, stick with the big names. Makita is good, DeWalt, even Rigid makes a good router. It's hard to beat a Porter Cable. Get a router with a 1/2" collet and a means of adjusting the depth from the bottom of the router. That way, if you mount it in a router table, you can adjust it without having to reach under the table. Variable speed is very nice.
To get the most benefit from the router, you'll want a router table. These are a little pricy, but worth it. There are plans on the internet to build them yourself.
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Robo
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2013, 09:19:03 AM »

Hitachi also makes great routers.  I have had the M12V for many years and couldn't be happier with it.
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richter1978
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2013, 11:46:04 AM »

Thank you all for the help!  Looks like a 1/2" router is on the horizon.  A friend made a router table and has given it to me, so I've got that.  Adjustable from beneath, thank you, didn't know about that one. 
As far as hand holds go, I have been using the ripped scrap to make cleats.  I have had the thought about what happens when one does come off a box full of bees.  Probably not good.  I do glue and screw (with stainless hardware) them on.

Thanks again!     Andy
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johng
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2014, 09:46:00 PM »

I just bought a router table and router from Home depot last week and I love it. I bought the Ridgid router it was $179 2 1/4hp. I only use it to cut the frame rest and it is almost as fast as using my radial arm saw with stacked dado. I cut out 100 boxes this past week and used the router table for all the frame rest cuts.
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RC
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 07:09:21 AM »

johng , what kind of router table did you get? I'm looking for a new one.
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Joe D
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 08:02:01 PM »

I have a Ryobi router and  table.  They have been working fine.  It is the 1/2"  plunge router.  I got it at Home Depot also. 
I have gotten some equipment since then at CPO outlet in the Atlanta area.  And another place in the north west, came remember the name right now.  Good luck with which ever you choose.




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johng
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2014, 11:07:17 AM »

I got the Ryobi table with the Ridgid router it works very good. I have cut over 150 frame rest out over the past couple weeks and it very easy.
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capt44
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2014, 12:36:17 PM »

I use the Bosch 2.25 hp  combo kit (stationary base and the plunge base)
It has collets to handle from 1/4 , 3/8, 1/2 inch and 8mm collets)
The plunge adapter has micro adjustments for the depth and the on/off switch is easy to reach with my thumb.
It is very stable and has a variable speed adjustment for the speed of the motor.
It makes it very easy to control.
I started using a smaller bosch router with a router table using 1/4 inch collet and found that any bit above 1/2 inch cut is subject to break at the collet right at the base of the bit.
That's not good with that bit spinning around 25,000 rpm or so.
Since I cut my box joints with a dado setup on my table saw I just remove the box joint jig and adjust the fence to cut a dado 5/8 inch wide and 3/8 deep for my frame rest or if I'm cutting rabbit joints for the boxes I just adjust the fence to cut the frame rest and zip their done.
I like using the router table to make my inner covers and such.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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