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which router?

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phillip powell18/10/2007 12:55:00
45 forum posts

hi there,

new member here.

i have been researching in books ( a fantastic american book called 'woodworking with the router' i got from amazon) and on the net and i cant decide which router to buy.  there is a new bosch one that has a fixed and plunge base which looks neat but it aint cheap.

can you recomend some 1/2 inch (or 1/2 and 1/4 inch) routers for under £200.

with soft start, speed control and enough power to do all but the most serious of jobs.

i intend to use it as much as i can so i need something thats gonna last too.

im hoping you guys will have some experiance on the matter as i have none what-so-ever

many thanks for your time


JohnMcM18/10/2007 13:09:00
134 forum posts
38 photos

Have a look at this

Woodworker18/10/2007 14:01:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Hi Phill, A bit over £200 at £239.95 is the CMT 2E 1/2 inch router. I bought one of these a couple of weeks ago and have since thrown a lot at it while rebuilding my kitchen. I've been thoroughly impressed with it so far and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. The previous CMT machine, which was replaced by the 2E, was based on an original Elu design and looks almost identical to the DeWalt DW625EK in all but colour. It was a cracker of a machine and you might still be able to find some good deals on clearance stock on the net. I was also looking at the Bosch GMF1400CE which you mention. I was very tempted but decided to go with the CMT partly on price and partly because I couldn't see many occasions where I would prefer to use a fixed base over a plunge, so that extra money spent would probably just end up sitting in the box! Ben
Keith Horton18/10/2007 16:04:00
11 forum posts
I would strongly recommend you extent your budget just a little bit further and buy a good professional router. I have had a DeWalt 625 for a few years now and it never lets me down. I would buy the Trend equivalent as it has the additional feature of being able to adjust the depth of cut when mounted in the router table. You might not think you need this feature but thrust me, you will want a router table once you see the extra possibilities open to you through table mounting.
Big Al18/10/2007 19:34:00
1604 forum posts
73 photos
I have a freud ft2000 which I have had for about 8 years. It is used primarily in a router table, and over the years it has had a lot thrown at it. Other than routine maintenance I have had to replace the motor bushes and speed controller. Another one of my routers is the hitachi m12v which was used for cutting postform joints in kitchen worktops, which performs very well, however if you want to mount it in a router table then I would recomend that you source a fine height adjuster. If you are only going to use the router for free hand router, ie. cutting joints, edge mouldings, etc. then go for a 1/4 inch router. A good choice would be the trend t5, as it has soft start, variable speed and enough power for the tasks required of it. Dont be temptetd by cheap routers that are sold in the DIY sheds as usually they are not very good. On one that I bought, the cutter wasnt central in the base, and so when I tried to use it with a guide bush it cut an inacurate joint. Remember you get what you pay for. I hope that this has been of use to you.
Woodworker18/10/2007 21:03:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Good point Bigpricey, quarter inch collet machines are nicer to handle. If you did decide to go down the quarter in collet route, I've got a couple of recommendations. I use a DeWalt 621K which is a great machine. I've thrown a lot at it over the last 5 years and it's never let me down, very nice to use too. For smaller work I use a Bosch GFK600 palm router which is just superb. Pretty much anything from the main brands isn't going to let you down (Bosch, Trend, DeWalt, Makita, Freud, CMT etc). You could also consider buying second hand if the old budget is tight. Something like an older Elu machine would do you well, as long as the condition is good. Beware of Chinese imports on ebay though! There are loads of Makita look-alikes out there so be sure you're buying the genuine article. Whatever you decide to do, buy the best you can afford, a router isn't just for Christmas! It'll be with you for years...
phillip powell19/10/2007 09:33:00
45 forum posts


thank you all so much i was not expecting such a quicl response

the triton MOF001 is very well priced, but i have been warned off collet reducers and the handles dont look very comfortable to use.....

the CMT 2E does indeed look the part but already being at the top end of my budget which will limit my choices of cutters etc.  i see that it has an in built fine hieght adjuster and comes with the 1/2" and 1/4" collets.......but what are all the other collets?  i confess i didnt know there where so many different sizes!  but the 1/2" and 1/4" should be fine basic routing right?  im just starting out so i dont need anything more than that......yet!

again many many thanks


Woodworker19/10/2007 11:25:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Hi again Phill, I've been using routers for many years and have never needed a collet size other than 1/2 or 1/4 inch! If you look at any router cutter catalogue (Trend, CMT, Axminster etc.) you'll see that UK cutters pretty much all use these two sizes. A general rule of thumb is; if it's a medium to large size moulding cutter it'll have a 1/2 inch shank, if it's a bearing guided flute cutter or smaller moulding cutter it'll have a 1/4 inch shank ~ but as you'll see, there's lots of crossover between the two sizes and it's often down to preference which you choose. You'll also need a router table for many of the larger 1/2 inch cutters as they're too unwieldy when used hand held. There's a good article in the current issue of The Woodworker on making a router table. Keith Smith has designed and built a superb table with all sorts of top end features. I've also got an article in next months Woodworker which shows you how to make a really simple (and cheap!) router table for the smaller machine. This could quite easily be adapted for a larger 1/2 inch machine if you're on a really tight budget. You can also buy router tables off the shelf. But, satisfaction aside, you'll save yourself a good deal of notes if you build your own!
Big Al19/10/2007 22:13:00
1604 forum posts
73 photos
I have never had a problem when using collet reducers. The only time that I have used a 8mm shank is for my leigh dovetail jig, overwise the only shank sizes that any of my cutters are is 1/4 or 1/2 inch. As for router tables, consider the new yankee workshop deluxe router table I purchased the plans for this table and built it and have found the table fantastic in use, and it wont cost you as much as a half decent commercially available router table, and its capacities are that much better.
steve h20/10/2007 10:30:00
403 forum posts
128 photos

I might be wrong, but a large amount of parts and motors are manufactured in China, shipped to assembly plants across Europe, then designer badges are stuck on the outside and the price is doubled?

 I know some of the import stuff is cheap and inferior, but with routers, i found that you need 3 -  a heavy duty one the router table, a hand held one for smaller lightweight jobs and one set up for jigs, like dovetails and signcraft, as the set uptime could take me an hour to swap plates, or take it of the table and then re-centre it again.

At £50 to £80 quid a throw and get three or fours years out of them, i feel that they are not bad value for money.

This goes back to my question about the large morticer, i decided to purchase the SIP machine and got a fantastic deal from a dealer, however, there are at leat five branded machines out there all with different badges, but are the same machine?

Big Al20/10/2007 14:22:00
1604 forum posts
73 photos
I have owned a power devil 900 watt router (based on the trend t5, old elu etc.) and an eurbauer 1/2 inch router and have been very dissapointed with both. The power devil had a very rough motor and as such, the cut was very poor, and the eurbauer also had a rough motor, but also the spindle was not central to the base aperature. I own a couple of trend t3's, 2 dewalt 614's, a trend t5, a freud ft2000 and a hitachi m12v, all of which have provided me with many years of good service. Where their components are made, I dont know but there is a huge difference between these machines even though on paper the specs look very similar. Wastemaster you are right with some power tools and machinery being assembled with different badges, just look at the sip, perform, rexon and woodstar ranges, and they are almost identical machines but with different badges and paint jobs. And although the same can be said about cheap power tools, the professional tools are in a different league, as are mid range and professional machinery manufacturers.
Gordon Diffey29/10/2007 16:49:00
2 forum posts
Philip, I agree with Keith Horton, it is worth spending a little bit extra to get decent quality that will last.  Most cheaper power tools have nylon gears and plastic parts in areas where the tools are subjected to stress.  Better spend a bit more for the metal parts that will last.  I have used this place recently and they do have good quality tools.  They also will help you if you contact them and deliver from stock most of the time: 
Keith Horton04/11/2007 12:07:00
11 forum posts

Hi Philip

Get yourself down to B&Q QUICK !!!

They have the large Triton Router on offer, reduced from £250 down to £149. I just bought one for my router table and it's unbeatable at this pice.

bob the builder19/11/2007 20:57:00
44 forum posts
3 photos

I 'am currently using a macalister router i got out of B&Q it ony cost around £90 with a small startethers router table. It is one of the best i have had the last one was a cheap B&Q one which nearly took the face of me when the depth stop shot up when i was operating it.

RICH KELLOW30/11/2007 19:12:00
59 forum posts

 Hi Phil, I took myself down to my local Aldi store here in Reading and bought 2 of their 1/2 inch routers for £25.oo each (box of cutters included), they are very robust, have a fine height adjuster facility, decent fence, and are comfortable to use, also have variable speed facility, even if I only get a years work out of them what a bargain.

 Regards Rich.

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