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  • In need of a little advice

    Hi all. I’m looking for a little advice. I just installed a Bench Dog router table extension on my TS-3650. Installation and alignment with the saw table was a breeze. Now all I need to do is install a router. I was a little shocked when I stated looking at them and seen the prices. This looks to be an investment! As such, I want to ensure I’m getting the most for my money. I intend to try my hand at building raised panel cabinets as well as routing tambours for a roll top desk. Most of my project will be in Red and White Oak, Red Birch and Cherry. From what I can tell, I think I need at least a 2 ¼ HP, variable speed, fixed base router with above the table depth adjustment and a ½” collet. This is where I would appreciate some advice. What router would you folks suggest? I was considering a PC 7518 but read some not so good reviews about the lift mechanism failing. Also considering a Milwaukee 5625-20. I know there's a lot of others out there and would appreciate any input you folks may have.

  • #2
    Re: In need of a little advice

    I'd have a close look at the Triton.
    Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: In need of a little advice

      If you're looking at 2 1/4 HP and money is a serious consideration then you may want to look at this Crafstman. It is available on sale once in a while so so you get it for even less then advertised on the website.

      As for the above the table lift mechanism, it sounds like a nifty feature, but from what I hear it often ends up being a gimmick since the lift mechanism will get filled with wood dust, and the little screw head on the top side of the table will get filled with it too so some cleanup is necessary before you can change the depth. In the end, no matter what they do, people end up simply reaching under the router table and adjust the depth that way.

      Other than the general reputation of the tool, you may also want to consider availability of parts, attachments and such. Most half decent routers come with 1/4 and 1/2" collets.

      I tested raising panels with the Craftsman and with a 2HP Mastercraft router. In both cases was able to do it in 4 passes. A bigger router will still require multiple passes, although perhaps one less, for the larder bits biting hardwood, but bigger means faster rate of feed and therefore less burning of wood. Too fast means getting them router bits blunt sooner.

      I am also looking at a King Canada router as a second router. 3 1/4 HP for $100!!!! It's crude and it's ugly but it has the features - power and variable speed. Normally, I would not look at a $100 3 1/4 router, but a friend has it, mounted under the table full time and he's very happy with it. After all, all the router does is spin a bit very fast. $100 is less than the price of some router bits.

      As you read router reviews, you will also have noticed that a lot of folks out there have more than one router, so be prepared that eventually you will too.
      In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

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      • #4
        Re: In need of a little advice

        Considering the Bench Dog myself. How is it attached to the 3650? The rails only...fastened to the 3650 cast iron table?

        I also saw something in here a few months back regarding replacing the factory pulley's and belt with aftermarket upgrades to minimize vibration.

        Anyone know anything more about these?

        Thanks,

        Bob

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        • #5
          Re: In need of a little advice

          I have a MW5625 and a Freud FT1700 for my router table. Both are great table routers for different reasons. The MW5625 is a brute and will spin the big panel raising bits all day. It has above table height adjustment but not many other conveniences. The FT1700 is loaded with great table features....it has one handed above table bit changes, above table height adjustment, and above table height lock capability. It's strong enough for the vast majority of what I do, and will handle occasional raised panels. It's also a nice hand router. If you want power and the all the above table features, take a look at the FT-3000.

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          • #6
            Re: In need of a little advice

            "Considering the Bench Dog myself. How is it attached to the 3650? The rails only...fastened to the 3650 cast iron table?

            I also saw something in here a few months back regarding replacing the factory pulley's and belt with aftermarket upgrades to minimize vibration.

            Anyone know anything more about these?

            Thanks,

            Bob"

            The Bench Dog router table extension replaces the original left table wing. It comes with all the hardware needed to make the switch and pretty good instructions. If per chance you have a unique or customized set-up, they are very emphatic about the need for grade 5 bolts (Bolt refresher 101, grade 5 bolts are the ones with the three equally spaced tick marks on the head). When I instaled mine, I bolted it to the table (4 bolts) and reused the two square head bolts that affixed the original left wing to the rails to affix the new wing to the rails. I managed to install the assemble myself however I would highly recommend getting some help as the replacement wing is somewhat heavy and awkward. By the way, I picked up the Bench Dog off of eBay from an outfit in Colorado. Even with shipping, the price was less than what I could buy it locally for.

            As to your second question concerning the replacement of the pulley and belt, I asked a very similar question not too long ago. Specifically, I asked about a link belt system to replace the OEM system. If I knew how to post a link to that thread, I would but since I don’t know how to do that I would suggest you do a search for a thread titled “Newbee, green and slightly warped”. I got a few good bits of advice that lead me to decide to stay with the OEM arrangement, at least for now.

            Hope this little bit of info helps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: In need of a little advice

              I believe the answer on the link-belt for the 3650/3660 is that the pulleys are the wrong type for a link belt. The belt that comes with it is pretty good, as long as the motor is mounted and the belt tensioned properly.
              I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: In need of a little advice

                I've had the Bench Dog ProMax for over a year now and, simply put, it's phenomenal.

                It attaches to the side of the table saw's main table, as well as to both the front and back rails. I'd strongly recommend a helper when installing it, as well as some 6" or 8" C-clamps. These latter you need for about 5 minutes, so I'd suggest you "rent" them from Home Depot (e.g. buy, use and return). The C-clamps are to get the extension and main table perfectly flush with eachother. The best way to do this is to crank down on some hard stock bridging the seam where the two cast iron surfaces meet. Overall, including the removal of the left side wing, installation of the ProMax can be done in under an hour. You can install it on the far right side, keeping the right wing, but the general consensus is that you should add some legs or other under-table support structure. Search the forums for more info on that (search: "Promax extension")

                As for routers and what-not... I use a DeWalt 618 router in my shop. Thus far, it hasn't let me down on anything. You do need to know how to manage your router speed and feed rate with what you're doing. If you want to make raised panel doors, you can do it with a 2 1/4 HP router, you just need to take your time. A bigger router isn't necessarily better in the "speed" of production department, because it would be unwise to take off a full cut in one pass, whether you have a huge router or a mid-power one, because of tear-out. The multi-base kit is great since you can easily remove the router from the table for some free-hand work or whatever... dovetail jig, etc.. For a long time I just had the fixed base attached to the Bench Dog router plate and the router when in and out of it as needed.

                I recently upgraded to a Woodpecker's Quick-lift. I'd been looking at lifts for quite some time and the sticking point, for me, was always how long it would take to change bits, above the table, when I could only move the router 1/64 or 1/28" per turn. The Quick lift solved that and I have to say, I love it! You can literally drag the whole router up 4 inches in about 2 seconds.. And after changing bits, put it at the approximate cut height easily, then fine tune it.
                They occassionally have the Bench Dog size in their specials section. I think I picked up the Quick Lift for my router for about $160. Look for the 8 1/4 x 11 3/4" size.

                Right now Woodpeckers is offering 10% off anything, so you could pick one up new for about $180 (coupon code is WP10, FYI, and ends today 8/26/08). If you decide to go with a big dog Porter Cable 7518/7519 router, a refurb quick lift for that router could be had for as little as $160.

                Make sure you're careful when shopping for router plates or lifts with the ProMax, as it many makers use different size openings and have different sized plates....
                Last edited by Wood_Junkie; 08-26-2008, 10:43 AM.

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                • #9
                  Re: In need of a little advice

                  Take a look at this link www.popularwoodworking.com/toolreviews and download the Two-based Router Kit review.

                  I have the MW-5615-29, which is the smaller hp handheld. It has been a very good machine for me and I have to agree with everything that they wrote in the review.

                  My only regrets, I was pretty green to woodworking when I bought my router or I would have stepped up to the multi based unit and higher hp. The more I use it, the more I realize now how useful the plunge base would be.

                  I think the MW is very user friendly. Easy to change bits, easy to change bases, easy to adjust depth, and very smooth running machine. Highly recommended.

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                  • #10
                    Re: In need of a little advice

                    Surprised nobody's mentioned the Ridgid kit... for two hundred bucks it's hard to beat. OTOH, if you're going to be using the huge panel cutters on a regular basis, Milwaukee would be the way I'd go.

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                    • #11
                      Re: In need of a little advice

                      Originally posted by KenM View Post
                      I'd have a close look at the Triton.

                      I agree with Ken. I purchased the 2 1/4 HP Triton plunge router and I am very happy with it. It has its own lift mechanism for above the table bit changes and it comes with a lot of extras for around $200.
                      Definitely check it out.

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