Routers

My first router was a lousy tool, inaccurate and poorly constructed. Still, it delighted me by introducing me to what a router makes possible. My first router table was also a lousy tool, but it helped me learn the versatility that a table adds to this interesting tool. My first router bits were lousy steel ¼″ bits. They taught me the shapes I could achieve, but they didn't last and tended to burn and tear the wood. All of these taught me what I needed to look for in better versions.

Once I discovered the world of accurate routers, a well made table, and ½″ carbide bits, I really fell in love with this tool.

Table · Plunge · Palm
Side note: Learning more about routers

Table router

I mounted the Bosch 1619EVS 3.25 HP Plunge Router on a Veritas Router Table. The router is up to the toughest tasks and features an easy-to-use option that disables the plunge spring, making it totally easy to raise or lower it using the adjustment knob when it is hanging beneath a router table (you can see it in the photo, extending beneath the router).

Table-mounted Bosch 1619EVS Plunge Router

I mounted the table on one of my rolling stands, trimmed it with some leftover mahogany, added a safety switch (actually a switch assembly from Dewalt's table saw that I really like and was able to purchase as a replacement part), and recently mounted some of my router bits on one side.

Plunge router

The "EVS" in the Bosch 1613EVS 2.25 HP router stands for "electronic variable speed." This is a very precise plunge router, a real pleasure to use. I suggest using high-quality, carbide-tipped, ½″ bits, for example, Whiteside⩘ .

Bosch 1613EVS Plunge Router

Palm router

Recently I picked up the Bosch PR20EVSK "Colt" 5.7 Amp 1-HP palm router because my next major project is an upgrade of our kitchen cabinets (something I'll probably do slowly over several years) and I'm thinking this router will be easier to maneuver in tight spaces and vertical applications.

Today, just to give the tool a test workout, I used it to square up the ends of a wide piece of glued-up maple that I'm going to use as stand for my hand miter saw (which I use for lamp making). It took me a couple passes to get used to holding the Colt—one hand wrapped around the barrel, the index finger and thumb of the other hand pressing down on the indentations you can see in the base—but once I got the hang of it, the router performed well.

Bosch PR20EVSK Router

I was a bit concerned that it would be underpowered, but it cut through the maple easily and cleanly. I paired it with a Freud 44-100 ½″ Flush Trimming Bit (¼″ shank, 1″ carbide cut), and ended up with a couple beautiful edges.

I'll need to use this router more before I can fully evaluate it and the other bases that came in the kit (tilt and offset), but my initial impressions are very positive.

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