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Trim Routers

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by morpheus83uk, 7 Nov 2018.

  1. morpheus83uk

    morpheus83uk

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    Hello,

    I have now found that I need to do some detail work and work on some smaller pieces of wood where a trim router would be best. I am looking for recommendations for the router and the bits. What size? Plunge vs fixed base? Interchangeable bases? How does dust extraction work? What sort of size router bits would I need 1/4"?

    All suggestions welcome.

    Thanks

    James
     
  2. EddieM

    EddieM

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    I have one of these which you could consider. But I have to admit.... ahem... I've not actually used it!
     
  3. morpheus83uk

    morpheus83uk

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    Thanks what is a tilt base and what is it used for?
     
  4. Notch7

    Notch7

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  5. endecotp

    endecotp

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    I have one of these Bosch ones, which were on special offer at the time:

    https://www.screwfix.com/p/bosch-gkf600-600w-palm-router-240v/68002

    (I see they are currently £20 off.)

    It’s a decent tool for lightweight jobs, e.g. rounding over an edge, but it’s not really sufficient for making big holes; I have sometimes tried to remove most of the wood with a drill and then tidied up with the router.

    I don’t have the optional plunge base; it is quite expensive compared to the router itself.

    It does produce a lot of fine dust and there’s no specific extraction solution. I tend to use it outside when I can.
     
  6. EddieM

    EddieM

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    Bevelling, I'd imagine.
     
  7. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    The three main models on the UK market are the Makita RT0700, the Bosch GKS600 and the deWalt. I'd discount the Bosch straight away as it doesn't have variable speed, a very handy feature. I did have a Bosch a number of years back for laminate trimming and it was OK, but as others have said the plunge base is a bit pricey, so when I replaced it it was a straight choice between the DW and the Makita for me. The DW has more power, but against that it is physically quite chunky and I found it uncomfortable in fixed base mode (too big and heavy for prolonged use). So I opted for the Makita in the end

    Plunge vs. fixed - the fixed base I need because I still do an amount of laminate trimming work, e.g. trimming laminate worktop ends, but it's also very handy for doing stuff like hinge recessing and general recessing of ironmongery such as flush bolts into doors, where a small base footprint is essential, but all these routers suffer from poor work visibiity in that mode. The plunge base gives me effectively a small plunge router which can be used for various edge profiling tasks, but which will also take a guide bushing allowing it to be used for template work. The Makita has a limited depth of plunge but TBH on the scale of work you can undertake with a 1/4in router it isn't really a minus

    Dust extraction - isn't brilliant on either the Bosch or the Makita, in point of fact it tends to get in the way and drag you off line (more so on the fixed base), so I often dispense with it as the amount of dust being produced isn't huge on the smaller cuts

    AFAIK the DW and the Makita both accommodate 1/4in shank and 8mm shank cutters (I sometimes use 8mm on my Makita). The Bosch is definitely limited to 1/4in shank only. The small collet sizes (after all all three models are basically up-scaled laminate trimmers) means that you shouldn't really use large diameter cutters on them but limit yourself to, say, 12mm diameter. The vibration you may get trying to run cutters at 30,000 rpm means that having a variable speed option makes for safer routing. The 8mm collet is an optional extra

    Pretty much everything that will fit an RT0700 will fit the Katsu - I bought one as a second (backup) trimmer complete with the fixed, plunge and tilting bases (and mine is 110 volt). Quality isn't bad although the fit and finish isn't as good. Probably a good buy to someone on a budget. Best price is direct from AIM Tools in London (the importer)

    Bevelling is more easily and safely achieved with a bearing guided bevelling bit IMHO. Actually the tilt base is designed for bevel-edge trimming of laminate overhangs on joinery work. TBH I have yet to find a use for it on anything other than that - it is rather difficult to control and is best used with the base running against a fixed straight edge. There is also an offset base which is used for laminate trimming where tops are being relaminated in-situ and scribes to walls are required. Both rather specialised bases unless you do much lamination

    Out of interest it may be worth looking at other tools such as the Trend T4 if all you need is a small plunge router

    For site work where a cordless solution is far more flexible I've now gone over to the Makita DSRT50Z which uses 18 volt Li-Ion batteries, It is completely compatible with the RT0700/Katsu bases but has the advantage over the corded tools of incorporating a pair of LED lights giving better visibility of the work ares (essential on poorly lit sites). Decent run time, too
     
  8. morpheus83uk

    morpheus83uk

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    Thank you all for your replies I will have a look at all your recommendations.

    @JobAndKnock you mentioned the Dewalt but which model are you referring to so I can have a look at it?

    Thanks

    James
     
  9. bobasd

    bobasd

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    OP, you started by saying you intended to work on smaller pieces of wood - if thats the case its not recommended for safety reasons, esp if you intend to do this work without clamping the small piece in a jig.
    for myself, working on laminate sheets or edging i find it much quicker to glue up, let it set and then simply break off at the edge an file off the arris with a small flat ssmoothin file.
    unless you are a production finish joiner i dont see the need for these routers.
    but others probly more experienced than me do like to use them.
     
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  10. big-all

    big-all

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  11. morpheus83uk

    morpheus83uk

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    Hello,

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I have spent all day looking at different trim routers and what seems to be coming out on top for me is the Makita RT0700. The reviews seem to be good, its been recommended here too! What do people think of it?

    Also I am looking at the 30 piece trend 1/4" starter set so I have some common bits to use when I get it as I only have 1/2" currently. I am also looking at purchasing the CMT lettering bit as I am going to be doing some freehand routing making a few signs too. Does anyone have any thoughts on these bits?

    Thanks

    James
     
  12. big-all

    big-all

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  13. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Not a bad piece of kit. Nicely finished. Very popular amongst site carpenters I've worked with for doing small scale stuff like hinge recessing, slide bolt recessing, corner rounding, chamfering, etc. The DRT50 cordless version is becoming more common as well. I now see a lot of Makita trimmers as opposed to deWalt or Bosch. I'd still have to say that if you want more bang for your buck the Katsu is the way to go (at £30 or so for the basic model you can't really go wrong). Only downside to any of the corded routers is that none of them appear to have worklights - the cordless models do - so it may be necessary to buy a third party LED light kit if you find visibility of the work area when freehanding letters an issue

    Like any set there may be a lot of stuff in there that you simply never use (for example dovetail bit). Having used the 1/2in version I'd also have to say that the shanks are a bit on the short side and that the bearings on the bearing guided cutters are too small (which means they have a tendency to dig-in in soft grain). I the plu side the straight cutters are metric sizes (some cheap sets are Imperial which can make things awkward if you work in metric). Personally, I wouldn't recommend them for serious use, although they are better than a lot of Chinese-sourced sets. In my view it is better to spend the same money on fewer, better quality bits for the tasks you know you'll be doing than get a set. But that;'s me. Also these sets are lower-grade (Chinese?) cutters and really aren't up to the standard of the rest of the Trend range

    CMT isn't a bad brand, although a bit pricey in the UK, but there are some worthwhile alternatives such as Wealden Tool, Whiteside and Infinity who can also do lettering bits. Even Rutlands offer quite a range of router cutters
     
    Last edited: 28 Nov 2018
  14. morpheus83uk

    morpheus83uk

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    Thank you.

    I did notice about the LED light but I wasent sure if it was required. I will be working in the garage which is pretty bright so it should be fine. Does the Makita have a direct cordless replacement with the LED light?

    Also would there be any power difference between corded and cordless?

    I have had a look at infinity and the others and the infinity and CMT seem to be the same price. Which is the better quality?

    Thanks

    James
     
  15. big-all

    big-all

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    corded tend to be far more powerful than any battery tool but brushless are now approaching the 50% range on 18v and 75-100% on 36-54v tools but at a cost
    i have a brushless dewalt dcd996 hammer drill its 870w on full power at 18v thats 5 mins on a 4ah battery off course you will be on perhaps 10-20 power most off the time so last for an hour or so
     
    Last edited: 30 Nov 2018
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