Popular Woodworking 2007-06 № 162, страница 37

Popular Woodworking 2007-06 № 162, страница 37

One feature can get in the way of another. To change bases on the Ridgid and Freud routers, the spindle lock must be depressed.

Location and direction of the plunge-release lever is also important. Some, such as the Milwaukee, release when pushed down. Others lock when the lever is pushed down.

on the nuts and tighten them without slipping.

The Freud had the easiest-to-reach spindle lock location, but the nut can only be tightened using the spindle lock. The Porter-Cable, DeWalt and Ridgid all have either a second nut or flat areas on the motor shaft so the collet can be tightened with two wrenches if that's your choice or if the lock wears out.

Switch Operation

I think of routing as a two-handed operation, and I want to be able to reach the switch while both my hands are on the router. The DeWalt had the most convenient switch; I barely had to move my thumb to flip the toggle switch. The Milwaukee, Bosch and Craftsman were almost as good; I only had to stretch my hand a little to reach the switch.

The Freud switch is in a good location, but the switch was difficult to move. The Hitachi and Makita have the switch on top of the motor housing, which requires you to take one hand off the router to operate it. The Porter-Cable and Ridgid also require taking one hand off the router to reach the switch, and these were also stiff.

Vibration

Excessive vibration can be a sign of poor motor quality, and can lead to lack of control, user fatigue and poor cut quality. I placed each router on my bench and watched for movement like in the electric football game I had when I was a kid. I held each one and felt for vibration, and also compared the vibration I felt while routing.

The Milwaukee was the clear winner and was a pleasure to work with. The Ridgid and Freud were close, followed in order by the Makita, Hitachi, DeWalt, Porter-Cable and Bosch. The Craftsman had the most vibration.

changing Bases

When changing the router motor from one base to the other, I want the process to be quick, simple, obvious and solid. The Milwaukee was my favorite; there was no confusion about which way to place the motor, and it clamped down in both bases without hassle.

The Hitachi, Bosch, Craftsman, DeWalt and Porter-Cable were almost as easy. In these there was a bit of aligning and some twists here and there before locking the motor in place, but I encountered no major problems.

With the Freud and the Ridgid, things were more complicated. With these, the spindle lock must be depressed to remove the motor from the base. If these are mounted in a table, there are two steps to release the motor.

The Makita is the only one of the group without a clamp to hold the motor to the base. It locks in its plunge base by loosening or tightening a Phillips-head screw.

Plunge action and locks

The plunge mechanism needs to work smoothly and without noticeable play. I want the plunge spring to be strong enough to raise the motor completely. The Porter-Cable, DeWalt and Milwaukee were the best on these points.

The Bosch and Craftsman were smooth in action, but the springs seemed a little weak. The Makita and Hitachi weren't quite as smooth as the others, but had strong springs. The Ridgid and Freud were noticeably sloppy in their plunge action.

The plunge lock holds the plunge depth, and it's often engaged while the router is running so it's important that it be simple and safe. There are two different types of locks used by routers in the test.

The Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, Craftsman and Hitachi

release the lock when you press down on the lever. The DeWalt, Porter-Cable, Ridgid and Freud engage the lock when you push down on the lever.

With the lever-down-to-release routers, the motion stops when you release the lever, but you need to pull the lever completely up to lock the plunge action. If the

lock isn't completely engaged, it is possible for the router to drop as it is pushed into the work.

I prefer this method, because when the lever is released during a plunge cut, the action stops. But other woodworkers prefer the second system because there is no intermediate, partially locked position. If you already own a

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