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I receive a number of emails asking what router is best to use on my woodrat, or can I use my existing one?
Will plunge bars fit? Must I use a half inch router? I have purchased a very cheap 'XYZ' at the local DIY store and have I bought a bargain? etc etc.
I think that it is fair to say that just about any plunge router can be used but my personal preference is for something not too heavy and with a good cutter visibility. The router base plate mounting holes need to either align with the 'Rat pre-drilled ones or be very different. Otherwise there is a risk of breaking into the existing 'Rat router plate holes.
Well the truth is since I have not used more than two, I cannot give a truly knowledgeable answer. To this end, I hope to place your comments here and if possible a photo.
Please contribute your input!!
Anyone using a Festo, Freud, DeWalt, Ryobi, Makita, Power Devil, Bosch, Holtzer, Einhell, Trend, Draper, Ferm, Perles, Fein, Porter-Cable, Power Pro?
Also refer to the Woodrat forum on the thread dated Dec11 2003
I use an Elu MOF96E 900w (no longer in production but similar to the Trend T5 ) It fits on my full woodrat with no modification and takes standard plunge bars. It has 'soft' start and and variable speed adjustment. To allow me to use a bar to run between adjustable stops, I do not use a lower plunge bar but found no problem in use. It accepts 1/4" and 8mm collets, has good plunge depth and cutter visibility. Basic vertical sliding bar depth setting. It is light and easy to use. Twist handle to plunge lock. Still working well after 6 years. No dust extraction. Can't use 1/2 inch cutters and a bit noisy in use.
I used the Elu MOF96E, it is currently under repair because the main spindle has developed a crack. In use on the woodrat the plunge bar stopped me using my homemade limit stops on the aluminium guide rails because the plunge bar took away the "stop bar". I made an over elaborate additional "stop bar" holder which was shown on the web site before last, which fitted in front of the router base.
I now have a Hitachi M12V which is very powerful and noisy. The depth adjustment is a little crude but it works. Using 1/2" cutters is fine but I have had problems with 1/4" cutters walking out of the collet reducer and have not resolved this problem. I have made the top half of my version of a plunge bar so that I can retain the "stop bar" function. I have plans for a lower half which will not require the guide bar slot, but so far I just rely on pulling down on the top bar! I have experimented with a crude dust extractor chute at the back of the router base with mixed results - it really needs a circular "half doughnut" to be more effective.
Both routers are difficult to dust extract on the woodrat.
Axminster 635R is a cheap ¼” 8mm router sold in
different guises by many chain stores etc. Unfortunately many people
are dismissive of it, even sneer at it. Yet for all that attitude
towards it Which? Magazine gave it a Best Buy Rating in a comparative
test they did last summer.
As a hand held router I certainly have found it to give very precise and accurate cuts and it is great for the little jobs requiring a lightweight hand held router, and I thoroughly recommended it for that use. Okay so it does suffer from the bug bear of all cheap routers, side rock on the plunge columns. But that is eliminated when the plunge lock is used, and thus becomes a non issue.
However, from personal experience I would not recommend it for use on the Woodrat. Firstly the plunge depth is severely restricted. It is only 42 mm to start with. 17 mm is lost due to the combined thickness of the Woodrat base plate and router mounting plate. Then another 5 mm is lost due to the bottom of the motor casing contacting the nuts used to secure the router to the mounting plate. Mind you I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that this last problem is equally applicable to all small routers that have mounting holes set close in to the centre of the router. i.e. those that pick up on the narrowly spaced set of pre-drilled holes that adorns the as manufactured router plate. The end result of all of this is that the ¼” shank cutters don’t protrude very far below the Woodrat base plate.
The problem of plunge depth can’t really be cured by using longer reach 8 mm shank cutters. My experience is that when the Axminster is mounted on the "Rat" it does not like 8 mm shank cutters which, are somewhat longer in length than ¼” shank items. The dimensional errors in the cuts produced was substantial, with the larger diameter straight cutters in particular just hacking their way through the wood. The router is after all only of 850 watts power.
The final problem is trying to use plunge bars with it. It takes the Type B plunge bars, but with the bars in place, they restrict the movement of the plunge lock lever, which effectively renders the plunge lock inoperative.
I use a Festo Router OF 1400,plunge depth 70mm, 1400 W. I have collets of 8mm 12mm and 1/2"
Mortise depth with woodrat bit: 45mm(with clamping depth in collet 23mm)
At your investigation in routers for the woodrat, it might be interesting which depth you can rout at mortise or tenons with the standard woodrat bit so as to compare the routers.
Aldel: This appears to be a quality router but with the fence bar holes at 90 degrees to the normal. This means that a purpose made plunge arrangement is required. See Rolf's photo of his version on the Woodrat forum July 10 2004.
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