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Handy power router £9.99!! review

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tombo

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A few months ago I saw a1/4 inch no brand router for sale in a local shed for about 16 quid and posted a question as to whether was the cheapest router on sale you can read about it here:-

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4242

On Friday I saw an even cheaper Nutool “Handy Power” router for sale at my local Maplins of all places! At just £9.99 curiosity got the better of me so I brought it home.



SHMBO is wise in the ways of sneaking tools into the house and I was busted before I even got through the door, I had to show her the receipt before she would believe that it cost less that my last router cutter! ‘Humph still a bloody tenner wasted…’ I heard her say as she cracked open the economy size vallium that she has taken up since the woodworking bug has bitten. At least we both have our own hobbies.:wink:

So what did I get in exchange for my tenner? Well quite a lot actually in addition to 1p change. In fact I was gobsmacked at what the box contained, so here is a list.

Handy Power router & handles
Fence and rails
Spanner
Dust extraction adapter
¼” and 8mm collets
Guide bush
8mm shank straight cutter
spare brushes for motor
circle cutting attachment
2 counter sunk screws and nuts
spurious spring ???





First impressions well the box and contents had a decidedly oily smell, but I guess that will fade. The router itself looks pretty good, the castings are painted silver, and the plastic body fits reasonably well but with a slightly raised edge at the joint between the motor housing body and top.

A thumbwheel speed control is located at the top and is marked from ‘A’ (the slowest 11500 rpm) and ‘G’ (the fastest 28000 rpm). For some reason when the fastest ‘G’ speed is selected there is a detent click, but none going in the other direction so it doesn’t really lock in this position.



The power cord is PVC but surprisingly flexible, unfortunately its only about 1.5 meters long. The switch is on the front and does not have any way to lock it in the ‘on’ position. The plunge lock mechanism is on the back and is a lever type not my favourite design but perfectly serviceable.

The guide bush is drilled is with the same PCD as trend so is compatible with all of the Trend accessories. The holes in the base aren’t threaded so require the use of the supplied nuts or the dust extraction adaptor to be in place. The phenolic plate on the base is cut out to accept the guide bush and holds it in place snugly.



But its not all good news, when I installed the bush and supplied cutter they were not concentric, the cutter was shifted about 1mm out of centre. I suppose you could still use the bush like this if you were running completely around a template as the errors would cancel in each direction, but if you wanted to use it with a single sided template like mortising for a hinge then the operation might be more tricky.



One thing that does stand out is the turret mechanism for the depth stop, the longest of the three threaded rods sticks up at an angle that is way out of vertical. On closer examination I discovered that the threaded hole is not straight causing the tilt. The detent for the turret itself is sprung but there is about 3mm up and down play. The stop is just a bar with a flat section along its length and although it literally falls out if the clamp is loosened, when tight there is no play. As it stands the whole depth stop arrangement is next to useless and the turret is a feature too far on this machine. It would be better to take the detent out and replace the pivot screw so it will be locked tight in one position. Although crude this would be a much better arrangement.



Before I could try out the machine I had to install a cutter and that is where the next problem is to be found. The collet nut does not seem to be concentric, with the wall of the nut being thicker at one side. In addition there is a bur on the inside of the nut left from the drilling operation and this was stopping the collet from seating properly.
To get round this I used the supplied cutter as a scraper to remove the bur, took about 10 minutes of hand pressure and the bur was gone.



To test the machine I installed the fence and tried a rebate, but as I pressed down to set the plunge the tip of the cutter deflected about 1-2 mm at the tip yikes! Seems there is quite a lot of slop on the plunge rails. Though when the plunge lock was engaged the side-to-side movement disappeared. I doubt that the cutter was still at 90 degrees to the base.

The machine is pretty easy to operate and the lack of a soft start did not seem to make much difference. However as I pushed through with the cut the plunge lock came loose and ruined the piece as I pressed completely through. Attempt number two was much better I tried a shallow dado, this time I kept hold of the plunge lock and everything went to plan. With a bit of practice I suppose you could adapt your technique to take account of the machines problems but you would have to be a more patient man than me.



Next I installed a round over cutter, which cost 50% more that the whole router package that it was installed in. The results were pretty good and I think this is the one area where a machine like this could earn a living. With bearing guided cutters all the accuracy has been engineered into the cutter all you really need to do is spin it near the wood and the cutter does the rest.



I was taken aback when I held the router on its side with the round over bit installed and ran the motor up to speed, I could see the bearing oscillating from side to side. Begad I hope the cutter is not bent. So in installed the cutter in my Makita and did the same, wobble gone phew. So some how the motor in the Handy Power is not spinning centrally as it should.

Holding the Makita again after messing with the Handy Power all day was a real joy. Its silky motor, smooth plunge and great handles make it a pleasure to use. The Makita is the only hand router I have ever used, (my T9 stays in my router table) and until now I have not had anything else to compare it to. Needles to say I wont be swapping to the Handy Power on a permanent basis.


£9.99 is an amazing price even for a tool even with as many flaws as I found. If you subtract transportation, import duty, and VAT, I can imagine that the whole thing must cost less than a fiver to produce. Who knows what sort of machine could be produced with a selling price of £19.99. So my Makita is better than the Handy Power, it better be it cost 20 times as much, but the underdog does have its place. I could imagine many situations where a router any router is better than no router at all, and when using bearing guided cutter you can get the Handy Power to perform as well as a more expensive tool.

Never did discover what the spring was for.

Finally what am I going to use the handy power for?? as you can gather its pretty unlikely that i would want to use it in preference to my Makita, so if anyone on the forum could give it a home...most humourous post gets it. I'll even pay for the postage!
 

Alf

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Ye gads! The Power Devil of hateful memory lives on. :shock: A tip to the future lucky owner of this monstrosity; take off the handles and all the T-knobs to use in jigs and such. Then throw it away before it can do any damage. :roll:

Tombo, that's a £200 review of a £10 tool; totally wasted on it, but very illuminating. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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Ye gads! The Power Devil of hateful memory lives on. A tip to the future lucky owner of this monstrosity; take off the handles and all the T-knobs to use in jigs and such. Then throw it away before it can do any damage.

's funny... exactly the same thought crossed my mind.... still seems over-priced..
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi tombo

Brilliant review, shame about the product.

You should move to Nottingham so that you were close to the Ferm factory shop.

You could then review their 6.99 router or 12.99 drills. :roll:

Cheers
Neil
 

tim

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Tombo":1h9sgtn5 said:
£9.99 is an amazing price even for a tool even with as many flaws as I found. If you subtract transportation, import duty, and VAT, I can imagine that the whole thing must cost less than a fiver to produce.
Once you also subtract materials and a profit margin, what's left for labour costs? Someone, somewhere is being exploited!


Just a thought.

T
 

smiffy

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I have just replaced my dead NUTOOL belt sander for a more serious Bosch 100mm and the differences are like night and day.

The Nutool was £25, came with 12 belts of different grades and it was not unusual to stand there sanding for days on end. It also had a two year warranty.

It was not until I tried the Bosch, which cost £200 and came with one belt that I realised what I fool I had been. It literally did the same kind of jobs in a very small fraction of the time spent on the NUTOOL.
The dust collection was also brilliant.

I wrongly thought that it did not matter how good the machine that was driving the belts as it was the belt that was the real tool. :oops:

I also had a cheap mitre saw go on fire. :shock:

It just underlines the point that we all know...It pays to be discerning when buying tools, the only problem we have is persuading SHMBO that.

I learned my lesson the hard way, but now I am a wee bit wiser I am not even going to bother claiming on my Nutool sanders warranty.

Cheers,
Ray.
 
A

Anonymous

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tombo":22hidvdl said:
so if anyone on the forum could give it a home...most humourous post gets it. I'll even pay for the postage!
I could give it a home! I am jealous. You see I don't own a router, even a ten pound one. I also suffer from feelings of inadequacy. Unlike most of my contemporary woodworking chums I still own all ten fingers, have never had a collet whizz out and embed itself in my abdomen, I have never had the opportunity to impale myself on a bandsaw, nor have I ever undergone ten hours of extensive surgery to have a piece of power-tool removed from my body, I have no amusing anecdotes to regale people with involving nail guns, step ladders, the neighbour's cat and a angle grinder that had been left running on the floor.

I used to cut my thumb a lot, when the tenon saw jumped out of the kerf, but I have developed a fairly tough patch on my thumb and I don't seem to be able to cut myself so easily any more. I think it is time I moved up into the exciting world of amputations, surgical steel pins and being on first name terms with local ambulance drivers. This router sounds like the perfect learning tool.

The features that particularly appeal to a newbie wishing to get his hands dirty (and, indeed, bloody) are:
but as I pressed down to set the plunge the tip of the cutter deflected about 1-2 mm at the tip
Nice
as I pushed through with the cut the plunge lock came loose
Cool
I was taken aback when I held the router on its side with the round over bit installed and ran the motor up to speed, I could see the bearing oscillating from side to side.
Tasty.

Seriously though, if you really want to give it away, and you haven't chucked it out, I would like it. I promise I'll be careful with it. I'll PM you my address, if you want.

You can keep the spare spring.
 

tombo

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John George... so far your the only taker pm your address and i'll send it on its way. Be careful with it i wouldn't want the thought of one of your ripped off digits on my mind :shock: though i am pretty sure its safe, just not very accurate

Tom
 

Knot Competent

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John, you need to buy a flak jacket and tin helmet, and make sure your life insurance is paid up. That thing will fling bits at you at incredible speeds, as the collet becomes more and more difficult to tighten. It will however give you an appetite for routing, and I recommend the Triton. From hell to heaven in one purchase!

Regards, John
 
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Anonymous

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Alf":1wtktpdx said:
Knot Competent":1wtktpdx said:
It will however give you an appetite for routing
Yeah, with a #71... :roll: :lol:

Cheers, Alf
Just direct me to the thread where someone is giving away a free #71 and I'm there!! :D
 

tombo

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John,

router now on its way to you, of course you are now obliged to post your thoughts on it and show us any work that get trashed by it.

Have fun
Tom
 

Bean

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Hang on everybody I built 2 small green houses with the power devil version of those, I still have it as i dropped it and broke the base, and no I'm not sad that i replaced it with something more meaningful :D

Bean
 
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Anonymous

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Sorry to take so long replying to this. I got the router safe and sound. I haven't been able to try it out yet, but I have been extremely busy (the roof has developed a leak, among other things).

But I shall try to post some pics and thoughts about using it when I get a round tuit.

Thanks again.
 

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