Plunge Saw and Router advice

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Hi everyone, I'm wanting to take advantage of the last few days of the January sales and looking into buying a saw and router for making some small cabinets, boxes, shelving and drawers. I've done some research and *think I know what I need/want and just want advice/validation if my research is sound or if I've overlooked anything. My workspace is very tiny; a courtyard, garden and a converted coal shed. I've got a folding table, a work mate bench and a pair of hobby horses. If needs be, my old man who lives close by has a very generous shed and garage space but I would rather go solo if I can.

For dimensioning and ripping sheets a table saw seems like it is going to be impractical. I don't have the space for a 2nd hand cast iron table saw and compact solutions like Dewalt job site/contractor saws will eat up my budget and I've heard that they are extremely noisy. Watching Pete Millard's YT channel, it looks like a good track/plunge saw will do everything I need from a table saw and probably more. Festool kits are also pushing my budget; there have been some good sale deals on the recently retired model but it looks like most places are out of stock. Mafell are def. out of my league, but I understand the Bosch GKT 55 is essentially a pared down version of the Mafell. At the minute Screwfix have it at the cheapest price with the saw, blade and box. Axminster have the 1.6m Bosch FSN Rails on sale at the minute. 1 rail and the bare unit kit will both come under £400 if I go for this combo (plus you get a free Bosch hoodie if I buy before end of Jan :whistle: ). I am not planning on ripping anything bigger than half sheets at the minute and I can always buy another rail and connector when the time comes. I am aware of the kickback risk with the Bosch but I most likely will use a router for anything that requires a mid sheet cut or dado anyway. I am thinking it is worth spending on a better regarded saw than a budget option as it seems people say you have a better user experience and save a fair bit of time by getting things right first time.

Unfortunately my budget for a router won't be as much. I am looking for something that is a good combination of power and size whilst also being user friendly. I quite like the look of the Triton MOF001 router as it is on budget, not too bulky, can plunge or be fixed, has fine adjustment, decent power at 2 1/4 HP, can take 1/2" and 1/4" collets and can be used in a table. Online it looks like the main complaints are that it relies on too much plastic in its construction and that it is not as compatible with other brand's eco-systems. For diy hobby use I don't need it to be able to withstand the stresses of a job site tool, and it looks like the Bosch FSN router adapter can be drilled if the Triton's quick fix pins aren't compatible. It looks like Toolstation have it cheapest in stock. I know that my argument for spending more for a saw may also apply to a router, but I need some room in the budget to buy some other essentials like wood, a small vac, some quality router bits, and I also need some better bits for my drill press for metal work.

I hope my thinking process makes sense, let me know if I am missing out on any key considerations or if people have alternative suggestions based on their experience. Thanks if you've read this far!
 

Essex Barn Workshop

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I like your choices, and buying from SF or TS both mean that any problems they will replace pretty much hassle free.
Both units you mention are, in my opinion, up to the work you describe.
Good luck and keep us all posted.
 

Spectric

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Watching Pete Millard's YT channel, it looks like a good track/plunge saw will do everything I need from a table saw and probably more.
The tracksaw is great for sheet goods, if you want to rip a length of 4 by 2 down then wrong tool. The sliding table saw is the ultimate choice if you have the money and the space, otherwise a tracksaw is ideal for those with less space like myself. I use a 110 volt corded Makita which works really well and kickback is not an issue, most saws do not have a riving knife and with sheet goods should not be a problem. Look in these threads as there was a good one about tracksaws and good info from @JobandKnock that led me to purchase the Makita.

The Triton routers are good in a bench, I have the TRA 001 but there are better solutions, for a handheld router you want it to take guide bushes as they can make the router so much more versatile, may be an issue with the Triton. If you could spend a bit more then the Dewalt 625 is a great choice, I have one in my Woodrat and another for handheld use but make sure you get the fence option, a second fence is also handy on narrow stock.

quality router bits,
Wealdon tools or Infinity


 

woodieallen

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I'm not impressed these days with the quality of Trend routers, to be honest.
 

seanf

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I quite like the look of the Triton MOF001
I am still new to the world of woodworking, but have been a DIYer for many years. I recently got to have a play around with the Triton MOF001 and also its smaller brother the JOF001. I thought both were very good, but the quick depth adjustment by turning the round side handle on the MOF001 would make it preferable for use in a router table as you could get your depth as close to your requirements in one second flat and then use the above table handle for fine adjustments. In the end I purchased a Trend router and table simply because I found a good price online, plus an eBay discount voucher and could collect it from a shop just 30 minutes from me. I would have otherwise gone with the Triton

Sean
 

Bojam

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I have the Bosch GKT55 and have found it to be a quality tool. I use it to rip and crosscut tropical hardwoods which it does without complaint. The supplied blade is decent but consider buying a pack of the Freud blades (pack of 2 including a 24T rip blade and a 48T crosscut blade). Switching blades is quick and easy and the cut quality is definitely superior.

Only ever experienced kickback once and that was user error (accidentally moving the saw back slightly while plunging). And you can buy a little anti-kickback device from Bosch to fit to the track which should prevent this.

The Bosch rails are excellent. I have 3 x 800mm lengths which join robustly and very straight when required with the solid plate and cam system. I like the short lengths to use on the workbench. I rarely need to join more than two together. If you have or plan on making a MFT style bench or cutting station then the Benchdogs fence and other accessories take the set up to the next level (see Benchdogs.co.uk).

One of the tracks came as part of the FSN OFA 32 kit with the router adaptor plate and rail clamps. I also have two Bosch routers, the big GMF1600 which can be used handheld or mounted under table. I leave the fixed base permanently set up in the router plate and switching the motor is quick and easy. I also have the GKF600 trimmer. Both are compatible with the router adaptor so can be used with the track system.

I’m not a Bosch fanboy! I know that there’s a lot of quality tools out there of many colours. I just chose the Bosch system because of the pricing and the good reviews from people like Matt Estlea (see his YouTube channel if not familiar). It made sense to buy into the system given that the jigsaw and routers, as well as the plunge saw, can be used with the track making them more versatile.

I’d certainly go Bosch (or similar mid-range pro grade) over the cheap kit if you can. Worth the extra investment imho. If you can stretch to the Bosch GMF1600 then consider it as it’s a solid and well engineered mid-range router. I’ve never found it lacks power even when table routing with large cutters. Otherwise I would suggest buying a router that is definitely compatible with the router adaptor so you can use it with the track system. You might not use that functionality often but it does come in handy.

Hope that helps. Happy to answer any questions about the Bosch kit.
 

baldkev

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As far as kit goes, do you want corded or cordless or not fussed? Ive got makita and dewalt 18v kit ( site carpenter ) and would recommend makita 18v ( both are good though ) at this stage instead of tripping over cables. It'll cost more though.

The most important thing i can recommend is to make sure your sheet material is supported properly and flat all the way along its length ( be it 4x2s on your trestles etc )
The reason is, if one side of the board is sagging as you progress through your cut, the risk of binding and kickback increases..... especially at the end of the cut. The board needs to be very flat. Some people use a sheet of celotex under their sheet goods to support it ( good idea ) and because space is an issue, one of our members cut a sheet of celotex up and using duct tape, created a concertina affair, so it folds down into 400 x 1200 by maybe 6" thick
 

TRITON

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If youre in a workshop thought theres little need for cordless beyond maybe a screw driver. Things like routers use a lot of power and being plugged into the mains will supply it without question.On such a thing as a router the powers going to drop off long before the battery has reached the end of its power.
 
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baldkev

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On my makita palm router, it slows down at maybe 15% bettery left, which for me is a good time to swap it out
The circular saws tend to run until it cuts out
 
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Thanks everyone for the incredibly informative replies, wow, a lot to think about! I must definitely hide this forum from my wife as she will see it as more people enabling my Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I've got the whole "it'll be cheaper to build it myself dear, so no need to go to Ikea (but secretly knowing it will cost twice as much and take twice as long)" thing going on.

@baldkev - not really fussed over cordless, the power sockets will be pretty close by anyway. Although I like the idea of an all in one, if there isn't a power lead to trip over, i'll probably just trip over the vac hose instead! I was definitely thinking of using a sacrificial layer or some form of base board. Thanks for the tip for the celotex, duct tape to the rescue!

@Bojam - good to hear your feedback on the saw and that kickback is more user error rather than a design flaw. Would love to design and build my own MFT one day and the benchdog range looks like pretty sexy kit. I watched Matt Estlea's video on the GMF1600 (and the GKT 55 one), what a gorgeous piece of kit, but so expensive! One day though.

Thanks everyone for the advice on the trend routers, I've been looking into them today.

@Spectric - thanks for the useful advice, I'll keep that in mind about 2 x 4s, hopefully not looking at doing any big framing work yet, in the absence of a sliding table saw would a straight-up circular saw be an alternative? Thanks for the links for the router bits, definitely happy to support UK made tools. The dewalt 625 looks nice but cheapest one I could find is just over a £100 more than the MOF001 or Trend T10, which could go towards 3 - 4 of the wealden router bits. That Woodrat looks like a beast! I think I need a good many hours of routing experience under my belt before I can even figure out how that thing works! Also excellent advice about bushing and fences, I had forgot to consider that. The Trend bushes look very reasonably priced, plus they also sell a guide plate/adaptor for the tritons as well. I think both the t10 and MOF001 come with a side fence.

@Essex Barn Workshop - yep, the no-hassle ability to return and exchange with SF & TS is a plus. They are also close to home, and Axminster have a branch in the midlands less than an hour's drive from me as well.

For the price, I think the GKT55 plunge saw is a no brainer, especially when compared to a Mafell. So I ended up buying the bare bones kit (saw, blade, box + free hoodie) from screwfix and ordered a 1.6m FSN rail from Axminster, all for a few quid shy of £400. The router was a bit more of an agonising decision though. Narrowing it down to the Triton MOF001 (cheapest), Trend T10, Dewalt 625, and Bosch GMF600 (most expensive). As much as I would love to buy the GMF600, I just can't afford it. The Dewalt 625 and the MOF001 both have fine adjustment, the T10 doesn't. The T10 and Dewalt have more wattage, the Triton seems easiest to use as a table router. Given that I have to factor in router bits, materials, and a dedicated vac (I'll likely go with the cheap Wickes vac that is recommended in the forum) I am happy that the budget conscious choice is the Triton, especially knowing that the trend bushes can be cheaply adapted for it.

Thanks for all the sage advice everyone, I will certainly be back to badger for more advice along the way!
 

JobandKnock

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For dimensioning and ripping sheets a table saw seems like it is going to be impractical. I don't have the space for a 2nd hand cast iron table saw and compact solutions like Dewalt job site/contractor saws will eat up my budget and I've heard that they are extremely noisy.
I have a DW745 - and yes, that type of saw is really noisy, but unless you have the space to set of a large (say 1.5 metre) run off table plus adequate side support tables even a cast iron table will be no good to you - to rip down an 8 x 4ft sheet on a table saw takes at least 22ft x 8ft, give or take (allowing 2ft at each end of the saw to move around it. For doing 4ft crosscuts you can work out how much space you need, I'm sure

I understand the Bosch GKT 55 is essentially a pared down version of the Mafell.
Not really. It is a similar design, not the same design, but it shares the Mafell-style tracks which I suspect are made by Bosch (they own their own aluminium extrusion factory for making machine builder profile so I don't see them buying-in from Mafell). I bought an older one last year for a cement board flooring job and it is a competent saw

I am thinking it is worth spending on a better regarded saw than a budget option as it seems people say you have a better user experience and save a fair bit of time by getting things right first time.
Firstly I'll hold my hand up and admit that I have presently a Festool TS55, a Bosch GKT55CE and a Makita DSP600 (cordless). All rather similar. If you are on a budget I'd suggest maybe looking at the Makita (which is cheaper than the Bosch) and maybe putting the difference towards a better router. This is just a thought. All three of the saws I mentioned are competent. Just watch out for the comments from the fanboys who'll tell you that brand so and so is better - TBH none of them are worth £200 to £250 above the price of the cheapest trade tool to the vast majority of potential users. Whatever else, regardless of make all plunge/rail saws are much more pleasant to use if hooked up to a decent vac - and a cheap shop vac with a cheap pre-filter cyclone plumbed-in in front of it will be nearly as effective as a trade vacuum

I quite like the look of the Triton MOF001 router as it is on budget, not too bulky, can plunge or be fixed, has fine adjustment, decent power at 2 1/4 HP, can take 1/2" and 1/4" collets and can be used in a table.
An alternative to consider might be the Trend T11. Can be used inverted in a router table, best design of collets on the market (same design that both Mafell an Festool subsequently adopted for their 1/2in routers) but not sure if it will fit the FSN adaptor (and BTW the FSN adaptor also runs of Festool/Makita-style guide rails). Again, just a thought

Edit: Sorry, but having typed up this response I didn't send it - work sort of got in the way!

One point I will make is that you said that the T10 doesn't have a fine adjuster. That's not strictly true. The design of the Trend T10 and deWalt DW625 does allow for a fine adjuster - it's this Trend FHA/003:
Trend FHA_003 Depth Adjuster.jpg

The only difference is that this needs to be used from beneath the table, not through the top of the table like the T11 and MOF001. These (and variations) have been around for a lot of different routers (from Trend) for many, many years
 
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Spectric

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Just watch out for the comments from the fanboys who'll tell you that brand so and so is better - TBH none of them are worth £200 to £250 above the price of the cheapest trade tool to the vasty majority of potential users.
I have come to the conclusion it is psychological, those little green bits play tricks with the mind and convince the person they are now a master carpenter.

If the Dewalt 625 is a bit heavy for your needs Dewalt did do a DW622 which has been mentioned on these forums before but seems to be no longer available, anyone know if it has been dropped by Dewalt?
 

TominDales

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A few more things to consider.....
Router - Triton
I've used a large Triton for several years hassle free - similar to the one you are looking at, one issue that crept up recently was the hight adjustment from table undermouting started to slip when the depth stop is not locked. This has been reported on this forum see below, but I found that locking the depth stop works ok for me.
Its big and heavy, mine is set into a table and works great in that setting. I don't and wouldn't like to use it freehand as its so heavy. I use it with 1/2 bits. I tend to use hand tools or a smaller electric router for freehand. You can make or buy a very solid router table with a good fence quite cheaply. - actually they are about 200% more expensive than a couple of years ago! I got one of these for £100 a few years back now £195 from Mr Bezos etc. Need a flat solid top and some T track if making yourself.
1643543258190.png



Hand held and bit sizes for router
The biggest dilemma for the amateur is bits. Basically lightweight handheld end to use 1/4 bits or similar metric whilst the powerful bigger ones use 1/2. I chose to go down the bench mounted option and have a collection of 1/2 bits. I tend to use and like using hand tools for freehand work, spokeshave, plane etc. But did eventually buy a smaller router for a job that needed a lot of edging by hand. I therefore have a couple of 1/4 bits. But resisting getting a full set of both sizes. As others have said get a router with a fence.

Dimensioning saw
This is probably the hardest choice in setting up your shop. As you and everyone says dont go down the cheap TS route, noisy inaccurate and hazard issues.

Tracksaw
Whilst I don't have a tracksaw, I've read a number of threads on this forum that speak positively about them, so you probably wont regret going down this route, HOWEVER it will only really do one job well, so you will still be faced with further investment. Whilst the ideal is a small sliding table saw of high quality, these are hard to come by or expensive. The other option is a good bandsaw, bad saw is less scary than a TS and smaller footprint. Doesn't do everything of a TS but between a tracksaw and a bandsaw you cover a lot of bases. When I started out a small skillsaw was the first power tool I bought. That and hand tools were enough.

Get the supplier to dimension that stock.
One thing to consider is to get the shop that sells the timber to dimension it for you, in my experience on big jobs they are happy to do that on their quality machines. You can then do the rest by hand or with your new track saw.

Sheet materials
I find I need to do this outside as my garage doesn't have the space. Once the sheets are cut down then they can come back in. You may need to consider that, so think power outside etc. A couple of trestles and as Baldkev said, you need to properly support the work. I tend to use an old skillsaw and a strait piece of wood clamped at each end. BUT I quite often dimension by hand with a good hand saw. If you take care you can get a strait cut, that can be planned or routed smooth.
If you are starting out, I recommend doing quite a bit by hand to start with, you acquire skill and a feeling for the wood that makes machining easier and a lot less dust. Not an option if churning out a lot of stuff, but for one off jobs and hobbies its almost as quick as setting up a machine tool and a lot less scary.

Chop saw.
If you don't have one, that is a good tool for cross cuts, you can get a really good quality and precision on mitres and bevels, decent ones aren't that costly.

Dust handling
Fine dust is a real problem with machine tools. Worth at the outset getting a good shop vaccuum or adapt an old vacuum cleaner (that has plenty of suck) - lots of advice on the forum on how to make adaptors, traps etc. I made this mistake when first bought a circular saw and was quite ill during the first winter with very low blood oxygen for months. Ever since I've got a vac to all the power tools. Some woods like oak give off toxic dust, but even pine and other dust clogs the lungs. You read of woodworkers on this forum who had to retire due to lung damage.


Summary
I bit of a can of worms, although I don't have a tack saw, you probably wont go wrong with that choice of route, but you will still have other issues with dimensioning. Personally I'm happy with my Triton - one thing I've found is after adjusting the hight with the hight you need to turn the locking clamp or it will move with larger bits, ok with small ones, but not larger ones so need that extra step with larger bits.https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/threads/triton-mof-001-height-adjustment-advice-in-table-mode.110327/

Best wishes with your shop, you dont have to spend too much to get going.
 

Bristol_Rob

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I'd like to give you a curve ball to consider.

Consider the drool tools you can't afford in your budget and then check the second hand market.
I've seen a lot of quality tools in good condition for a fair price.

But remember, if the tool looks like it's been kicked up & down a building site - it probably has so ignor those.

You can easily see the tools that have had little use.

I've bought lots of quality second hand power tools and never had an issue. But I have saved a lot 💰
 

recipio

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After you have broken down a ply sheet you then have to make square cuts to your finished dimension. I don't own a track saw and have a small shed like you so like you I have to take the sheet outside and roughly cut with a jigsaw and finish it on a tablesaw. At least I know I can get good dedicated blades for cleanly cutting laminates and panel boards and often swap out the blade for the optimum performance. Just make sure you can get a good range of blades for whatever track saw you buy - I don't think there is one blade that 'does it all' :rolleyes:
 

JobandKnock

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I have come to the conclusion it is psychological, those little green bits play tricks with the mind and convince the person they are now a master carpenter.
I must be a super master carpenter in that case - I have corded tools by Hilti, Festool and Mafell... :ROFLMAO: Basically they are all just means to an end, though, nothing more.

If the Dewalt 625 is a bit heavy for your needs Dewalt did do a DW622 which has been mentioned on these forums before but seems to be no longer available, anyone know if it has been dropped by Dewalt?
I read a recommendation for the DW622 somewhere on the net a few years back and bought one. A nice little router with bags of power; almost the power of a "proper" 1/2in router at a little more than the size of a MOF96e/DW615. I think the reason they disappeared was simply that the DW625 was almost always being offered cheaper. A pity, because the DW622 has better dust extraction than either the DW625/T10/T11 or the DW615/T5 but is a lot smaller and lighter whilst giving you1400 watts to play with and a 1/2in collet. The next tool "down" from that, and a bit easier to source, is the DW621. It is almost identical other than having only 1200 watts and an 8mm max. collet (oddly, though, in the USA it comes with a completely different collet system and a 1/2in collet - the two systems are not interchangeable)
 

TominDales

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I read a recommendation for the DW622 somewhere on the net a few years back and bought one. A nice little router with bags of power; almost the power of a "proper" 1/2in router at a little more than the size of a MOF96e/DW615. I think the reason they disappeared was simply that the DW625 was almost always being offered cheaper. A pity, because the DW622 has better dust extraction than either the DW625/T10/T11 or the DW615/T5 but is a lot smaller and lighter whilst giving you1400 watts to play with and a 1/2in collet. The next tool "down" from that, and a bit easier to source, is the DW621. It is almost identical other than having only 1200 watts and an 8mm max. collet (oddly, though, in the USA it comes with a completely different collet system and a 1/2in collet - the two systems are not interchangeable)
That is interesting a powerful 1/2in router that is lightweight is something I'd be interested in. It means just one set of bits at 1/2 in. Also help reduce the arthritis....I wouldhave throught there is a market for this, even if its a bit pricy as its covering two bases.
 

JobandKnock

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It was on the market about 8 or 9 years back in the UK. Seems to have disappeared here maybe 4 or 5 years back, although they are still available in Italy and Germany (e.g. SauterShop sell them).
 

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