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Routers and guide bearings

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AFFF

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Hi all, new to the forum and need some advice. I have purchased a premium dovetail jig from Rutlands, nice bit of kit. Also bought their 1/2" precision router to use on the jig. The router is absolute rubbish and will be going back for a refund. It's a tacky Chinese re-badged import that for various reasons is incapable of making accurate cuts. So, I'm looking for advice on what 1/2" router you guys would recommend. I'd really like it to accept porter-cable style guide bearings as I already have a set of these to hand. My budget is about £200-250
Thanks, AFFF (Paul)
 

MusicMan

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If you need a 1/2" router and don't want to spend too much, the Clarke is surprisingly good. I got it for a specific job where I needed the power and capacity, but in the router table I use a 1/2" deWalt, which is quieter and more precise. But both are heavy to use off the table.

For handheld work I use a lighter router, actually an old Elu 6 mm (with 1/4" and 8 mm collets as extras), which is out of production; others can tell you the best substitute. But the small Katsu router 6/8 mm is surprisingly good for the little money it costs.
 

Mike Jordan

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I can happily recommend the De Walt 725E 2000watt router . It is right at the top of your budget and I have no idea if the porter cable items will fit it though.
 

MikeG.

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I'm intrigued by the thought of a router being "incapable of making accurate cuts". Other than a faulty depth stop, I can't think of how a router could be to blame for inaccurate cuts.
 

SBJ

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Innacuracies can come from a couple of issues with cheap, or in fact expensive routers.

Guide bushes can sometimes not be concentric with the cutter, my festool of1400 had this issue and there was no obvious way to adjust it other than indulging in a bit of metalwork which isn't really recommended.

Also you have to look out for any play in the plunge mechanism. Sometimes you'll find the cutter wont come down straight or it wont lock off properly.

Anything that doesn't tighten up properly or square can cause an issue.

I have occasionally bought these tools in the past for single use on a job where it was easier to have several tools all set up rather than changing tooling. You get used to them and know what to look for, but they can be trash for everyday use.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

AFFF

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The inaccuracies were caused by A: a warped base plate moulded out of cheap thermoplastic not a proper decent thickness of phenolic compound. This meant that the router would never sit perpendicular to the work surface thus causing the rotational axis of the bit to not be at 90 degrees to the timber being cut. B: inaccurate mounting to the baseplate so that when I tested the router with my centering tool (a piece of 1/2" steel bar turned down to a point) the point described a small circle when the tool/collet was rotated. C: The baseplate was not concentric with the centre of the driveshaft and as the bearing guides were unable to be centred due to the design I would never be able to dial out the error. All in all a rubbish piece of kit. Might be ok for bevelling tops etc but for use in making dovetail joints it was totally useless. It was described and sold as a "precision router". I also tested it by mounting a 1/2" straight bit lined up inside a 5/8" bearing guide (internal dia. of 17/32") which should have a 1/64" clearance either side of the cutting face. One side of the bit was binding on the guide and the other side was over 0.5mm off. This would have resulted in extremely inaccurate work and sloppy dovetails
 

AFFF

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Thanks for the link Phil. I have a friend just around the corner who has a small machine workshop. He made me one of these on his lathe. It cost me a couple of cans of beer :D
 

Eric The Viking

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Notable that my Trend T11 came with a guide bush alignment jig for the standard 30mm bush, and their universal baseplate came with the pin Phil linked to, albeit in plastic (perfectly OK for the task).

One thing I find occasionally useful is a length of ground silver steel bar, 1/2" or 1/4" diameter. It's cheap. You put it in the collet instead of a cutter, and use it to ensure the router is running perpendicular to whatever surface you are using it on.

It's also handy with some tricky cutters, to get the fence distance spot on (the cutter drawings allow you to work out distances, etc. easily). If using a router table as a planer, the 1/2" size is especially useful, as you can set up without trying to balance a straight edge on a sharp bit of carbide, and check fence parallelism - also jolly important!
 

Raymond UK

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I use a 1/4 router on all three of my dovetail jigs. Nothing special, just a 60 quid Clarke one from machine mart.

The cutters I use are bearing guided dovetail cutters from Axminster. Easier to see what your doing as there's no guide bush in the way.

Have been doing this for the last 7-8 years daily without any problems. I'm actually surprised the router is still going...
 

Silent-impact

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As you have the same jig as me, there is no mention at all about router bit depth settings. If I look at other brands they all give a suggestion but I can’t find anything in the manual.

just says if joint is too tight do xxx but nothing as a starting point ?
 
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