Choosing a Router

In India, woodworkers do not have much of a choice when it comes to power tools. Only a few of the top power tools manufacturers distribute their products in this country; other makes are imported by dealers who often provide little or no service. The few tool manufacturers who are in the Indian market often do not market their latest offerings here and many fine tools available in foreign markets are not released here.

Among the foreign power tools manufacturers with a presence in India, I would rate Bosch as the best because of the sheer range of products it has introduced in the Indian market and a somewhat decent level of service. Next is Hitachi with much fewer product offering, higher prices and somewhat iffy after sales service. Makita earlier worked through a dealer but has started direct operations since 2008 with little positive results. Festool too has opened a branch in India but I found its product prices ridiculously inflated and sales practices somewhat dubious. Other makers have little to no presence or at best have Indian dealers, who import their products, slap on costs, duty and so on and sell those products at least double the international prices; often these importers sell obsolete models and provide no after sales service.

The Indian woodworker thus has two choices: accept whatever is on offer by the handful of companies like Bosch, Hitachi, Festool or Makita; or get a router from abroad. Rather than getting ripped off by local dealers who offer little support, it is better to import now that so many import options are available to the common man.

There are basically three kinds of routers avilable in India: palm routers like the Bosch GMR1 meant for trim and other light work, medium duty routers in the 1200 to 1400 watt range like the Bosch POF 1400 and the heavy duty 2 HP class models like Makita's 3612C. Each class of router has its own uses and relevance; it is up to the user to decide which one he needs.

Apart from the power rating of a router, the other key features to look for include vairable speed (large bits need to be run at a much lower speed), soft start (which prevents overload on the electricity circuit and tripping), easy bit changing mechanism, dust extraction options, edge guide and a good height adjustment mechanism. Inbuilt LED lights in some models are an added advantage. The ability to attach guide bushings of various sizes is another essential requirement.

Let us first see what is on offer from the four foreign tool makers with an India presence.

Makita   
Makita 3612
This company sells three router makes in India: two half inch shank models, one 1,850 watts machine (3612C) and another 1,600 watts machine (3612BR); and one small 3/8th inch shank 860 watts machine for trimming work. The 1,850 watts machine 3612C appears to be the standard variant - this is the classic Makita router, renowned the world over for its ruggedness, build quality and solid power. Several model numbers of this machine sell in different parts of the world so it is difficult to say what all features are provided in the "C" variant sold in India. In India, the 3612C is sold with a 12mm collet and the company does not provide the alternative 1/2 inch collet. But this appears to be a good machine with variable speed (9000 to 23,000 rpm) and electronic soft start, which is a very comforting feature. It has a dust extraction nozzle and a safety button. A good buy if you get a good price. It sells for a little less than 300 pounds (about Rs. 22,000) in the UK, where the variant sold is the 3612 CX which includes a stackable case and jigs. In India, Makita has priced the 3612C at a whopping Rs 35,000 but street prices could be lower at Rs 24-27,000. One big advantage of the 3612C is an optional template guide adaptor for Port-Cable type bushings.
***** Classic Model 3612C 

Hitachi   
Hitachi M 12SA2
This company's India operations are marked by lethargy and lack of initiative. Their website http://www.hitachi-koki.in/ tells their lackadaisical story. The latest catalogue is still of 2010 and the site is hardly updated ever. The products sell because of the Hitachi name and little else. Their offerings too are meager. The company offers two routers - the M 12SA2 a 12mm (roughly half inch shank) 1700 watts heavy router rated at 3 ¼ HP (List price Rs. 16,000) and a lighter M 12SC machine rated at 2 ¼ HP (List price Rs. 9,500) that can be fitted with both 6 mm (roughly quarter inch shank) as well as the 12 mm shank bits. Both routers are, however, obsolete machines that are sold only in Third World markets. They are both fixed speed models that have been replaced by variable speed models in most first world markets. The company does not sell its new M12VE plunge router model in India. The two models on offer are good accurate routers but buying fixed speed models in today's day and age does not make much sense.

Festool
Festool has two router sets for sale: the lighter OF 1400 and the more powerful OF 2200. Both are ½ inch shank machines that come in their own containers called systainers by Festool. The smaller one costs about Rs. 60,000 while the larger one costs Rs. 1,40,000. There can be no doubt that the Festool machines are par excellence if you can afford them. The prices quoted are before taxes and not MRPs or list prices. There is no dealer discount available and these prices are on an average 60 per cent more than prices for the same in UK markets. The question is whether paying that much extra for a router is worth it.

Bosch
Bosch POF 1400ACE
This company currently appears to offer only two routers in the Indian market: one old 900 watts router 900 CE (List price Rs 16,000) with 6 and 8 mm collets and a small palm router, the GMR1 Professional. At one time it also sold a heavy duty professional machine, the GOF 2000 CE (List price Rs 39,000) with a half inch shank as well as a DIY machine, the POF 1400 ACE (List price Rs 8900) which comes with a 6 mm, 8 mm and  ¼ inch collets. The good thing about Bosch is that the prices are list prices and dealers often offer good discounts on them. The machines too are robust and user friendly.




DeWalt
DeWalt 625
My initial review did not mention the DeWalt routers because I knew little about them until someone pointed it out to me in this forum. Since then I have acquired an older model router, the famous DeWalt 625. It is old, as I have mentioned, in the sense that a newer model DeWalt 626 has come out, but it is nevertheless a superb machine. I bought the older model for two reasons: the new one was not shippped to India and was significantly more expensive. I needed a heavier router with a half inch shank and settled on the DeWalt 625. I can vouch for the superb machinery of this router which cuts through the heaviest of wood without chatter or protest. This model is based on a older but great router model developed by the famous German router maker Elu, which was acquired by Black & Decker, the owner of DeWalt, several years ago. DeWalt has great technology going for it although Bosch too has come out with several first rate routers with a lot of key features that outshine those offered on most DeWalt models.The DeWalt 625 comes with both 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch collets, which is useful if buying router bits from the United States where the imperial system is still very much in vogue. All my router bits have either 1/4 or 1/2 inch shanks and I am not going to invest in metric size bits in this lifetime. So be sure what kind of bits you are going to be using and remember that most router bits made in India are 6mm, 8mm or 12mm. However, most router manufacturers today offer collets for both the metric and imperial systems. But you will have to pay a lot extra for those non-standard collets and it is better to buy a router with the collet sizes of your preference.
***** Classic Model 625

The other reputed router makers include Trend (UK), Triton (Australia), Porter Cable (USA), taken over by Black & Decker), Freud (USA) and Skil (UK). Many more companies make routers, very good ones too but after doing a bit of research, I found that these are the popular ones.

Endico
Endico Router
This is a Ludhiana based company that makes several types of plunge routers (see http://www.endicopowertools.com). Their routers come with 8mm and 12 mm shanks and with different power ratings up to a maximum of 1300 watts. These routers are very reasonably priced (the most expensive one costs about Rs 7,000) and comes with a host of useful accessories such as edge guide, pilot light and so on. The only problem with these routers is they are all fixed speed types running at 21,000 rpm. They also do not have soft start electronics in them. Otherwise great routers that can take pretty much anything thrown at them.


Import Option

As for the routers and other tools, I would recommend you check out three websites.I find it cheaper and faster to order items directly from abroad than go through dealers in India.

Amazon.com's export sales division has started shipping to India as of February 2012. Their service, prices and product range is excellent. This would be my online importer of choice. You can see which products they ship to India by going through www.junglee.com.

Axminster: At this British site (www.axminster.com) you can get many European items at very very competitive rates. They charge you for shipping but you have to do the customs clearance part yourself. Very fast delivery within a few days!

ebay.in - Everything inclusive of delivery to your home. Limited range of items and reports of unreliability.

Concluding Thoughts

My word of advice would be that a good router alone cannot assure quality, precision work. Routers need jigs and fixtures to work efficiently as well as a range of bits for a variety of jobs. I would buy a medium quality router and invest in bits and accessories. I would also spend time in making jigs, guides and fixtures.

There are hundreds of router models out there with varying features, prices and promises. I now realise that rather than trying to figure out which is the best possible machine in the market perhaps it is more important to first decide out how much work you want to do and what kind of tasks you have in hand. Then go backwards and choose a router. For most DIY purposes any router with variable speed and soft start would be good enough. I have learnt how to do pretty good edge treatment with a Bosch palm router by taking small incremental cuts that do not strain the motor.

For those who have the cash and are serious about woodworking, I would suggest buying a half inch shank router. These machines tend to be more powerful and the solid half inch shank is more stable, vibrates less and can carry out heavier tasks, even though there are many occasions when a smaller, lighter quarter inch shank machine might be more appropriate. The price difference between quarter and half inch shank router bits is negligible, particularly if they are sources from American companies. But the half inch shank bits are solid and reliable.

Router work is potentially dangerous, so a proper understanding of routing methods and practices is a must. Please use all safety precautions, including hearing, eye and breathing protection, and learn safe routing procedures. A tungsten carbide tipped solid steel router bit rotating at speeds of more than 20,000 rpm can be lethal!

Indranil Banerjie, 27 May 2011
[ends]

Comments

  1. Anonymous27 May, 2011

    Checked EBay for the Bosch 1617 router. The offer of 16K doesnt say what are the items included. There is no option for transaction without paying up front. That i will never do in EBay. I have lost once 4K by paying over credit card and 6K by draft payment. It doesnt help. I have continued my fight to get money back or goods for about 1 yr and gave up. EBay doesnt support customers when traders cheat. They have an impressive process in place which is another fraud.

    I talked to bosch and got hold of 2 dealers. One said new 2000 model they stopped selling as there is product problem and Bosch cant fix it. So they stopped keeping bosch and offered local at one tenth the price, somewhat similar. The other bosch dealer didnt pick up my call.

    Regarding the bosch 2000, there is no possibility to know what are its details, no manual in internet, from distributor nor Bosch reply manual request.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Deepak Gupta31 May, 2011

    Local routers are one fourth the price of branded machine and as good. Please review Indian manufacturers as well. Thanks you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i have leigh fmt super jig to make mortise and tenon in jalandhar.if anyone want to buy let me know,origional price is 450 us$ plus cutom and shipping but i can give you big discount as i want to upgrade.you can see this product on http://www.leighjigs.com/superfmt.php

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi, my name is jeslin bivera, and i am interested in the leigh fmt, please mail me yr quote to jeslinbvera@gmail.com
      thank u, regards !

      Delete
  4. You forgot to mention Dewalt 625e. One of the best routers that I own. I removed one spring and mounted it under a router table which I built. Added a handle to the threaded bar. Works like a charm. Got two more routers one from hitachi and the other from Bosch. All work well but the 625 is the jewel in the crown. I can easily use a panel cutting bit with it. The best features are it does not start with a jerk. Is there a way to upload some pics?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your comments. Could you tell me a little more about the DeWalt router? Where you got it and how much it cost, and so on?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Harpreet singh29 January, 2012

    Amazon.com is now selling directly to India from the US.
    Their prices and discounts are hard to beat and delivery charges are most reasonable. Most other sources like 20North just resell Amazon products after adding their hefty share.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I didn't know that amazon.com is now shipping to India. And you are right about 20North; I find their charges are way too high.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Harpreet singh30 January, 2012

    I can certainly vouch for Amazon.com. I bought a Bosch PS31-2A during the recent Christmas sale. However I would not advise buying anything like a router from the US. Although you can find a 220v to 110v step down transformer in India you cant do anything about the 60Hz AC power requirement for US products. That would ruin an electric motor. No such issue for cordless tools though.

    This blog is really a candle in the dark. I am so glad to have found it. Please dont let the flame extinguish.

    My request: a review of Indian made tools.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can't seem to get hold of a decent dealer for Indian power and hand tools - though I know that a lot of Indian made stuff is exported and must be good quality. But Indian sellers are tardy. I tried buying stuff but very few people respond.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi,
    I found your blog while looking for advice on buying a router for my home workshop. I am mostly a weekend woodworker, trying to expand my tool kit. Want to purchase a Bosch/DeWalt router, but thats out my budget for now. Found a Black & Decker router which seems to fit my current budget. Would love to know what your opinion is of the machine.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Reply to iaLWAYSwANTEDtO...

    I don't know anything about Black & Decker (B&D) routers but that company has access to excellent router technology. B&D owns both DeWalt and Porter Cable and also had acquired a reputed German router maker, Elu. So B&D should have good router technology. All you need to look for in a router is whether it can do the job that you want it to do. Routers with weaker motors can do difficult jobs if the cutting is done in small increments. Soft start and variable speed is a must for both efficiency and safety. Also go for a half inch shank router if you can.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    Thanks for the quick response.
    This is the router I'm thinking of buying.
    http://www.machpowertools.com/Products/Power-tools-Plunge-Router/BLACK--DECKER/wwwmachpowertoolscompower-toolsRouterBlack-DeckerKW900EKA/pid-530161.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Reply to last query by iaLWAYSwANTEDtO...

    I checked out the Black & Decker specs from the web page. It says:

    Black&Decker KW900EKA Router

    Features:

    1200W motor for longlife and high performance
    6 router bits included for immediate use
    Kit box included for easy storage of tool and accessories
    Flat motor housing enables product to be stood upside down for easier bit change
    3 collets provided to suit all shank sizes below 12mm
    Lock off trigger for enhanced safety
    Spindle lock for easy cutter change
    Variable speed gives the user more control to prevent burning of the material being shaped
    Large side handles give a sure grip for improved safety and control

    Specifications:

    Power 1200 W
    Voltage 230 V
    Speed Variable
    No load speed 8,000 - 28,000 rpm
    Plunge depth 55 mm
    Collet size 6 mm
    Maximum cutter diameter 38 mm
    Spindle lock Yes
    Dust extraction Yes
    Cable length 3 m
    Soft trigger No
    Soft grip No

    My response: Sounds just fine.
    For Rs 5,499/- it looks like a good buy. Though only you and time will be able to tell how good it really is! Best of luck with your routing. And do not forget taking all safety precautions.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Here is a link to the "Power & Hand Tools" category on junglee.com. 48,527 products are available to purchase.

    http://www.junglee.com/mn/search/junglee/ref=sr_nr_n_8?rh=n%3A683859031%2Cn%3A!683860031%2Cn%3A807695031&bbn=683860031&ie=UTF8&qid=1334221444&rnid=683860031

    ReplyDelete
  15. Junglee.com is a front for amazon.com. All the website does is direct the potential customer to amazon.com. You will notice that they don't ship many of the products to India, not even router bits! Plus their shipping charges are fairly high and of course there is import duty to consider. But a good place to buy if you are desperate.

    ReplyDelete
  16. i hv read all of the above comment and likedit. i want to buy a router bt can't decide which one . i need a strong motor bcoz i work mostly in malaysian sal wood. by searching the net i came across endio power tools plz comment
    http://www.endicopowertools.com/12mm-routers-para12fl-plunge-type.php

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is in response to an anonymous reader who has pointed out the website of an Indian power tools manufacturer called Endico Power Tools. I really wish this and other Indian manufacturers well and hope they produce world class power tools. However, it is simply not possible to judge a router, or any other power tool for that matter, by simply looking at the specifications and photosgraphs provided on a website. At any rate, the website [Endico Power Tools] does not provide enough information about their routers. Important specifications missing include depth of cut, router base size, soft start feature, variable speed feature and so on. Even with this information a power tool cannot be evaluated without checking the quality of the motor, its capacity, the quality of the bearings, the plunge mechanism and so on. One additional point I must mention is about the video accompanying the router; it shows the router mounted upside down with an operator routing a round work piece with his bare hands. Let me assure you that this is an extremely dangerous procedure that is not to be recommended; the slightest mistake could mangle the operator's fingers. Do not try it. The proper way to work is to fix a router to the underside of a router table with only the bit exposed and the work piece guided by a bearing, template, pin or fence.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous15 May, 2012

    The 1617 is a reputed router I have one myself. It is pretty reliable I have had it for last 5 years. The triton is very well rated router. It is specially noted for the ease with which it can be brought up in a router table. It also has a spindle lock which is automatically engaged when the router is raised fully through the table and this makes for easy bit changes while working on the table. Bosch on the other hand is not so good on the with the changing bit operations (relatively speaking). Even in the colt I have been unable to use the spindle lock button easily it always slips. So finally I started using another wrench to hold the spindle only regular wrenches do not fit the space provided so I had to file down mine to fit. It is funny though an very old model of Royobi(the cheaper brand of Bosch)used to have a big switch at top of the router engaging which locked the spindle.
    Of course Im talking about US models. I did find the Bosch reps at trade fairs quite responsive they may be able to help you.
    Also the Bosch routers I was introduced to by the Bosch reps seemed to be different from US models and bigger. I dont remember the model numbers though.
    Kittu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kittu, there actually is a model similar to the Ryobi you have written about with the big switch. It is made by a company in India named INDER. If you are interested in buying this router here is a link. (http://www.urjakart.com/inder-p-407b-8mm-electric-router.html) It costs around Rs. 4500 online. Other online portals like industrybuying.com also sell this model. Good Luck.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous15 May, 2012

    There was another thing I discovered years after buying and using a router. The costs & headache of making sure that the typical accessories like Dove tail jugs, Dado jigs etc can almost come up to the cost of the router. Most of the jigs use Porter Cable style template guides. Most routers cant fit these template guides in their bases. so you have to find or make a new router base to use these template guides. As precision is important these have to be carefully fitted to be centered in around the bit else every thing will be wrong. Any way I had to purchase a new router base and fix it on the router. Then I discovered that for the Bosh even the after market table base plate inserts were not easily available. Even the ones which said would fit for the router needed some work to make it fit. It involved quite some time of fiddling with it as I could match only two screw holes with the ones in the router and had to be real careful to drill another one so at least three screws hold the base plate on. Then I also had to drill another hole for over the table bit height adjustment nut to be accessible. With the table plate attached it is a tight fit between the woodden handle and the back of the router table top(Just a few mm)as the router with the holes on the table insert sits a bit askew in relation to the sides (length and breadth)of the table insert. Of course every time you fit the router with the router table insert you have to remove the baseplate of the router. I also had problem with the screws as the base plate is thinner than the table insert which means the screws that came with the base plate were not long enough to attach with the table insert. So you have to keep in mind all these issues and plan for them before making the router decision. Dewalt router I heard has a very thin base plate which enables it to be fixed directly with the base plate on to the router table insert without removing the base plate. I dont know if the router base plate of DeWalt can take the porter cable style template bushings(most popular and often only type bushings used by various jig manufacturers.) I guess I have to start a blog and stop flooding yours!!!
    Kittu

    ReplyDelete
  20. To Kittu: Thanks for your invaluable comments on routers. You are absolute spot on in your advice. At the moment, I am having a big problem trying to fix a guide bushing - the typical 1 3/16 inch ones - on either of my routers, the DeWalt 625 and Bosch POF 1400. I have ordered a base insert for the DeWalt from the UK and hope this works. Cannot figure out how to get something similar for the Bosch machine. I find that there is a guide bush set for Bosch routers that sells in the US but not in the UK. Have you seen that set, which is essentially meant for Bosch routers released for the US market? If all fails I will try to make a polycarbonate base to take the Port-Cable type guide bushes but my problem is cutting out an exact 1 3/16 inch hole.

    ReplyDelete
  21. In response to Indranil on Black&Decker KW900EKA Router.... just wish to state that the router is available in Bangalore retail market at less than 4,500/- including VAT.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Im sorry I did not see your comment earlier. I have a 1617evs kit which includes a plunge base and a fixed base. The plunge base comes with what is called quick release mechanism for template guides. This is a tool less system. It seems to be made of some aluminum like material. Looks quite crude and by virtue of its design cannot be accurately centered on the spindle. It is ok for rough work. Most of the template guides are meant to be fixed in the fixed base of the router and come with a pin to center them on the router spindle.

    I will in the meanwhile try to look up in the web as to what is available for Bosch. Send me a link if you can. Perhaps if you need I can even check what kind of shipping is possible. Maybe you should send me an email. Is there some way to communicate the email ID without putting it the comments section?

    ReplyDelete
  23. i got the right blogs for my search its one of the fine article
    ..i will visit for next post
    Carbide tools

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi ,
    I plan to buy a router- shortlisted the Bosch Po4 1400. Any feed back on this machine. I will be using a router for the first ime and am a bit confused about the terminology guides ,bushes etc.
    I als happened to come across a makita 12 piece router set 8mm for about 1800/-. Anyone using this??

    Regards,
    Felix

    ReplyDelete
  25. To Felix:
    The Bosch POF 1400 is a great machine. I have been using it for a couple of years. I like its soft start mechanism, the light which comes on when the router starts spinning and its variable speed. It takes two collet sizes and there are a wide variety of router bits to choose from. I highly recommend this machine. AS for the Makita router bits I have no idea how good they are. Check if they are carbide tipped, HSS bits generally do not last long.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I will be posting a basic post on what to look for in a router on my blog in a couple of days. I second Indranil's advice on going in for carbide bits. Carbide tipped bits are slightly costlier than HSS bits but the edge lasts at least 4 times that of an HSS bit. Indian and tropical hardwoods are much more harder than most European and American hardwoods so Carbides bits will be a big benefit.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am in search for a router and found this nice blog. A quick question to the experts here. The specs of Bosch routers on their site specify the chuck size as 6mm or 8mm. However most of the articles on the internet suggest that 1/2" collar size is better for the availability of bits. Does that mean the Bosch routers are not preferable.

    Thanks
    Joseph, Bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  28. A smaller collet size does not necessarily mean that a router is not good enough. In fact, many jobs require a smaller collet size. Half inch collets come with the heavier routers and are better for most jobs. Bosch does have a heavier router (the 2000 series) with a half inch collet. Unfortunately, most dealers in India do not stock this model.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's amazing to find a DIY woodworking site in India! you are doing a great job!

    I also want to buy a router for small and precision work. In my opinion, B&D tools look like kids toys. I have a cordless driver drill from B&D and it really is a toy.

    I'd stay away from B&D unless I come across someone who has good experience with it. BTW, it's Stanley that acquired a lot of brands, including B&D. DeWalt is not what it used to be. I have a small DeWalt drill which bought primarily of 1 yr warranty.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks, Criminal! You seem to know a fair bit about power tools. Do share your experiences about power tools when you have the time.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Indranil,

    By now you would've acquired a lot of practical knowledge on woodworking and the tools involved. I need your opinion in buying a router. The question is whether I should buy one or not?

    Brief context: I've worked with several construction tools but never thought of woodworking, until after reading encouraging blogs like yours. I bought couple of tools after seeing them in your various posts. Last year, I imported a battery operated Dremel rotary tool (8200 12V) but couldn't use it to its full potential as the charger blew up in flames upon very first use. I'll have to buy a lot of attachments and accessories for my Dremel before I can use it as a router.

    I'll delve into woodworking by making some drawers with MDF, particle board etc. My next project would be a utilitarian chest of drawers, with plywood. And if I am successful then I'll make a bed with real wood and then graduate to kitchen cabinets.

    Questions:

    1) Do I need a router if I use ready made boards to make small furniture? I am more into clean lines than decorative moldings and complex joinery. I guess screws and pocket hole joinery can take care of the joints. Is it okay if I can completely avoid precision joinery such as dados, rabbets, dovetails etc? I need your opinion on this.

    2) If I bring my Dremel to life will it suffice as a light duty router for small projects? Or I need a dedicated router if I need to be successful in my projects? Investment on a new router and Dremel would be the same as all the Dremel parts need to be imported.

    Thanks for your time and maintaining this informative blog!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Indranil,

    I just came across your comment on Dremel 300 that how it's too underpower and small to take place of a real router.

    So, it answers a part of my question - that reviving my Dremel 8200 won't help too much, even though it's quite powerful and versatile in comparison to 300.

    Now, if I invest in something like a Kreg Jig for pocket hole joinery, can it replace the router made joinery? I want my projects to be strong but I don't want to be known as an expert woodworker. So, based on your experience, can I avoid router based joinery and still be able to produce useful and strong projects?

    ReplyDelete
  33. To "Criminal":

    First of all thanks for your kind words about the blog - nice feedback likes your's really makes my day!

    Dremel machine: I suggest you get it repaired at any Bosch service center. For a list of service centers check out www.bosch-pt.co.in

    You will find many uses of the Dremel machine in the years ahead. Your charger probably got burnt because it was a US machine running on 110 volts. In India we need a 220 to 240 volts machine. Check that.

    The Dremel as you realised is not a substitute for a router although it can do light routing tasks like cutting small grooves, rounding over edges and so on. It would require a routing attachment which is not cheap.

    A router is not a must if you are going to work exclusively with plywood or MDF. You can do a lot without a router; simple butt joints reinforced with screws are very strong and enduring. Make a few projects as you mentioned and then figure out if you could do better with a router.

    I can see that you have been bitten by the woodworking bug. Once you start makiong things there will be no turning back!

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  34. Thanks Indranil for your valuable inputs!

    Well, I decided to take up woodworking when I saw lakhs of rupees going down the drain on our newly built house. We bought the costliest wood around but the experts couldn't bring out satisfying results. So, I thought of starting with low investment, involving only MDF and plywood. I'll buy a router for my next project. India is a dump yard for obsolete stuff and that's why I am not too excited to buy tools here :-( Most of my 'new' power tools are out-of-production, 2 years old models. I bought them as they were once the best known models.

    BTW, I've got lots of 120V appliances and I use step-down transformer for daily use. Dremel 8200's charger is a poorly conceived idea. I noticed that its capacitors are not sufficient to handle even 120V. Anyways, Bosch's service in this regard is non existent.

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  35. To Criminal: Unfortunately your comment about India being a dump yard for obsolete tools is only too correct. All companies, including Bosch, sell their older models here. Their catalogues might show a few newer models but these are invariably not available. Support for accessories too is extremely poor. I have been trying to get replacement paper bags for my Bosch dust extractor for more than 6 months without success.

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  36. Great review IB and very useful comments by others as well.

    A router sounds very useful but is it easy to use without a router table?

    Good branded routers are expensive and Indian makes are not well reviewed. I too would like to know more about the Indian brands. The local retailers/shopkeepers speak +vely of them but do not find their word very reliable.

    -Mayank.

    ReplyDelete
  37. To Mayank:
    Routers can be used very effectively without a router table but the addition of a table greatly extends the router's capabilities.
    As for local routers, I am sure there are good ones but the problem is that Indian power tool makers do not publish detailed specs and do not offer their machines for testing by independent evaluators. That is why is it impossible to say how good or bad they are.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great to hear from so many like minded people from india...I too dwelve into ww and ejjoys it to foolest...there are tons of videos available on youtube..my favorite is woodworking for mere mortals...also shopnotes publish lot of info ..its the best magzine I ever found...

    ReplyDelete
  39. To Amit Phadke: Great to hear that you enjoy woodworking - thanks for your views on magazines and youtube.

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  40. Very nice to hear DIY Wood worker Website. Can I know about router tables that is available readymade in India. Whats the cost approximately. Which router is best Which router has variety of tool bits. This information will help me in purchasing a new one. Thank you. Gurumoorthy, Coimbatore

    ReplyDelete
  41. I do not know about any router tables made in India. As for the best router, all I know is in this blog post and in the valuable comments therein.

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  42. This is a great post, stumbled on it from google.. Bought a B&D router just now.. light work only..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT-AbrNsMZ0

    ReplyDelete
  43. Bala,
    Can I have instructions or picture for threaded rod router lift for bosch pof 1400 ace..
    Thx
    Amit

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  44. Any thoughts on the Skil 1827. It offers a 1/2 inch collet.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thomas: I have not used the Skil router but it should do the job. The only problem with Skil products is that their quality tends to be inferior to Bosch. But a number of Skil products I have tried are good enough for the hobbyist woodworker.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hello Indranil,

    I want to buy a Dremel handtool in medium power range, which should also work with "Dremel Plunge Router Attachment".

    What could be best option?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Bharat: I have a Dremel 300 which fits in the Router Attachment. I haven't tried the newer Dremel machines but I guess they should all fit. Some of the newer Dremel tools come with a more powerful motor so it would be better to buy one of them but stay away from the cordless versions as they have got pretty bad ratings as far as power is concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Dear Indranil,

    I am assembling a slot mortiser based on Matthias wandel's plan.
    Request you to suggest me a round body rouer so that i can mount horizontally. Thank you in advance

    - Veerasekaran (p.veerasekaran@gmail.com)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Veerasekaran: I cannot think of any round bodied router avaiable in India except the Bosch Colt Palm held router. I will forward your query to our experts, perhaps they will know better. Check the "Ask Our Experts" page.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Answer to Veerasekaran:

    In my opinion the only router that can be satisfactorily mounted for Horizontal Mortising machine (Matthias Wandel's Plan)is BOSCH GMR-1. It is a small palm router of 6 mm collet, with a fixed rpm of 33000(Ironically on every Bosch Router bits of 6mm size, the maximum rated speed is 30000 rpm!). The cost of this router is around 6500 in India. it is quite difficult to get hold of this. You can buy it online at Machpowertools.com. There are other brands selling similar router like Skill (Cost 5000), Makita (Cost 7000). But Bosch GMR-1 is the best among the lot, with a metallic base. I am using this router for past 6 months. You will also find difficulty getting 6 mm router bits. The other Router which would work satisfactorily is Hitachi M12SC with 6,8 & 12 mm collet. Quite a heavy duty router, but it is very heavy. Also the drawback of fixed RPM of around 25000. Cost is around 9000 Rs. Hope this Helps...

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thank you very much for prompt response. Presently I am trying a delhi based router costing 3300 rupees

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  52. Hi Indranil and other like minded folks. Thanks for sharing your views.
    I am thinking to get a Dewalt router from Amazon.com: DWP611PK or DW618PK. Can i use these in India with a step down transformer? 50htz which cannot be converted to 60htz would be an issue ?
    ~vamsi

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  53. Got the B&D KW900EKA from machpowertools for 4620/- .

    Shall try out different bits on a scrap piece this coming weekend.

    Also in the pipeline is removing the springs, and putting the router in a simple table as shown in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnhKtUKCnFo

    - siddhartha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The table should be useful. Makesure the board does not sag or else your cuts will be inaccurate. Have fun.

      Delete
  54. Hi Indra
    Which would u advise? fixed base or plunge?
    Can a plunge router be used for all work even as table mounted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plunge any day - sure a plunge router can be used table mounted. I use mine that way.

      Delete
  55. Dear sir, Please let me know where (online/Bangalore) can i get the baseplates to make different designs and jigs for my black and decker router..Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No idea, Mr Holla. I am based in Greater Noida near Delhi. Suggest you try someone at diyable.net. best wishes

      Delete
  56. Hi Guys, I was looking for a palm router for mounting on my home made DIY router. My CNC project is just in completion stages and am using a Dremel for the initial testing (http://www.openbuilds.com/threads/shapeko-2-xcarve-using-vslot.3327/ ). I was considering Bosch Bosch GMR 1 Mini Router or an equivalent model from Skill for use on my CNC. Appreciate some feed back on the same. I read from reviews that different collets are not available for these routers. Also the 6mm bits available do not fit properly. If not what are the options available in India for routing bits & collets for these routers.

    Additionally I would also like to seek opinion on the use of laminate trimmer as a router for my project. is it advisable to use it?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Bunty: The Bosch palm router is a great little machine. The bits fit perfectly but it comes with only a 6mm collet. You will have to get an 8mm collet if you want one from the UK or somewhere in Europe. Not too many options on 6mm routing bits in India but lots of 8mm bits available locally. Alternatively, you could ask any of the Indian companies that make router bits to make you ones you need.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Malay Bhattacharjee,
    Hi everyone,
    Just when I was looking for a router to purchase for the first time not knowing anything about a plunge router or a fixed base router, I came across this excellent blog.I need a router for a specific purpose only-only to cut round holes and recesseses for the drivers on mdf boards for speaker building.And since my budget is limited too, will the B&D KW900EKA will be just fine? Please help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the B&D machine will be fine except make sure you get the appropriate cutters for the job. Best wishes

      Delete
  59. Mr Indranil, Is Ferm a good brand as I plan to buy FERM PRM1015 Precision Router , I am an Amateur Woodworker have done some small wood working, As I was planning to do a Table saw with a Router mounted together in the same Table.
    where can I buy Stanley's Speed Square and Tenon saw.
    Pl give me some guidelines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ferm is a good brand and they make decent tools. I don't think they make great tools, however. But for a beginner their tools should do fine. I must add that I have no experience with their router. You will have to take a chance. AS for buying Stanley products try your local hardware market, amazon.in or amazon.com. Best of luck.

      Delete
  60. Anonymous19 July, 2016

    Any progress with makita? Did they bring something new? My 625 blew, looking for a new one now. Choice would be higher powered router.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Anonymous19 July, 2016

    More importantly I'm looking for a fixed based router. 2 1/4 or 3 1/4 HP. Any decent options?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some company in Mumbai is selling a CMT router - search for it on the Internet. Or else there is always the Makita 3612C.

      Delete
  62. I see that most people in this blog talk about Bosch,Hitachi,Makita and Dewalt. I would like to add my two bits of information. The Chinese made power tools. The foremost that comes to mind is the brand Dongcheng. It is actually a premium brand among the chinese manufacturers and a respected brand in the South East Asian countries. These are very rugged machines and come at a fraction of the price of big name brands. They make replicas of highly successful tool models of big companies. For example they make a 1600 watts router which is an exact copy of Makita 3612 BR. it is fixed speed and comes with 1/2" and 1/4" and 8mm collets and priced around four thousand rupees. The other brand that is well known is Powertex ( at least in southern India). They import their products from china. These are decent quality tools and their prices are at par with Dongcheng. The good thing is spares for these machines are easily available. They do not have complex electronics to get fried. I have tried their 1600 watts router with 1/2" collet. The plunge action was as smooth as the Black and Decker KW 900 EKA router.But I found some axial play at the topmost part of the plunge mechanism in the unlocked position. Experienced wood workers please shed some light on how serious this anomaly is to the accuracy of the cut. This router is a fixed speed model and on starting it does tend to torque your hands a bit but nothing an adult cannot handle. You will surely get used to it. Carpenters in our area use this router extensively. The only gripe I have is the scarce availability of 1/2" shank router bits in our country. The market is geared towards 8 mm shank bits. I am in the market for a router and torn between a Bosch 1400 ACE and skill 1827 and Dongcheng or powertex made replicas of Dewalt 3612 BR. Your advise is welcome so as to get myself more confused LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting information; a lot of Chinese products these days are of excellent quality as I have personally discovered. As for the slight play on the plunge mechanism, that is no problem as long as there is no play or wiggle of router bit during operation. This can be easily checked by using it before buying. A lot of half inch shank bits are available from Gujarat based manufacturers; check them out. As for router my personal preference would be the Bosch POF 1400 ACe, available for about Rs 7000 or so. It is a robust machine with variable speed, led light and can take 3 shank sizes, 8mm, 1/4 inch and perhaps 6mm.

      Delete
  63. Indrani, thanks for a great site and blog on woodworking and routers. I am looking for a plunge router and am undecided between Bosch POF 1400 ACE or Endico PARA12FL 12mm router. My objective is mostly cutting holes 3" to 15" for speaker building as a hobby. The circle cutting jig that comes with the Endico router looks attractive however absence of soft start and fixed rpm speed is a deterrent. I have ZERO experience in operating a router and would be taking help of my carpenter who actually doesn't own a router. Please advise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samir, I would unhesitatingly say go with the Bosch POF 1400. The soft start is a great help especially for beginners. Look up basic routing on the Internet and you should have no problem getting started. Best of luck.

      Delete
  64. Mr. Indranil Banerjie, heeding your advice I have just bought the Bosch POF 1400 ACE wood router. The quality of the router is excellent for the price. Now I would also like to buy a palm router. In India the choice is either a Bosch GMR 1 or a Makita 3709. We also have Chinese palm routers in the 350 watts class. Does the GMR 1 have any problems with its collet as reviewed in online shopping portals? Do you by any chance have used this router? Are 6 mm and 1/4"router bits available in India? Lots of questions. Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buying the POF 1400 was a good choice. As for the Bosch palm router, the collet is not a problem but the base is fiddly and will slip unless fixed in a particular way. It is an annoyance but does not usually interfere with the work. 6mm router bits are easily available but not 1/4 inch ones.

      Delete
  65. People looking to buy their first router look hard at the Makita RT 0700C. I think this router offers infinite possibilities for routing with its unique bases. ( All the bases are not available in India, you have to go the Amazon route to import them.)It takes 6 mm 1/4" and 8 mm collets. Anybody having a 8 mm router bit arsenal could use this tool. I think for hobby wood workers this tool could be the be all and end all. You won't be needing a separate trim router and different shank sizes router bits if you have this router that takes both 6 mm and 8 mm routers. You will be saving a lot on router bits. Mr. Indranil Banerjie please comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately I have no experience of this router. Collet sizes can be changed for most routers though. But if it comes with all three collets that is a plus (so does POF 1400, by the way).

      Delete
  66. Hi Indranil Sir, recently I purchased a dongcheng wood trimmer router.looking for 1/4 inch router bits. I wanted to invest on few essential bits initially but I need quality bits. So could you please guide me here . Any URL or any site would be of much help. My local hardware stores keeps only low quality ones. Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Subrajit, 1/4 inch bits would be a bit difficult to source as 6mm and 8mm bits are more common in India. You could get very good quality 1/4 inch bits on amazon.com with very reasonable shipping charges. I purchased a 1/2 inch shank bit yesterday from amazon.com for whcih the shipping was only $3.

      Delete

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