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Is Porter Cable still the best router?1/8
I made cabinets for years, then ran a CNC router for them, then drew to generate programs for them, and for the last 6 years have drawn millwork for (mostly) the hospitality industry from home.
Now, it's time to get back in a cabinet shop since the economy will turn and people will hire. I may end up in the shop with glue on top of my boots instead of the office, and have a question.
Back when, everyone's router was a Porter Cable. All jigs and accessories in the shop and owned by cabinetmakers were for Porter Cables. But a few years ago, I saw a Porter Cable benchtop planer that was simply a relabeled Chinese machine.
Does Porter Cable still make the best routers? Is that what I need in my toolbox?
I never thought they were the best since the beginning of my career.
I've used Bosch routers for nearly all my routing needs. The Festool OF1400 is a very high quality router. The handles they provide are uncommon and because of this I don't use it.
I've been trending towards the smaller routers in the 1HP range to do the bulk of my routing needs. Most of the time it is sufficient because it's small shapes and round overs. When I go to the bigger router I like to have a plunge just for the adjustability.
I don't like Porter Cable at all these days. All they've done is made them cheaper. I'd suggest Milwaukee for the fixed base design and Dewalt 625 for the plunge. I haven't used Festool yet, I do hear good things about them though.
After experiences several years ago with Porter-Cable 19.2 volt tools and trying to get parts for 352VS sanders, we've steered clear of Porter-Cable/Delta/ DeWalt, as they seem to be riding on past reputation while producing cheaper and cheaper tools. We're using mostly Makita portable tools, but our routers are Bosch. No problems, like them alot.
I don't know if they are, or were ever the best, but I liked them 20+ years ago when I started buying them and I still do. I only use 2 versions though, the 690's and the 310's. The 690's are just a simple no frills router with a lot of flexibility. Having multiples of the same router is also great as I tend to leave the bits in the body and just swap out bases as needed.
I don't know anything about newer models as I haven't bought a new one in the last 20 years. Every once in a while I'll still pick one up at auction, but they're always older models with some mileage on them.
The 310's I don't believe are available anymore which is unfortunate as they were the best trimmer router on the market IMHO. The other trimmers just aren't quite up to par compared to them. If you go pneumatic Beaver makes a really top quality trimmer though.
I have about 15 routers all dedicated to there own job to save set up time. I have Milwaukee, dewalt, Bosch, Freud, Crapsman, and porter cable. Bosch are the best with Milwaukee a close second. Porter cable is my least favorite of anything including the "crapsman".
PC used to be the gold standard in routers. If you can get a used one do so. As others have said PC stuff is junk now.
I have a Milwaukee router that is the smoothest running router I have ever owned.
I've had nothing but good experiences with every Porter Cable router in our shop, except for one. The 1 hp trim router has performed flawlessly. We use the 2 hp in a router table for routine work and it held up well for many years until it started to vibrate (bearing finally wore out) and I stupidly continued using it and burnt out an armature. That was not the Porter Cable's fault.
Whoops! Sorry for the long response to my responses. Thanks, Leo G, Rich C, David Yurk, Jeff D, Mike Fuson, Joel, Will Williamson, and Allan.
I was reading the advice and experiences and deciding what to buy but got immersed in drafting work and lost track of the whole idea of actually creating something physical as opposed to just drawing cabinets/millwork.
Now, I'm back to it and truly appreciate all of you taking the time to help me -- everyone's experiences are very valuable again (still?).