Choosing a router can be agony. There are so many to choose from … then do you choose fixed base or plunge? And what about collet sizes?
Well Bosch has made choosing a router easy with their 1617 EVS which can be either a fixed base or a plunge and if you buy the dual package you actually get both bases and the router also comes with both quarter inch and half in collets so you can use any router bit you want.
The Bosh 1617EVS is a rated at two and a quarter horse, but the real rating is that it is a 12 amp motor. Most outlets in the average home are 15 amp which is the maximum amperage they will take before they trip the breaker. The Bosh 12 amp is a powerful router but not so big that it is difficult to hold on to for those hand routing jobs.
One of the trade offs with larger 15 amp routers is that they are much bigger and heavier. This means they are much harder to control and use when they are not being used in a router table. The Bosh 1617EVS provides more than enough power for most jobs while still maintaining a router that is easy to handle.
We liked the fact that this router also has both quarter and half inch collets which means you always have a choice for router bits. To also aid in making great cuts this router is also variable speed, a very important consideration for any woodworker who wants to lessen the possibility of burning wood. Burning wood, as any woodworker knows is a real problem because in many cases the only way to get rid of the burns is sanding, which is time consuming, tedious and, depending on the project may cause other problems of alignment or connections if too much material is sanded away.
The off on switch is easy to access for either right of left handed woodworkers, and for me at least, having a nice wooden handle to use on a tool just seems to be more fitting.
The only time we found this router to strain somewhat was when making raised panel doors. We still easily accomplished making the doors but we did it by making three passes along the wood and making a slightly deeper cut each time until the final cut was made. This is not a bad thing to do even if you own a router that can make the cut in one or two passes because making multiple passes helps to lessen the risk of burning the wood which is so prevalent with some species.
All in all we found the Bosch 1617EVS to be an excellent, versatile router that we would highly recommend for any woodworking shop. This tool can become a real workhorse for those willing to invest in a quality tool.