Woodworking Tools

Bosch Plunge Router 1619EVS

We were looking forward to testing this tool from Bosch. In our opinion the plunge router is probably the most useful if it is your only router and this Bosch 1619EVS is a whopping 3.25 horse power, which is touted as maintaining constant speed under load.


We started by having a good look at the tool and what we found were some innovative ideas and designs. The depth adjustment knob has both fine and coarse adjustments on it and the spindle lock on the front is convenient and easy to see. The variable speed switch is near the top of the router, although we would have liked to see this closer to the trigger, we were happy the unit had the control. We also liked the new design for the depth control stops, although we wondered if they would have the versatility that for a woodworker that other units already have. The off / on switch is nicely integrated into the right hand grip which makes this control very nice and comfortable to use. Like many routers the Bosch 1619EVS uses the spindle lock system to change bits rather than the two-wrench system. We also liked that the plunge locking leaver was opposite of the on / off trigger so that the operator can actually lock the router down in place with left hand during operation.

Our first cuts with the Bosch 1619EVS revealed what we expected, a well made tool that performed up to our expectations. We had started off with a large roundover bit and some red oak. The router’s soft start soon had the bit up to speed without trying to jerk the router out of our hands with all 3.25 horse power. As we dug into some red oak the motor barely slowed then gathered up speed again and ploughed through the oak without any effort. A challenge for any router and this one with the constant speed showed it worth. The bit never slipped and the router moved through the job just like it was designed.




 We did change bits to see what the nut and collet assembly system was like and Bosch’s auto extracting bit feature was a nice surprise, the bits literally fell out of place when changing.

 This test was a pleasure for us, we really like this tool, lots of power, convenient to use, a number of accessories available for it and a generally well built and well designed tool. Definitely a thumbs up for this unit!

Ryobi BTS10S Table Saw Review

ryobi-bts10sThe Ryobi BTS10S has proven to be a popular woodworking tool based simply on the fact it has remained in the market for some time. Tools that don't perform well don't stand the test of time. I wouldn't necessarily consider the Ryobi a portable table saw, in that it doe come with a stand but it is fairly easy to move around because of it's light weight. The BTS10S includes a 15 amp direct drive motor. One of the advantages of this motor is the moderate soft start it utilizes.
The disadvantage with most direct drive table saws is that the depth of cut that can be achieved from direct drive motors is often less than belt drive units. In many ways this could be an advantage for this tool in that the power of the motor is such that it is really designed for more lightweight work. To help put some perspective into the power of the motor or this unit, it is comparable to most good quality circular saws with comparable 13 and 14 amp motors.
The BTS10S comes with a standard lower quality 10 inch blade. Anyone purchasing a unit like this would be well advised to purchase a good quality combination blade such as a Freud or CMT. This change alone will make a BIG difference to the performance and use of this saw.
We sound the fence system to be adequate for a saw of this caliber. We would not recommend anyone attempt to cut full sheets of plywood on this saw, but smaller, shorter cuts worked fine. The fence system was quite accurate on our model, but owing to the small table top, and thus shorter fence, ripping longer boards was somewhat challenging.

One of the most innovative ideas for this saw is it's sliding cross cut fence. We found it smooth, and on the unit we tested – accurate. We quite liked this feature.
Our only real concern with this saw was the blade guard, riving knife and anti-kickback pawls tended to conflict with some of our cuts so we would caution, as always, that all safety procedures be followed when using this, or in fact any, woodworking power tool.

Overall we were pleased with the operation and of the Ryobi BTS10S. All the controls, off on switch, blade height adjustment and angle adjustment were fairly smooth and well placed. The construction of unit it'self was, we felt pretty good quality for the price. Our recommendation for a saw like this, is that this saw would be fine for casual woodworking jobs and moderate DIYers. Anyone who is somewhat serious about woodworking will outgrow this saw quickly. We gave this unit a good thumbs up, based on the knowledge that this saw has a specific duty and is designed for casual, more light weight work, and for such is very well suited.

The Basics of Routers and Router Tables

Is it any wonder routers and router tables have leaped in popularity in recent years? There are many reasons why routers are becoming more and more popular. 

Even if this is the ONLY power tool you own, you can still make many, many projects with it.
Routers and router tables take up less space than most other power tools
The vast selection of bits and attachments makes them extremely versatile
They are easy to use and capable of excellent results.

If you ever talk to anyone who has a router, you will find they often have 2 or 3 routers or they have none at all. Unless you are Norm Abram from the New Yankee Workshop who admitted to having 25 routers during one episode of rebuild a work bench. You may ask, “why would anyone need more than one router?” but the answer is more complex. Most of of bought routers years ago, like an older Craftsman or even a Makita, but with the advances they have made in recent years we have also purchased new routers from makers like Dewalt, Porter Cable, Freud or Festool.

One of the advantages to having more than one router is that very often you need to do some sort of a routing project with a router that is not mounted in a table. This means we can do routing with one router mounted in the table and other router work like edging with another router.

Many of you have already leaped ahead at the mention of two routers and are now questioning what the real differences are between fixed base and plunge routers. Well, we need to step back for a moment for those who are not as familiar with routers to briefly explain that there are basically two types of routers. 1) Fixed base routers and 2) Plunge routers. Both routers allow the up and down movement of the bit, the difference is that a plunge router contains springs that allows the user to move the router up and down during the router procedure. A fixed base router must be turned off in order to adjust the bit height and then it is fixed in that position throughout the cut. More on these later.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind with any router is that if you are a woodworker (as opposed to working on house construction or renovation), your router use, using a router table, will likely be 80% of the time or more. Most woodworkers find that a router without a router table gets very little use, so if you are buying a router you should probably also be purchasing a router table with it. There are of course a few exceptions but generally woodworkers use routers mounted in router tables.

I'm often asked, what should I purchase a fixed base or a plunge router. My answer is always the same, a plunger router will do anything a fixed base router will do and more. Plunge routers are normally a bit more expensive but are more versatile in their use. If you are using ONLY a router table, a fixed base would work fine, the real problem is that once you begin to see what can be done with a router, you will want to use it both on and off the router table.

If you really want to expand your woodworking experiences and get into doing some innovative and creative work then get yourself a good router and explore what can be done.

Copyright - Colin Knecht


Freud Quadra-Cut Round Over Bits

 Any ROUTER with a ROUND OVER BIT is probably one of the most used combinations in woodworking. Virtually every woodworker has at least one router and one of the first and most useful bits they will ever purchase is the round over bit. If you are like me, you problably have a few different sizes of these too.

Round over bits are great ... MOST of the time, but sometimes with the direction the grain runs on some wood that round over bit you love so much will actually tear out or rip the grain of that wood you are trying to round over. Very often the tear-out is hard to see, but run your hand over it and sure enough, it's rough. There is nothing left to do except hopefully sand the rough part down, and hope it doesn't have to be sanded down so far that it starts to become an obvious flaw in the piece.

Does this sound familiar to you ... you bet it does, has happened to all of us. But no worries, Feud to the rescue with their introduction of Quadra Cut bits. The difference with these bits is they now have 4 cutter heads in stead of 2 like most other router bits. So why 4 cutters instead of 2, well the answer is a few reasons.     

First of all a bit with 4 cutters, especially when using a roundover bit, the cut will be smoother with much less chance of any wood tearout.This is especially true on cross grain. Tearour or rough cutting can still happen, but IF it happens at all it will be minimized. the second advantabe to 4 cutters instead of 2 is that the bit will tend to last longer, or at least stay sharper longer as each of the 4 cutters is doing less work. This means the carbide is less suseptible to wear.