Wood routers have been in use for the better part of 50 years, but for new woodworkers they still represent a bit of mystery. Part of the reason for this is that routers are capable of so many different kinds jobs and there is really no other tool that can replace the work they do. Another part of the confusion comes from the styles of wood routers which is either “fixed base” or “plunge” which always prompts the question, which is best?
I am frequently asked about routers, what brands, what types, what features and in general terms I tell people that a plunge router will do everything a fixed base router can do, and more. Like everything there are trade-offs and the disadvantage with plunge routers is they are bigger and bulkier and actual plunge feature is not really often used so it's really nice to have both. Such is the case with Canadian Tire's exclusive “Maximum” dual base wood router. I comes complete with both a plunge and fixed base and is quick and easy to switch between them.
http://www.canadiantire.ca/MAXIMUM I must say, whoever designed this router, knew their way around wood routers. It's a nice design and has all the features that anyone would need in a router package.
The router itself is an 11 AMP, 2 HP unit which means it can handle both 1/4” and 1/2” bits which is important for anyone who wants to use the larger bits for things like making cabinet doors, windows and many of the other larger bits for making things like crown mouldings, base boards and similar items. Almost all of these bigger bits are available only in 1/2” shank size and require routers with higher horse power to drive them.
I liked the “fit and finish” of the both the fixed base and the plunge base. Clearly the manufacturer of these does a good job of the finishing work and I found the tool to move smoothly in and out of both bases. The clamping lever that secures the motor to either of the bases is pre-adjusted and fit snugly.
The plunge base includes a 4 turrent stand and matching stop and the matching stop even has a fine adjustment on it so you can make super accurate cuts with the plunge base by adjusting it precisely. One of the things the box did not mention is that there is even a locking lever on the plunge base, an important detail that should be added to the features list on the box and in their advertising. It's far more important than the LED lights. The only thing the plunge base lacked, and I'm not even sure it could be added would be a complete motor adjusting knob similar to what is on the fixed base unit. It would be nice to have but is not a deal-breaker because the fixed base can be swapped in quickly for this feature.
A couple of other features I liked was the 1) soft start and 2) the off on switch.
Soft start motors have become more popular in recent years and in routers, this feature is enormously welcome. The idea with soft start is that when you turn the router on, the motor takes a few seconds to spin up to it's designated speed. What this means for the user is that if you are hand holding the router, when you turn it on, the motor doesn't jerk itself with all that instant power. The power and force of a router without the soft-start feature can be quite startling for new woodworkers who are not accustomed to it.
I also liked the location and type of off on switch, and for that matter, the variable speed dial for the motor. They are both in the same general area and the off on switch is simple and easy to use, not like some routers where the switch is poorly located and hard to find and use, as is the motor speed control dial. Keeping it obvious and simple makes the tool easier to use.
I know the router boasts 3 LED lights, but I have never found lights in routers to be much of feature, maybe I need to do more routing in the dark, and the lights on this one were inconsequential for what I would use it for. I did like the fact that this package even included an Edge Guide, a Dust Collection Port and even a Template Guide ring. Dust ports are fairly common now on routers but few come with edge guides while many others ignore completely how and what to do with template guides almost never include anything to do with template guides.
In conclusion, I think if I owned a router unit like this, what I would try would be to mount the fixed base into my router table and leave the plunge base for hand routing. That way a person could quickly swap the motor back and forth between either of the bases and have the best of both worlds. Anyone who has used a wood router will agree that by far most of the things that a router is good at are done in a router table and the best base for this dual base unit would be the fixed base mount in the router table.
All in all I quite liked this router from Canadian Tire and I think most people would be happy to add it to their repertoire of woodworking tools. To find out more, check out their website ... Canadian Tire Router
Copyright – Colin Knecht