trim router advice

fatdaddypreacher

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well, folks, looks like it's tool time. Having been a professional woodworker for many years, I always buy the best tool I can afford for the price. My health and work are such that about the only thing i have a use for a laminate trim router for these days is binding channels, and very little of that. Anybody have any feedback on the harbor freight offering? Normally I wouldn't buy any significant power tools from them, but for 30 bucks instead of three times that, I was wondering if I could trust it for a few guitar bodies? thanks
 

Skyjerk

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I buy harbor freight HVLP guns to shoot simtec polyester coating. I might get a few uses and then it’s shot. You just can’t clean that gunk out. I consider those HF guns disposable. I would never shoot that crap in my good gun :)

for 30 bucks you might get some use, but I wouldn’t think it’ll last all that long

I use a Bosch colt router for that job. Bought one and im still using it 8 years later, works as well today as it did when I bought it.

there are exceptions, but most of the time I find that with tools you get what you pay for
 

fatdaddypreacher

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i agree completely. i have three or four bodies already routed for binding, but have a custom i'm working on i need to do, and short of some future headstocks to go with the routed bodies i have, i doubt this router will see much use. i had a porter cable for years that i dedicated to my channel routing sled, but it gave up the ghost. i ain't much on borrowing tools, so i'll probably get the hf unless i get a scare story. I have their black widow gun and it's excellant, but haven't had the opportunity to use it much. thx
 

Brewdude

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Am I correct in thinking this is the HF router you're thinking of?
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If so it seems pretty low on power at 2.4A, compare to the Rigid I have (basically the same as most other laminate trimmers) that is 5.5A. I know we're just talking about cutting binding channels but I dunno, seems a little light to me...

Similarly I filtered the reviews to negative only and it seemed some people had issues with the depth adjustment and said it was sort of flimsy and would let go (standard disclaimer of you never know who is leaving these comments). However I would agree from looking the above plastic lock knobs it seems not super robust. Again, I don't think binding is too taxing of a job for a router, but I would hate to ruin a binding job by it slipping down midway through a cut.

I totally get not wanting to spend extra money on a specialty tool you won't use often, but personally I would want to splurge up to the $100-level routers to prevent ruining a build...
 

fatdaddypreacher

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that is in fact the one. i too would normally shy from a cheap tool, and obviously, would hate to ruin a body because of a routing mishap. that's why i posted. thanks so much for the time you took to respond.
 

rockgod212

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the first trim router i bought was one of those cheaper ones not the harbor frieght one but one like it. the issue i had with the cheap one was the way the chuck/ collet was set up- the bit always seemed off kilter and i couldnt get a very good cut. i ended up finding a used rigid type on ebay a few years back for maybe 75 bucks, so look at some used stuff. i would skip that router.
 

Joe Desperado

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I had bought the original (orange color) HF trim router for my floating binding channel jig. It’s still in use for now 15 years or so. This is used on arch tops and flattop guitars or any tops that have curves. For electric guitars that are flat (IE tele) or for neck or headstock binding, I use a router table. Same bits.

The harbor freight trim router does have a bit of run out.
 

bradland

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i agree completely. i have three or four bodies already routed for binding, but have a custom i'm working on i need to do, and short of some future headstocks to go with the routed bodies i have, i doubt this router will see much use. i had a porter cable for years that i dedicated to my channel routing sled, but it gave up the ghost. i ain't much on borrowing tools, so i'll probably get the hf unless i get a scare story. I have their black widow gun and it's excellant, but haven't had the opportunity to use it much. thx
How did the Porter Cable fail? Bearings, brushes, switch...? All these can be replaced to bring it back to life. Type in the model number at https://www.ereplacementparts.com and you should be able to order every part you'll need. :yesway:
 

Roxy13

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I have the Bosch colt but it hasn't seen heavy use yet. Binding channels and I have radiused one fb with it so far after making a radius jig.

My larger router is Bosch and I've had that one at least a decade I think.
 

Bainzy

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Does it have to be a trim router? Is it a question of weight, or dimensions?

Almost everyone seems to use one for their binding channel jig but I'm sure I saw someone using a smaller 1/4" plunge router as well on a forum. Im wondering myself as I have this sort of jig on my to do list.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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How did the Porter Cable fail? Bearings, brushes, switch...? All these can be replaced to bring it back to life. Type in the model number at https://www.ereplacementparts.com and you should be able to order every part you'll need. :yesway:
the collet ended up needed replacing and the bearings were going out. frankly, this was at a time in my life where it would be so much simpler and less disruptive to just replace it. unfortulately, i had complications during back surgery 2 years ago and eveything changed overnight. i don't even know where the router is. may have deep sixed it. thanks
 

Joe Desperado

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@Bainzy

For the floating binding jig, its about the size and weight. A full size Porter Cable router (for example) would be too heavy for the jig to float over on the top. (The jig allows the router to follow the top contours…think the Les Paul castaway binding area.).

Specifically for binding, the router could be as small as available (expect for a dremel) as there almost no load on the motor.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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yes, the porter cable i had was a small laminate trimmer. worked perfectly....until it didn't. will probably go with another one since that is what my jig is set up for. thanks
 

Joe Desperado

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yes, the porter cable i had was a small laminate trimmer. worked perfectly....until it didn't. will probably go with another one since that is what my jig is set up for. thanks
I also have a small Rockwell/Porter Cable trim routers. Its a fantastic router. I use that for routing painting guitars (like when ask to add a pickup, enlarge a hole etc). It fits around the guitar parts (like a set neck, bridge posts etc) and requires a smaller template than a larger router. My larger routers are also PC as they are great tools.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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i couldnt stand the thought of not buying at least a moderately decent router. settled for a bosch 'palm' router. for all intent and purposes i would call it a laminte trim router, but will serve my purposes perfectly, and have always had great success with bosch products. all i have to do now is adapt it to my binding cutting jig and wait for proper bearings to come in....probably tomorrow. thanks for the tips.
 

Joe Desperado

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That's a good one too! The other really nice small router out is the Dewalt 611. A bit larger than a PC trim router but smaller than the big boys. I have that on my small CNC machine and its excellent. Low run out and there are precision (E style) collets available for them. I use my small CNC for inlays and smaller cuts (.024 and smaller cuts) because of the Dewalt 611's accuracy.
 

solteroblues

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I have two, a Rigid, and while it works perfectly, I wanted a plunge router the same size, so I bought the little DeWalt trim router with a fixed and plunge base. It seems so much nicer for not much more money than the Rigid was. I have a bigger router mounted in a table that I could always take out and use as a hand held, but the little DeWalt has all the power I need for most things, plus it's so much easier to maneuver. I don't think you'll be disappointed with a trim router, ESPECIALLY for binding routing.
 


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