Tools & Materials

We review compact-router plunge bases, a quiet compressor, and more.

- —Tested by Jan Svec

Bigger may often be better, but we’re in love with smaller routers, represente­d by the current plethora of nimble compact and trim routers, both corded and cordless. The only downside: They typically come only in fixed-base versions. But during the past couple of years, four manufactur­ers have started offering optional plunge bases that increase the versatilit­y of these mini-mights. Here’s what we learned about them in our shop tests.

Milwaukee 48-10-5601, $110

Fits Milwaukee 18-volt router no. 2723-20 Turret: 6 steps in ⁄8" increments Plunge travel: 2"

Bit opening in subbase: 2" Pluses: With large, ergonomic handles, an intuitive plunge lever lock, and silky-smooth plunge action, this base works well. It also comes with a detachable dust-collection hood. Minuses: We found the small triangular locking knob on the depth-stop rod difficult to grip and turn.

800-729-3878, milwaukeet­ool.com

DeWalt DNP612, $85

Fits DeWalt 20-volt router no. DCW600B, and 1 14 ⁄ -hp corded router no. DWP611

Turret: 5 steps in 14 ⁄ " increments (one step adjustable)

Plunge travel: 2 1 ⁄8"

Bit opening in subbase: 1 3 ⁄16"

Pluses: The stepped bit opening accepts two-piece guide bushings— the only one to do so. We can’t imagine using a bit bigger than this opening, so we appreciate the extra subbase support. Excellent plunge lock and movement. Minuses: The 14 ⁄ " steps on the turret sometimes result in routing deeper increments than we like with a router in this class.

800-433-9258, dewalt.com

Bosch PR111, $100

Fits Bosch Colt 1 14 ⁄ -hp corded router no. GKF125CEN

Turret: 7 steps in 1 ⁄8" increments (2 steps adjustable)

Plunge travel: 2 14 ⁄ "

Bit opening in subbase: 2 1 ⁄8"

Pluses: Similar in many ways to the PRO11, this model shares its strengths.

Minuses: None

877-267-2499, boschtools.com

Bosch PR011, $100

Fits Bosch Colt 1-hp corded router no. PR20EVS

Turret: 7 steps in 1 ⁄8" increments (2 steps adjustable)

Plunge travel: 2 14 ⁄ "

Bit opening in subbase: 2 1 ⁄8" Pluses: Its plunge action, lock, and turret all work smoothly, and the handles grip nicely.

Minuses: None 877-267-2499, boschtools.com

Makita 196094-2, $100

Fits Makita 18-volt router no. XTR01Z and 1 14 ⁄ -hp corded router no. RT0701C Turret: 3 steps (all adjustable)

Plunge travel: 1 ⁄2"

Bit opening in subbase: 2 1 ⁄2" Pluses: Nice handles and smooth plunge action

Minuses: The short plunge-lock lever defaults to free plunge—the others default to locked—so you have to press down on the lever to lock it, an awkward setup. We found the depth rod clumsy to use, and we’d prefer more turret stops. The large bit opening reduces the amount of subbase contact when routing on small or narrow workpieces.

800-462-5482, makitatool­s.com

3-gallon Quiet Series air compressor, no. MAC320Q, $260 Because my home workshop resides in the basement, I’m always looking for ways to reduce noise—and keep my wife happy. This oil-free compressor purrs along at an astonishin­gly low 66 decibels, quieter than all my other machines, except the drill press. The reason: Rather than the traditiona­l singlecyli­nder, 3,450-rpm pump of most oil-free compressor­s, the MAC320Q compresses with two cylinders running at half that speed.

The 3-gallon tank provides plenty of air: I fired 39 11⁄2" brads with my nailer before the pump kicked on to refill. And it has two quick-connect ports, in case I ever need to operate two nailers at the same time. The gauges read easily from a standing position, and the large hose-pressure adjuster turns easily. It weighs 52 pounds, but it’s not a burden to carry.

Makita 800-462-5482, makitatool­s.com

 ??  ?? Read our review of trim and compact routers. woodmagazi­ne.com/ trimrouter­power
Read our review of trim and compact routers. woodmagazi­ne.com/ trimrouter­power
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