Monday, November 28, 2011

DeWalt DWP611 Mini Router Review

I got myself a new tool today.  My big Bosch router refused to start, I really needed to get some little hinge mortises cut, and I've been eyeing these little pint-sized routers for a while. This class of 1/4" collet routers has evolved over the past few years from the laminate trimmer category.

This one is really a miniaturized fixed-base router complete with all the features you'd expect.  The motor has a 7A rating, which probably means it's got enough power to drive any bit you'd find in a 1/4" shank. It also has a clear sub-base, variable speed control, and a pair of LED lights around the collet.  I played around with a few models in the store before buying this one at Lowe's for $119.  The LED lights and much smoother adjustment system sold it vs. the Bosch that was my second choice. It's made in Mexico, which is OK with me.

It's 3" in diameter at the grip (it's meant to be held in one hand at a textured metal grip near the base) and about 9" tall, although that changes depending on the depth setting. Depth is adjusted via a ring (marked in 1/64" increments) above the grip that engages threads in the motor housing.  Very fine adjustments are easy to make.  The height is locked with a cam buckle latch, or two tabs can be squeezed to quickly remove the motor from the base for bit changes.

So far I've just cut a few 1/16" deep hinge mortises in a pair of cabinet doors, so I can't speak to the power of this little tool, but I don't think that's the main selling point anyway.  I bought it for control over detailed cuts, and it did a great job balanced on the edge of a 3/4" workpiece without being wobbly.  Tomorrow I'll cut the matching hinge mortises in the face frame of my new bathroom cabinet, and I expect that to be pretty easy, too.

One-handed grip is good