1617-12 Router - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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1617-12 Router

Craftsman - 1617-12 Router

The Craftsman 1617-12 router features a built-in router lift and comes with a fixed base and plunge base

$220 (As of 2/1/2007)

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Editor's Review: Tool Test: Routers for Router Tables

by Roland Johnson

review date: February 1, 2007

The Craftsman 1617-12 router is one in a new class of routers that features an integrated router lift that makes it ideal for use in a router table. We tested similar routers from seven manufacturers. Our tests included checking runout with a dial indicator and inspected how each router worked by testing it with a tall molding bit.

The Craftsman is nearly identical to the Bosch 1617EVs. Bit changing is a chore on this tool when it is mounted in a router table. The collet doesn't extend above the table and it doesn't have a spindle lock. To make the adjustment, you have to reach below the table with two wrenches or remove the router from the table.

A plunge base is included in addition to the fixed base, however the above-table adjustments aren't included on the plunge base.

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Editor Test Results:

Bit Changing Fair
Base Changing N/A
Plunge/Height Adjustment Excellent
Runout 0.005
Quality of Cut Good
Vibration at Handles N/A
Router Table Suitability Excellent
Noise Rating N/A

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Craftsman
Manufacturer's Web Site www.craftsman.com
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-697-3277
Opening at Base 3-11/16
Built-in Dust Collection No
Horsepower 2-1/4 HP
Amps 12 amps
Watts N/A
Volts N/A
Speed Variable: 8,000 rpm to 25,000 rpm
Collet Size 1/2 in. and 1/4 in.
Maximum Plunge/Height N/A
Tilting Base No
Special Features Built-in router lift
Product Warranty No

I have a Porter Cable 895 and a Skill router as well that I have permently mounted to my router table. I have come to love the ease of handling this router it feels good in my hands and allows me to do most everything the PC does and more. For the money it's as good as or better then the PC and it's my favorite tool in the shop. ALthough changing bits is not the easiest of jobs it's not that bad and once you do it a few times it's second nature to just pick up the wrenches and change the bits. I'd recommend this router and score it right up there with the Porter Cable 895.

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