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Thread: Newbie question on Porter cable router

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    42

    Newbie question on Porter cable router

    I recently purchased a porter cable 694 router because I wanted a quality tool to start my introduction to routing.

    My question is regarding the power of this model. It is 1 3/4 HP and after reading some here in the forums it seems the suggestions are for at least 2HP.

    Do you think this router is a good choice to start or should I go a little higher with the power?

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    It's a good start. That router replaced the old 690 1 1/2hp series. They just upped the hp some.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    South Windsor, CT
    Posts
    3,304
    Ken,

    Welcome to SMC!

    I started with a PC 691 router which is basically the same thing that you have but in single speed. It's done everything I've ever asked of it. The first thing I'd do is get the D-handle base for your router. I REALLY like the trigger-style on/off and the ability to lift the whole router up with 1 hand. I did get a plunge base for use in my old router table or freehand plunge routing in the middle of a workpiece.

    The one thing that our size routers will not do as well as a larger router is spin a big panel-raising bit. For that size bit you really want one of the larger routers like the PC 3 1/4 HP Speedmatics. Other than that, you've got a great router to start with a no real reason to upgrade (except to add the other bases).

    Rob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Canton, GA
    Posts
    42
    Thanks Rob, I appreciate the feedback.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Concord, NC
    Posts
    2,159
    Welcome Ken, it's a very good choice. You don't really want a heavy router for your everyday needs. When you decide to dedicate a router to a table and larger profile bit you can look at the 3hp routers. But for edge work and joint making there isn't much difference between 1 3/4 and 2 hp.

    Richard

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    4,225
    Ken. Welcome to Sawmill Creek. The PC 694 is a nice router. Big enough to perform a wide variety of tasks, and small enough to not be a burden when used in hand.
    As to the question of should you get a bigger router? The answer is yes, but not right now. You'll know when you need a bigger one, I guarantee it.
    No one that does woodworking for any length of time has just one router. Most end up with 2 or 3 at least, usually more. One for a permanent table mount, two for dovetail jigs, to avoid swapping bits and making a zillion test cuts. One smallish one for bench work, a nice plunge router, and a nice fixed router.
    Why so many? when you start to do a lot of pattern/template work you like to keep your routers set up until the project is finished, no bit swapping ,or depth changes equals less errors, at least for me
    You have a nice router. A few template bushings, an edge guide, some good bits and your ready to go.
    Once again, pleased to meet ya'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    23,687
    Welcome to the Creek Ken! I started with an old Craftsman 1 1/2hp router. It served me well for over 20 years. Then in the middle of a project it broke and I ended up with a slightly larger PC. As stated by others, the only real need for a larger router is for larger bits, mainly panel raising bits. If I was starting out with my first router, the one you have would do just fine. BTW....a gloat (as in a new router) isn't an official gloat without a photo! Did I mention we like pics? Again....Welcome!
    Ken

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Mont. Co. MD
    Posts
    973
    I've got three of the 690 series routers. One for plunge, one for d-handle (short cord motor), and one for the table. You won't be disappointed. So many accessories are available for this router motor. At some point you may want a bigger one to do large diameter bits, but in the mean time you should be able to do everything you need to do with this router.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    266
    Excellent choice imho. A good all around router; the variable speed is a good thing as the newer 1 3/4 hp 690's spin faster (27,500 rpm) vs the 22,500 rpm of the older 1 1/2 hp 690's which allow you to use a wider variety of bits.

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