Pros:Size, super handy, outstanding build/detail's, very accurate
The Bottom Line: This could be the closest thing to a do it all router. There isnt to much it won't do. Its well thought out and extremely well built.
I finally got off my butt and bought a trim router. I swore that I never had a use for one but they seem to have become all the rage. My big old Bosch 1604 and thirty year old Craftsman Plunge router seemed to be able to do anything I ever needed to do with a router, so what for? Well I did my research and decided on the Bosch Colt VS. The basic kit with no extra bases or accessories. I figured if it worked out well I could buy the attachments later. If it didnt. Well it would be RIP on E-bay.
Recommend this product?
Work out well turned out to be an understatement. Of all the tools that have made their way into my wood shop, this has turned out to be one of my all time favorites. The old 1604 has been knocked from her pedestal as the go to router. Its not hard to figure out why. The colt sets up fast and easy, is so lite weight that you can use it like a hand tool and its ready to go and get the job done without a lot of fuss.
This is a 1 horsepower, 5.7 amp variable speed router with a fixed base. Granted in router speak 1 horsepower doesnt seem like a lot. It will do an incredible amount of work for its potential though. I have no problem doing any type of edge work, cutting dovetails or any other type of groove work with it. I would be somewhat leery about doing any raised panel work with larger bits though. The motor will get hot after a few good cuts, so I would reserve that for a bigger motor on a router table just to be safe.
The variable speed is a very welcome addition. It will run from 16,000 to 35,000 RPM, controlled by a nice wheel type rotary switch on the top, just above the on/off switch. The switch action from both switches is positive and accurate. Both switches are easy to access from the grip. And what a grip! That contoured motor grip is fantastic. Its got that non-slip rubberized tact to it and your hand seems to fit perfectly in place. I can move my hand around it to get the correct stance for any cut I may be making.
The fixed base is very solid. Its square edges make it nice to use with homemade jigs. To remove the motor from the base is simple. Just unsnap the over center band lock and twist the motor a few degrees counter clockwise and out it comes. When you put it back in be sure to twist into the fine adjust screw teeth so you can make very precise adjustments to the depth. Those teeth also ensure it has no movement up or down under hard cutting. There is a wheel adjustment on the side of the base that allows you to make the fine adjustments. It will move in very small increments of adjustment. There is a scale marked off on the front of the motor that coincides with the base marker. The markers are hashed off in 1/16ths and in Millimeters and are very easy to read.
I find using the router to be very easy. Although the motor can be quickly pulled out for bit changes, I found that there is plenty of room in the base cutout so that the arbor lock can still be accessed with the motor slid up high enough to replace the bits with the base mounted. The arbor lock has a long throw to engage the shaft but that works to your advantage. When changing out bits with the motor in the base, if your right up on the button, then the more you push it in the more you have access to it.
The base also has sufficient area to allow you to see what your cutting. Iv seen other bases with better visibility, but Id question how strong they are and how well they stabilize the motor when in use. There is also an edge guide that quickly mounts to the base to allow you to keep a straight line when working over an edge. Its not the highest quality guide, but it certainly works well.
The motor has a soft start feature that helps reduce the start up torque of the motor. Thats nice because with a motor this small and with 1 HP output, Im sure to many stops and starts without it could get annoying. The Collette is a standard ¼ inch size. All my router bits are this size so I didnt have to go out and buy anything different. You can use up to a 1 5/16 in bit. Thats pretty darn big and I dont plan on using anything that size in this machine. But suppose you had to. Well you could if you wanted.
What you get in the kit is the following. The router, a straight edge guide, a single wall plastic carrying case, fixed base, and a Collette wrench for changing bits. Of course there is also a very complete owners manual with instructions I still havent read. I have to commend Bosch for the carrying case. It uses proper hinges that wont break from wear. It uses a set of rugged clip over latches and is of a single wall construction so theres no wasted space. I bought the basic kit, but the case will take all the optional attachments in case you want to upgrade. Thank goodness for that. Right now I just have a box of router bits stuffed in there with the tool.
To wrap up, Iv got to say that Im really impressed with this tool. Glad I did my homework and find myself an old dog thats learned a new trick Iv only been using this tool for about six months, but cant imagine life without it now. For its outstanding build quality, attention to real user details and for convenience in use I can wholeheartedly recommend this router.
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