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I will start my biggest project to date in a few months, and now I'm buying and studying the tools needed.

Which router is most useful in cabinet making? A plunge router or a laminate trimmer? Both of them can take 1/4" bits (I can't find larger bits around), and the price diference is not all that great, even though the laminate trimmer has half the power (around 550W for the laminate trimmer and 1100W for the plunge).

What I THINK I will be doing with it:

  • Cutting rabbets and dados for joinery

  • Trimming laminate (formica)

  • Chamfering edges

  • Smoothing edges

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A laminate trimmer is pretty specialized and not a good choice for deeper wood working. A decent lockable plunge router can handle all the tasks you listed. I would invest in a good quality larger router as my first, more versatile tool.

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+1 for the plunged router. I suggest to find a model that can take in 1/2" shank as well. I also couldn't find any 1/2" shanks in my local stores. As soon as I started shopping online, I found some that fitted my needs. I'm glad that my router can take both, I saved a couple bucks. –  Maxime Morin Mar 19 '13 at 14:05
1  
@Maxime: 1/2" is nice, especially if your doing a lot of heavy duty work. A half inch that also takes 1/4" bits is rare, usually have to change chucks. Most folks would be well served with a 1/4". Bits are readily available and much cheaper than 1/2 bits. –  shirlock homes Mar 19 '13 at 14:58
    
Just to comment on this, in Brazil I never seem a 1/2" bit anywhere, so I would have to do some digging. Most plunge routers here can take 6mm, 1/4" and 8mm. I found some 8mm bits but it also very rare. –  Luiz Borges Mar 19 '13 at 15:39
    
@shirlockhomes On my routers, changing chucks takes about 30s to do, I don't see that as a drawback. My model with both shank cost a $10 extra; it is well worth it. As for 1/2" shank being more expensive, it varies a lot. I've seen 1/4" straight bits as expensive as 1/2" straight bits. Some bits are only available at 1/2". –  Maxime Morin Mar 19 '13 at 18:09
    
@LuizBorges Did you check to see if there's more bits available with mm shanks than inches? Where I live, mm bits are really really rare, it could be different in Brazil. –  Maxime Morin Mar 19 '13 at 18:13

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