Router Woodworking

DeWalt 621

The DW621 is still a relevant plunge router, and the router I use the most. Not what it used to be (an ELu), but still acceptable. It was buoyant on its plunge springs; now it takes >5 pounds to plunge it. And, it's a bit sticky as it slides down the tubes. Look for ~2.25" of plunge depth, with no up-stop, (few plungers have one).

A 9 lb. tool with VS and 1/4" & 1/2" collets supplied. It takes but one wrench & the spindle lock to undo and tighten cutters. This is not a convenience. The router won't stand on its head and it's easy to bang one of the tubes with the wrench, whilst the router is on its side. You can't see what you're doing either. This tool is essentially unchanged from the Elu design, >25 years ago, a complacent DW intention. Imagine how upset you'd be if your IPhone was not upgraded every 4-6 months.

The 621 was the first US router to have integral chip collection that works most of the time*. The chips actually pass through the large diameter plunge tube. However, this was at the expense of router control. As a result of the exhaust system, the spindle is not centered and the bugger is only 4.25" wide in the direction of travel. And it is very unstable whilst edge or end routing. (I make base plates that will obviate this ergonomic flaw).

The tool is double insulated with an 8' 2 wire polarized plug. Its VS is quite good, but in my sample there is vibration with some cutters at top speed. The switch is 2 stage. It can't be fired accidentally. Moreover, a glance at the trigger/switch will tell you whether it's on or off as you plug in it.

I would not use this tool upside down in a router table. It hasn't the power or the aplomb. I would scrap the depth stop turret. I faced off the anvil (the target of the depth stop) and added a lever to the lock. If ever you should lose the end point target of your plunge, the work will most likely be scrap. In my view, the cutter can be adjusted to + or - .001" without heroics.

The ergonomics of the tool are a mixed bag. On the one hand, you control the speed, the plunge, the plunge lock, the steerage, and the switch with both hands on the ball knobs. No other router has that kind of control. On the other hand, the short casting axis is in the direction of travel, easy to tip over. And while edge routing, you can't plunge it without tipping it and you can't keep it flat rounding a corner!

In spite of my lack of enthusiasm for this tool; I use it with all my portable jigs and fixtures. I have specialized base plates for my mortiser, many templet routs, & I waste aluminum and plastic with it. Moreover, I cut big (>2-4") holes in aluminum, plastic and MDF with it and I use it on my circle maker. I design my jigs first with the 621 in mind. So bottomline: It is a compromise but the best compromise in RouterDom.

* The chip collector works on inside cuts such as mortising. But it will not collect doing edge work.

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Last modified: Mon Feb 20 06:44:37 PST 2017