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It takes guts to completely redesign a woodworking tool, especially if you throw out most of what everyone has come to know and use. But that’s exactly what the design team at Bosch has done to the company’s router.

We are fortunate to have a prototype Bosch router combo set (MR23EVS) in our shop, with a fixed-base and plunge-base system. I need to mention this is a prototype so you’re not shocked if some small adjustments are made prior to this tool coming to market, but I can’t imagine what needs to change.

The Bosch team has tossed out the old designs and engineered a new setup that will make everyone sit up and take notice. For starters, and possibly the most innovative design change I’ve seen in routers, is a trigger-control system that puts the on/off switch in the handle of the router. You say that’s not new? You’re right, except I’m referring to the fixed base of the router and not just the plunge or D-handle bases as other companies have done.

Here’s how Bosch gets the trigger into the fixed-base handles. The router’s key element , and this is where the innovation is most noticeable , is a low-voltage track connection where the track half is attached to the 15-amp, variable-speed motor, while the rail half is mounted to the router’s fixed base and plunge base. Align the motor to either base, then slip the two together to engage the connection. Without the connection, it’s impossible to turn on the router.

What about dust getting into the connection? We asked the same question when we first handled the tool. We’re told that Bosch ran through myriad tests to identify any issues and found no problems. I did a few non-scientific tests as I used the router in my shop and I found no problems, either.

This connection not only allows the trigger to be in the handles, it also changes the way you use the fixed-base arrangement. Instead of twisting the router motor to make height adjustments, you have to make changes in the cutting height as you do when using a trim router. The fixed base has three notches for quick adjustment setting, and has a range of 1-5/8″ of fine-tune adjustment (one revolution of the knob equals a 1/16″). It takes a little getting use to, but after you make a couple adjustments, the changes are simple and exact.

Other design changes are:
–    The handles on the fixed base are redesigned for the better. These handles are similar to those on the plunge base , easy to grip and comfortable. No more round wooden handles to deal with.
–    The cord connection is offset to the motor and on a swivel that keeps the cord out of the view of the cut line. And with no cord coming out of the top of the motor, it’s easy to set this router upside down on the bench.
–    A few companies have lights placed somewhere on the cord to indicate there is power to the tool when the tool is plugged in. Bosch has taken that concept a bit further and located twin lights (LED) in the bottom of the motor. There they shine on the work area, too. That’s innovative.
–    The plunge base has a 3″ plunge range, new ergonomic handles and smooth operation , I did notice that you could slightly rock the motor as you plunge if you apply all your weight to one handle. That could cause a minor deflection in your cut. (I’ll bet the Bosch folks look into that before launching the tool.) In addition, the base plate is beefed up to enhance long-term rigidity.
–    Both bases come with a clear polycarbonate sub-base, for a better view of your workpiece.
 
This router is balanced as you work and with the trigger in the handles, you have total control at your fingertips. This router, when it becomes available, will most certainly be in our shop.

– Glen D. Huey

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Showing 13 comments
  • Payman

    I agree with many of the comments above concerning use on a router table. I currently mount a motor unit only on my two Bench Dog lifts. (Bosch 1617’s) Too bad they have not included some type of workaround for this, as it is very common to use the motor alone.

  • Vince

    Not good for those of us who mount the motor into CNC machines.

  • Bikerdad

    I have the current generation Bosch, and it would be nice if it’s primary shortcoming in my opinion is rectified.

    Steel screws securing the baseplate by threading into aluminum. How about a simple steel threaded insert so the screws don’t strip out? I currently only have the one router, which I use in my router table as well, so I need to change the baseplate on occasion and stripped out one of the screws in short order.

  • Larry

    Hi Glen,

    The router motors on the current Bosch routers do not rotate and use a similar notched system for coarse adjustment with a dial for fine adjustments. It’s easy to set and holds very well when locked down. I own several of the current series (1617 and 1618) and have found them to be excellent performers. The only problems I’ve encountered have been with the earliest models with the magnesium housing that tends to corrode and become difficult to move and some of the switches that stop working, usually at a very inopportune time. Despite these issues I would definitely buy another Bosch router and will look at the new models very carefully once their available to the general public.

    Larry

  • David

    Glen
    The triton router had a great feature whereby the shaft automatically was locked as it was raised to the top of the table allowing bits to be changed with only one wrench. what is the setup with the Bosch can bits be changed from above the table and what is the shaft locking arrangement

    David

  • Cliff

    Have both 1619evs and 1617evspk made a clear base
    for 1617 for dado jig. chose bosch over pc for maybe
    a minor thing – the threads for the collet nut seemed
    to be better machined. neat new ideas though.
    Do have the pc plate jointer – it is excellent.
    Do have an old craftsman, single speed 1/4 collet router,
    but always felt dangerous to operate which put me off
    routers. But now, a preferred tool in my shop as I find it
    safer for many operations. Hopefully different size
    collet nuts also available. Don’t like the adaptors
    that come with leigh dovetail jigs, I have bosch 8mm
    and 3/8 collet nuts – much safer than adaptors.
    Cliff

  • Lloyd

    I also have a 30+ year old Craftsman router with a light on the work and a switch in the handle. It’s my "go-to" router because of those features. I have used dozens of different routers over the years – they all suffered from awkward switch placement compared to my old Craftsman. I’m glad to see someone else has caught on. Nice features, but really not that innovative.

  • Greg Little

    Apparently this can be used in a router table only if you use the Bosch base also in the table. I have just recently purchased a Incra router table and Incra/Jessem Mast R Lift.Received it yesterday.It is still in the box since I am building a new table for the setup. It has adaptors available to use numerous router motors but this new Bosch is obviously one that will not work with my new system, Too bad.I like Bosch but could not consider this new unit.

  • Joe

    Glen, while Bosch’s new router may have innovative features, two that your mentioned can be found in my two 30-40 year old Craftsman routers; a switch in the handle and a light on the work.

  • Glen

    The low-voltage electrical connection means that this router can only be used with a base attached, there is no switch on the motor. That said, you can operate the router while inverted in a router table. In fact, it’s set up for through-the-plate adjustments while inverted.

    Glen

  • Nemo

    With the electrical track and handle switch, would this unit be able to work in a router table with or without a router lift?

  • Glen

    Hey Dave,

    We set the fixed-base router on the bench and turned it on at its highest speed setting. There was very little vibration, so little that the router stayed put in the middle of the bench (Bosch scores again). We’ll post a short video later. However, there is no built-in dust collection in either base.

  • dave brown

    Sweet! This may be the router combo that gets me to upgrade my DW616 set. I’ll be curious to see how Bosch scores in the vibration dept w/ their new router — their power tools usually have very little. The vibration in my DW616 is one its few flaws.

    Does the plunge base incorporate dust collection?

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