Routers are versatile — they can mill, do moulding, create dados, dovetails, mortises, and much more — but full-size routers, especially models over 1-1/2 or 2 HP, can be intimidating and hard to keep level when cutting narrow material like the side of a board. The smaller “palm” routers started coming out a few years ago, and now Craftsman has gotten into that game with their Professional Fixed-Base Palm Router.
Unlike most routers, this one comes with an additional base to help control the router when making difficult cuts. It also lights up your work surface with built-in dual LEDs — you won’t appreciate the extra lighting until you try a router that has this feature.
Craftsman seals the bearings of the router’s 1-1/4 HP motor, for minimal maintenance. You can vary the speed from 18,000 to 28,000 RPM to accommodate different materials and different sized bits. Like most newer routers, this one sports a spindle lock, so you only need a single wrench to change out bits. And a soft-start feature brings the motor up to speed, so you don’t have that hard jerk or twist when starting.
The Craftsman Professional Fixed-Base Palm Router uses 1/4″ bits only and sells for about $110.