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The Porter Cable 892 Fixed-Base Router is Porter Cable’s entry in the mid-sized 2-hp to 2-1/4-hp router bracket. For all-round use, a mid-sized router can be the perfect compromise between the 3-hp behemoths and the new breed of smaller trim routers. They have enough power to cope with the majority of work you’ll be doing, but without the bulk and weight of the larger routers than can be a handful to use freehand.
The Porter Cable 892 is a good all-round machine that has all the features you need and works particularly well in a router table, such as a 1/2-inch collet, good range of depth adjustment and the motor unit is easy to remove from the base, as well as the facility to change bits from above the table to enable quick and easy bit changes.
What to look for when buying a Router
Of all the woodworking tools available, a router is probably one of the most versatile. Due to its incredible versatility, every wood worker, including beginners, will have a need for a router at some time, and many have more than one. However, with the huge range available, it’s not easy to choose the one that’s best suited to your needs – that’s why we’re going to look at a number of the features that you should be considering such as router power ratings and variable speed, router bit size, accurate depth setting with fine adjustment control and whether you should be considering a Fixed Base Router or a Plunge Router.
Powerful, Variable-Speed Motor with Soft Start
When looking at routers, one of the most important feature to look for is the horsepower rating of the motor. The Porter Cable 892’s powerful 12 amp, 2-1/4 HP motor gives you enough power for the majority of jobs you are likely to tackle and it’s got variable-speed motor (10,000 to 23,000 rpm) to allow you to set the optimal speed for the routing task and material as, the larger the bit, the slower the cutting speed needs to be. If you try to run a large cutter at high speed you will burn the stock and increase tearout.
It’s also got soft start which reduces torque on start-up and stops the router from twisting in your hands when using it freehand, especially important with a powerful machine. In addition to easier handling, the soft start results in reduced strain and wear and tear on the motor itself, leading to longer motor life.
Router bit size
The bit shank size of the router is another important factor in deciding on a router. The two most common bit shank sizes are 1/4″ and 1/2″ and you should consider the projects you want to complete and the availability of bit sizes you need for these projects. The most common shank size is 1/2″ and you will find a much larger selection of bits available in the 1/2″ size and you will also find that some of the more specialist bits (mainly used by professionals) only come in 1/2″. The 892 comes with both 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets giving you complete choice. When you’ve got the choice you should always choose the larger diameter shank, as the larger the shank diameter, the less likely the router bit is to vibrate during cutting. Excessive vibration of the cutter will give a poor cut, and, as a general rule, you should always choose the largest shank diameter cutter your router will accept. 1/2-inch diameter shank bits are also more durable and less prone to flexing under load.
Accurate Fixed and Plunge Cuts
All routers, whether fixed base or plunge, need to have a means of accurately adjusting bit depth. On the Porter Cable 892 you make the initial adjustment by releasing the motor release lever, moving the motor body and then re-locking the release lever, and then making fine adjustments down to 1/128-inch with precise, rack and pinion adjustment. Used in a router table you can also make above-the-table height adjustments using a micro- height adjustment knob (sold separately).
Fixed Base Router vs. Plunge Router
What’s the difference? Simply put, a fixed base router is one on which you set a specific depth, and that depth stays consistent while using the tool. A plunge router, on the other hand, allows you to plunge the router bit downward and into the stock, make the desired cut, and then lift the bit back out of the stock. Obviously it’s a matter of personal preference, but in general, a plunge router is used for hand held routing when making a stopped cut (one that does not go all the way to the edge of the stock e.g. a mortise) and a fixed base router tends to be used in a Router Table and for hand held routing when a stopped cut is not required.
The Porter Cable 892 is a fixed base router which can be used freehand or in a table and has a number of good features to facilitate both. It has two power switches; when using the router freehand you use the lower switch which can be accessed while still keeping both hands on the handles, meaning you keep more control of the router and it’s much safer; when used in a router table you use the upper power switch which, when the router is inverted in the table, is actually right at the bottom of the router as it sits in the table, and so it’s easy to get at.
When it’s in a router table, by using the (optional) 3/16-inch hex socket, you can make above-the-table changes to bit height; in addition the spindle and collet extend far enough through the table enabling you to change bits from above the table as well.
How much should you expect to pay?
You can get it on the web for around $180 – $200
What’s in the box?
The 892 comes with everything you need to take on the toughest fixed base routing jobs
- 12 amp, 2-1/4 HP variable-speed router motor
- Fixed base
- 1/4- and 1/2-inch collets
- Collet wrench
- Carrying case and operating manual
What are other people saying?
This router has attracted some pretty impressive comments
- “All in all I would give it six stars if I could”
- “I have never been more impressed with a power tool”
- “Outstanding in & out of the table”
- “Best Router Ever”
- “I know you won’t be disappointed. I sure haven’t been!”
We found some complaints that the motor overheated but users need to be aware that this is a powerful tool that does develop heat! If you enclose it in a table and don’t provide adequate ventilation for it to keep cool, it will burn up. The answer of course is not to enclose it without adequate ventilation.
What kind of warranty is there?
The Porter Cable 892 is backed by Porter Cable’s three-year warranty.
The Porter Cable 892 Fixed-Base Router is Porter Cable’s entry in the mid-sized 2-hp to 2-1/4-hp router bracket. For all-round use, a mid-sized router can be the perfect compromise between the 3-hp behemoths and the new breed of smaller trim routers. They have enough power to cope with the majority of work, but without the bulk and weight of the larger routers than can be a handful to use freehand.