Makita RP1801 Router

Monday 9 July 2018

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This big, powerful, heavy and well-built machine comes in the standard Makita colour scheme but does not make many concessions to design over substance. The rubberised banana handgrips are comfortable and the switch is fitted in the right-hand one. This version is single speed which equates to the older 3612 model.

The plunge columns slide easily and are secured by the large lock lever on the reverse. The depth stop can be wound up and down for fine adjustment, or the rather stiff push button allows quick, coarse, height changes. It sets against a traditional 3-stage turret stop.

The spindle lock is push-button operated and the base takes bayonet guidebushes although none was supplied in the kit.

The fence is a serious upgrade but unfortunately it fits in very loose V-bottomed slots in the fence, relying on tightened knobs for a good fit.

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One column has a threaded rod that projects through the case top and has a nylon nut that can be wound down to set the top height. You can take off the captive nut, unwind the lower nut to the top of the rod and engage the optional large hand-wind knob, allowing for easier height setting.

A wasted feature is a threaded hole on the motor body and a matching one in the base. A long threaded machine screw fits through, allowing fine-height adjustment in a router table, so you will need a router table with clamps. The screw head is quite small and would get damaged very quickly with use.

On test

It does kick aside on start-up but the incredibly smooth motor instantly gives confidence to the user.

The fence needs to be tightened up properly to be completely rigid.

Extraction is adequate with an alternative dust shield.

The collet is fine, but the reducing sleeves for smaller shanks need careful tightening.