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Old 05-16-2012, 08:26 AM   #1
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what size router to buy.

I have a thick fiberglass boat and wondering what type and how much power a router to buy for doing hull penetrations. Any ideas. What router bits should I buy as well. I do have a Dremel tool with small bits. Hey thanks for some input.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:15 AM   #2
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I use a hole saw. I think I have every size in 1/8 increments from 3/4" to 4 1/2". One cannot have too many hole saws....
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:17 AM   #3
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+1 on the hole saws

I think a router would get away from you without a template, and that would be tough in a confined space like a boat.

BTW, what part of Alaska are you in?
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:18 AM   #4
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A router is sometimes the tool of choice for hull penetrations, but most often a hole saw in a drill motor is best. A hole saw certainly requires less skill and practice.

For smaller holes, most any 3/8" drill motor will work. If you're thinking six or eight inch holes, you need a 1/2" drill motor.

Using a hole saw, drill the pilot hole, then switch the drill to reverse and run the saw through the gel coat to reduce chipping. Then switch back to forward to finish the hole. Drilling most of the way through from the "good" side and finishing from the back makes the neatest hole.

Practice on scrap plywood first.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:24 AM   #5
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You want light enough to pick up

This something I actually know something about. If your just going to own just one router than a Porter Cable 1-3/4 693 LRPK router kit or the larger 893 2-1/4 hp Multi Base Router Kit would be excellent choices. This would give you the flexibility of having a plunge router or a standard base router that shares the same motor. They are available as soft start models as well. Porter Cable has owned the router world for ever and even though there are other good routers out there this the brand that you will see in 90% of professional shops. 90% of your routing will be done with the lightest router that will spin the bit, so don't buy something so big and clumsy you find it too inconvenient to use. I own many routers and actually leave them set up with dedicated bits ready to go for the common edge profiles commonly used. I have a half a dozen Porter Cable 100 routers that are easy to hold one handed and these are the ones most commonly used. These small routers are a little small to cut through 1/2 fiberglass but the larger models above will do it easily. Bosch and Dewalt make the best commonly available Carbide Router bits although there are custom bit makers like Amanna that make better bits. I would be cautious about buying Chinese bits on line as it's a crap shoot as to quality. I also have a Dewalt DWP 616 1-3/4 Router which I really like, they also make 1-1/4 hp 611pk which comes with a plunge router base like the Porter Cable two base kits. I haven't used this router but based on the 616 I have it probably a good tool. Stay away from Bosch routers as they have not held up or performed at the level of the Porter Cable tools. Dewalt has done a very good job making professional tools and I own a lot of them but Porter Cable still owns the router business. There are more fixtures and templates, template guides, bases, available for the Porter Cable than any of the other brand. I owned a production trim and door manufacturing business for years before retiring so my opinions are base on years of making a living creating saw dust. If your cutting small round holes a hole saw is the obvious choice if your cutting port holes and hatch openings than the router is a good choice if you want a clean splinter free hole but you will not be able to free hand the tool, you'll need a template. Routers are used mostly as a edge trimming tool but I use them for cutting panel , laminate, and solid surface products when I need perfectly sharp splinter free edges
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:49 PM   #6
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I need to make one hull deck penetration 5" for a smoke stack, and another for a transducer.
Right now we are selling a home in Fairbanks and moving seasonally to Skagway Southeastern Alaska and winters in the Philippines where we also have a live-aboard.
Thanks all for your helpful input.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #7
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The router is for cutting on the edge of the tool not the end.

Best route for a 5" hole on your upper deck would be a drawn circle and a saber saw.
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:33 PM   #8
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The router is for cutting on the edge of the tool not the end.

Best route for a 5" hole on your upper deck would be a drawn circle and a saber saw.
A hole saw will make a much neater hole than a sabre saw. And a sabre saw will tend to chip the gel coat because the blade cuts on the upstroke. You can buy blades that cut on the downstroke, but they make the saw harder to handle and the chipping will be on the back side.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:34 PM   #9
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Hole saw for circles...plain old circular saw for long cuts and a hole saw for rounded corners...unless the radius is too big then a saber saw or router...though I never see too many routers in boatyards these days.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:58 PM   #10
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I use one of these all the time on the boat. It's about the handiest grinder I've ever had. I use a solid carbide 1/2" bit that's very aggressive but still very easy to control.

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Old 05-17-2012, 06:42 AM   #11
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"I need to make one hull deck penetration 5" for a smoke stack,)

Jig saw will make a fine hole , and the flange of the water deck iron will cover any tiny Bo Bo.
Drill a hole and then use abrasive saw blade , not toothed.
Seal the edge after cutting with epoxy.


These abrasive blades can be had for Sawsall cuts too.

Drill any thru hull oversized and seal with at least 2 sessions with thickened epoxy. West 10 in the tube is fine tho expensive.

After bolting the sea cock to the hull, use Bedlast or NON PERMINANT (no 5200) to seal the thru hull.

This way it can be removed and inspected as needed with less effort.

Hamilton Marine sells the special wrench.

Without a pre made routing pattern a router freehand is far to dangerous!!!

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:04 PM   #12
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If you are doing a single hole and you want it to look good and be the right size just spend $24 for the 5" hole saw and $10 for the mandrel that goes into the drill. Assuming you have a 1/2" chuck in your drill or know someone who has.
The nice part about buying the hole saw and mandrel is that if you need other size holes you just by the bit. No doubt owning a boat you will have other needs for holes.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:18 AM   #13
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While a router is a real danger , we have been using the tiny router usually used to cut in electrical boxes in home construction .

They take a 1/4 in shank bit , and with double cut carbide bits will do a fantastic job of trimming , almost everything.

No hole saw for a size needed 1/8 larger?
With care opening the hole a bit is seconds.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:52 PM   #14
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You better use a angle drill for this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Charlie View Post
If you are doing a single hole and you want it to look good and be the right size just spend $24 for the 5" hole saw and $10 for the mandrel that goes into the drill. Assuming you have a 1/2" chuck in your drill or know someone who has.
The nice part about buying the hole saw and mandrel is that if you need other size holes you just by the bit. No doubt owning a boat you will have other needs for holes.
You haven't lived until you have a 5" hole wrap you up in a knot. You need a Milwaukee Hole Hog if you plan hanging on to a 5" hole saw.
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Old 05-19-2012, 12:47 AM   #15
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You haven't lived until you have a 5" hole wrap you up in a knot. You need a Milwaukee Hole Hog if you plan hanging on to a 5" hole saw.
Now you are just bragging about having the best of the tools. I am jealous to be sure. But it hurts to admit it.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:04 AM   #16
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"Now you are just bragging about having the best of the tools. I am jealous to be sure. But it hurts to admit it. "

In our CT area almost everything can be found at yard sales , 1c to 5c on the dollar for most items.

My most interesting find was a Porter Cable belt sander , in near new condition , that was "big as a bus".

Google , and found it was from the 1936 era.

The cost then was about $135.00, perhaps a months carpenter wages !!I paid $10.00.

Still works , tho the belts have to be ordered, not found on the local True Value shelf.

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Old 05-19-2012, 08:34 AM   #17
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Well... If it's about the SIZE of the router that counts. Mine is 5' x 10'

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Old 05-19-2012, 09:54 AM   #18
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Is that cad controled

Quote:
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Well... If it's about the SIZE of the router that counts. Mine is 5' x 10'



I wanted one of these to cut holes in steel doors. what are you doing with this one?
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:14 AM   #19
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I manufacture custom replacement dash panels, placards and marine signage in a small online business.

Fun tool. Pretty much anything you can draw, I can cut. I also have a CNC 100W CO2 laser that I use for engraving. The two tools compliment each other very well and are quite fun.

Not the best choice for blowing a 5" hole in the bottom of a boat though.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
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You haven't lived until you have a 5" hole wrap you up in a knot. You need a Milwaukee Hole Hog if you plan hanging on to a 5" hole saw.
Scary is right on the money. An electric drill powerful enough to drive a 5" hole saw is also powerful enough to do serious injury if the cutter jams in the hole. The weakest link in the hull/cutter/drill/ person chain is your wrists. If you can't get a Hole-Hog/Hawg, make sure you have a really good grip on the drill - one hand on the pistol-grip and the other on the back of the motor casing.
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