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The Bosch PR20EVSK kit includes a nice fence and forged collet wrench in the carry case.
Click image to enlarge

Bosch PR20EVSK Palm-Grip Router Kit

It's not just a laminate trimmer

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   The Robert Bosch Tool Company (Mt. Prospect, IL) once again blurs the line between contractors and woodworkers with the release of their PR20EVSK Palm-Grip Router. At first glance, the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router looks like a laminate trimmer and it handles those chores very well. However, look closer and you see this is a very capable tool for the home woodworking shop as well.

Initial Impressions

   Visually, the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router looks very well built with cleanly manufacturer parts and precise assembly. At 7.5"-tall and weighing just 3.3 lbs, the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router seems small for the power and capabilities it possesses. Testing would show in no uncertain terms that the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router is more than a simple trim router.

   The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router comes in a protective plastic carry case with plenty of storage room for the 10'-long cord, included fence and other available accessories.

Power and Control

The 1 Hp Colt motor in the PR20EVSK kit is the strongest in this class but controllable thanks to a dial-operated speed control.
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   To even be considered as a woodworking tool these days, the power available must be impressive. In this regard, the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router is an overachiever with its class-leading Colt 1 Hp (max) motor. Bosch applied their extensive electric motor design and manufacture capabilities to make the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router not only as strong as they come but very quiet, smooth running and long lasting. User accessible carbon brushes extend the potential life span even further.

   To control the power Bosch added their Soft-Start and Constant Response Circuitry. Soft-Start limits torque "kick" of the motor when switched on. Constant Response Circuitry monitors the load on the motor and increases power output to maintain the selected RPM.

   A dial-operated electronic speed control allows the operator to set bit speed anywhere in the 16,000 to 35,000 RPM range. While the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router is designed to handle bit no larger than 1 ¼" in diameter, controlling speed remains very important for cut quality, performance and safety. The infinitely adjustable speed control makes it easy to dial in the RPM recommended by your router bits manufacturer.

(Top) Turn the motor from the "Locked" to "unlocked" position and it can be adjusted up and down or removed from the base.
(Bottom) In the "Locked" position (locking lever open) this dial makes very fine height adjustments easy.
Click images to enlarge

   The speed control dial has numerical graduations from 1 to 6 like many modern routers. What is different is that Bosch explains those numerals in the manual.

Depth Adjustments

   The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router has coarse and fine bit height adjustments that are fast and easy to use. A single flip-lever locks and releases the motor for height adjusting or removing from the base.

   Turning the motor until the indicator points to unlocked symbol on the base and it can be moved freely up or down for fast, coarse height adjustments. The motor can also be slipped from the base entirely for bit changes. With the motor at the desired height, turn it so the indicator points to the locked symbol. In this position the motor can no longer be moved up and down by hand but the fine adjuster dial is engaged.

   To fine-tune the height setting, turn the adjuster dial near the base. Each full turn of the dial produces 3/64" of change. When satisfied with the height, flip the locking lever to its closed position and the motor is locked and ready for use.

Palm Grip

The rubberized, form-fitting Palm-Grip is both comfortable and secure.
Click image to enlarge

   A key feature of the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router is the rubberized palm grip. The rubber insert makes the grip comfortable and virtually slip-free. The shape of the palm grip feels very natural to the hand, making the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router easier to control while reducing fatigue during big routing jobs.

   The body of the motor matches the mating portion of the base, increasing the grip area considerably. Combined with the 3 ¾" by 3 3/8" base, the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router is very stable.

   The base also has a pair of depressions opposite of the palm grip for fingers to further stabilize and guide the router. This unique and innovative design makes the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router very accurate because it is surprisingly easy to control.

Bit Changing

The push-button shaft lock, included wrench and self-releasing 1/4" collet make changing bits fast and frustration free!
Click image to enlarge

   The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router features an easy to use push-button shaft lock and self-extracting collet that makes changing bits a one wrench, non-frustrating task. Remove the motor from the base, depress the red shaft lock button and use the included wrench to loosen the collet nut. Continue turning the collet nut until it meets resistance and use the wrench to turn it through that point. The bit pops free and can be slipped from the collet.

Edge Guide

   The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router kit includes a versatile, all-metal guide fence that makes following an outside edge or grooving on the face of a board easy and accurate.

   The fence attaches to a boss on the router base with a finger-operated wing screw. The face of the fence is 6 3/8"-long and 15/16"-tall to provide a solid base to keep the router steady.

The included edge guide fence is adjustable, solid, wide and does a good job of stabilizing the router.
Click image to enlarge

   The fence can be adjusted vertically about 1 ¼", a feature that may be used infrequently but is very handy when needed. The horizontal adjustment has two holes for the locking screw that give it a whopping 6" overall reach.

   The adjuster bar has an unnumbered scale with 1/8" resolution hash marks to make quantifying the amount of change easier regardless of where the fence started.

In the Shop

   The fact that the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router makes a great laminate trimmer is only the start. Bosch did not develop the Colt 1 Hp motor just for trimming surface coverings. Using the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router in the shop demonstrated the many uses of this cool little machine.

   The size and grip configuration of the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router makes it very easy to handle and control, even with edging bits nearing the maximum useable diameter. The Colt 1 Hp motor is exceptionally smooth operating and handled all edging and grooving chores with ease.

The PR20EVSK is very smooth running and comfortable in the hand, both of which make it easy to be accurate.
Click image to enlarge

   The self-extracting collet and push-button shaft lock make changing the often-troublesome ¼"-diameter bits simple. If you have ever fought to get a straight ¼"-diameter bit out of a router this feature will be greatly appreciated!

   Another welcome feature is the motor locking, height adjusting system. Flip the locking lever open, twist the motor to click it into the unlocked position and it is free to move up and down or remove. It's that simple. The fine height-adjusting dial also works as it should and makes even tiny changes in bit height easy to make accurately.

   The edge guide fence is well designed and has a huge adjustment range. The 6 3/8" width of the face keeps the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router steady even when routing grooves well in from the edge of the wood.

   The overall size of the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router makes working in confined areas much easier than with a full-sized machine. The base is slightly wider side-to-side than the motor, which allows cutting grooves or decorative edges closer to a vertical obstruction than with any other machine I know of.

Conclusions  

 The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router is a well-designed, powerful router that brings a unique set of capabilities to the shop at a very reasonable $119.00 (5-20-2005) suggested retail price. The street price that will be established soon after the release of this new router in July will probably be lower yet! We will update this point when that happens.

   The Electronic Speed Control, Soft-Start and Constant Response technology make the industry-leading 1 Hp Colt motor easily controllable, extending the usefulness of the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router even further.

   The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router will make a welcome and frequently used addition to any woodworking shop. Where many tools are nice to have, using the Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router in the shop will convince you, as it did me of its value.

  Note: The Bosch Colt Palm-Grip router will also be released in other configurations. The PR10E ($99 MSRP) single-speed Colt motor and fixed-base and the PR20EVSNK ($199 MSRP) that will include the variable speed Colt motor, fence, offset base, tilt base and underscribe attachment.
   The PR10E and PR20EVSK are due for release around the end of June to early July, 2005 with the PR20EVSNK kit scheduled for release in the fall of 2005.
   The tilt and offset bases will also be available as accessory items.

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