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I started out trying to save money, I got a better value.
Click image to enlarge

Porter Cable Router Edge Guide

Model #42690

Text and photos by Tom Hintz

   When I made the "tool run" to find an edge guide for my Porter Cable (#690) router I was actually looking for a something rather basic. I figured I could get a functional edge guide and save a few bucks in the process.

   When I noticed this Porter Cable accessory, I thought it looked too large, and possibly awkward. However, the more I looked at it, the more I liked the features it had. After comparing it to the other types of edge guides on display, I decided to take a chance on the Porter Cable. I would not be sorry.

   Though this edge guide looks like it could be heavy, it is not. Plus, the bulk of its weight is in the steel guide face itself, which remains close to or under the router itself. That means there is very little weight concentrated away from the router itself to induce a tipping sensation.

Making even tiny adjustments with this guide is simple, and accurate. It's the best, easiest to use system I have found at any price.
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   I also found this guide is by no means awkward. For most jobs, I feel more in control, even on relatively narrow pieces. Placing one hand on the router grip and the other on the guide makes it easy to keep the router tracking straight, even when finishing the cut at the end of the piece.

Features

   The first thing that caught my eye on this edge guide was the adjustment capabilities--specifically the fine adjustment.

   The adjusting mechanism consists of two collars, each with a locking knob. The knob closest to the router locks the adjustment in place; the rear knob locks the entire adjusting mechanism in place on the bar. Loosen both knobs to slide the adjuster assembly into position for quick coarse setups.

   To make a fine adjustment, tighten the rear knob to lock the adjuster assembly onto the bar. Turn the fine adjuster to the setting you want, and then tighten the forward knob. The setting is locked in.

   The fine adjustment has a ¾-inch range with each full turn producing a 1/16-inch change. An indicator on the adjuster shaft is marked at ¼-turn increments to make even the smallest adjustments easy to accomplish accurately. The collar can be "zeroed" to a groove in the top of the adjuster collar so you know exactly how much change you are making. Making a 1/32nd-inch adjustment to many edge guides is a hit-and-miss affair. This Porter Cable system makes it a snap.

When the router has to rest on a narrow board, an piece of wood can be added to the guide to make this a much easier task.
Click image to enlarge

   Overall, this guide has over 7 ½-inches of reach, not counting the ability to extend an inch or so to the other side of the bit, should you have a need to do so. The fine adjustment "zone" can be placed virtually anywhere within that span.

   The face of the guide plate has holes for mounting an auxiliary fence. This comes in handy when making cuts where the router base needs to be on the edge of a board. Add a good-sized fence to this guide, rest it against the side of your work piece and the router is very steady.

   The adjustment mechanism and guide face slide on an extruded aluminum bar. A rounded triangular shape with large internal fillets makes this bar exceedingly rigid, and capable of withstanding any reasonable stress encountered.

   This guide (there are two versions that cover most Porter Cable routers) attaches to the router via a pair of machined pins that fit into bosses cast into most Porter Cable standard and plunge bases.

   The purchase of this edge guide is a good example of how spending a little more money (about $15 more) than anticipated turned into a bargain. The capabilities of this guide make it a far better value than the cheaper versions I considered originally.  

 I like saving money as much as anyone, but in cases like this, spending the extra dollars had a favorable affect on my woodworking. To me, that makes this an exceptional bargain.

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