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The #1618 kit includes 1/4" & 1/2" collets, wrenches and template adapter.
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Bosch D-Handled Router #1618EVS

Comfortable hand-held accuracy and versatility

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   While d-handled routers have been standard fare for contractors and in production settings for a long time, their popularity with woodworkers is more recent. The combination of accuracy and comfort offered by the d-handle configuration enhances nearly any edging or jointery operation.

Initial Impressions

   The Bosch 1618EVS is typical of Bosch tools in the quality of the individual parts, their overall fit and finish. Bosch's long-standing dedication to durability and function continues in the d-handled Bosch 1618EVS.

Motor and Controls

   The Bosch 1618EVS is powered by the venerable Bosch 2.25 Hp motor that has proven itself as durable as it is powerful. Despite the power developed, the Bosch motors are surprisingly quiet and very smooth running.

Aside from the short cord for the D-handle, the motor is standard Bosch tough and powerful. The dial-operated speed control is effective and the manual spells out what the numerals mean!
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   The motor supplied with the Bosch 1618EVS, aside from the short cord to the d-handle, is identical to what comes with the super popular Bosch 1617 kits and will fit the same lift plates without modification.

   Bosch's Constant Response Circuitry works behind the scenes to maintain bit speed during use. As the loads of cutting wood try to slow the bit, the Constant Response Circuitry senses the change and applies more power to maintain the selected RPM. That means you set the speed actually needed, not guess at a setting that will work under load.

   A simple dial, located near the top of the motor operates the electronic speed control. The dial is infinity adjustable but has numerals 1 through 6 marking the major divisions. Unlike many routers, Bosch provides a chart in the instruction book that shows the RPM each numeral represents plus general applications for those speeds. Knowing what the numerals represent can be a safety issue when setting the RPM to match the bit manufacturers recommendations.

   The motor has a rocker-type On/Off switch that essentially arms the motor. The trigger switch in the d-handle actually starts and stops the router. It is important to note that having this dual-switch arrangement does not lessen the importance of unplugging the router when changing bits!

Base and Adjustments

The sub-base is adjustable to center guide collars on bits exactly. This is an important feature for high-precision operations such as dovetailing or inlay work.
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   The base features the Bosch coarse and fine bit height adjustment features from the 1617 series. A flip-lever releases the clamping force on the motor. Depress the lever below that handle and the motor can be removed, installed or adjusted to one of three coarse height positions located ½" apart.

   For fine height adjustments, a finger-operated dial is provided with English and Metric graduations. Each full turn of the dial produces 1/16" (approximately 1.5 mm) of height change. The fine dial adjuster has a total range or 7/8" at each of the coarse height positions.

   Note: The motor clamp lever must be open to make fine height adjustments.

   The sub-base plate has a 2"-diameter opening that also accepts the included Bosch Templet Guide Adapter. This adapter is designed to work with the Bosch-style tool less guide bushings. Bosch also offers an insert for the Templet Guide Adapter that fits the popular Porter Cable guide bushings.

The kit includes 1/4" & 1/2" self-extracting collets, nice forged wrenches and a guide bushing adapter (not shown).
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   An important but often overlooked feature of the sub base plate is the ability to adjust its position on the router base to perfectly center guide collars on the bit. This ability is especially important for high precision tasks such as using a dovetail jig or inlay kits where even small misalignments between the bit and guide collar can be frustrating and difficult to isolate.

   Loosen the four pan head screws that secure the sub base and it can be repositioned to perfectly center the guide bushing on the bit. Bosch offers and accessory Centering Cone that fits ½" or ¼"-collets and makes aligning the sub base simple and dead-on accurate.

Handles

The D-handle grip (Top) is comfortable, easy to get used to and enhances accuracy. The button (arrow) locks the trigger in the On position.
(Bottom) The forward handle is angled and can be installed in either hole to fit the operator.

Click images to enlarge

   The d-handle appears large but is engineered to enhance both comfort and control. The grip portion is angled just enough to keep your arm, wrist and hand at a comfortable angle during routing.

   The trigger-style On/Off switch built into the handle is not difficult to operate but has enough resistance to make unintentional starts unlikely. For the longer routing tasks, a guarded button located above the trigger on the left side can be depressed to lock the trigger in the on position. Squeeze the trigger again and the lock-on button automatically releases.

   The motor comes wired with a short cord connecting it to the d-handle that makes removal from the base easy and eliminates snags. The d-handle has a 10-foot-long cord that lets you route more and rearrange the cord less.

   An auxiliary handle at the front of the base makes controlling the Bosch 1618EVS comfortable and precise. The forward handle can be mounted in either of two positions, each angled off center in relation to the d-handle. This angle gives holding the router surprisingly natural feeling for right or left-handed operators.

In the Shop

The #1618 is very comfortable and easy to get used to for any hand-held operation.
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   The Bosch 1618EVS is typical of Bosch routers in terms of smooth operation and consistent application of power. The Constant Response Circuitry is nearly transparent as it works behind-the-scenes but did an exceptional job of stabilizing bit speed through all routing situations during our evaluation.

   Probably most surprising was how quickly I became comfortable with the d-handle configuration. This was the first d-handled router I have used extensively but it felt very natural almost immediately. Whether cutting profiles along inside or outside edges, the Bosch 1618EVS is very comfortable to use with no sensation of fighting balance or torque.

   After just a few cuts, I had a good feel for where the bit is and was able to be very accurate placing it where needed for beginning or ending cuts. In addition, keeping the Bosch 1618EVS level to relatively narrow surfaces feels easier than with traditional handle styles mounted on the centerline of the base.

For me, the D-handle really shines during high-accuracy routing such as on my Leigh D4 dovetail jig. Following the fingers and controlling the bit has never been easier or more accurate.
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   The Bosch 1618EVS has plenty of power to handle any hand-held routing operation but for me it really shines when doing precision-dependent jobs such as cutting accents or working on my Leigh D4 dovetail jig. The d-handle makes following the jigs fingers far easier than with normal base handles. As with edging, keeping the Bosch 1618EVS level on the Leigh jig was very easy, even when making light scoring cuts (actually a light climb cut) to begin routing half-blind tails.

   The Bosch 1618EVS was used in every routing situation I could think of and handled all without problem. In every case, the cuts made with the Bosch 1618EVS were at least as clean and accurate as those made with normally placed handles.

Conclusions

   The Bosch 1618EVS d-handled router is very easy to use, versatile and built to the high quality standards we have come to expect from Bosch. The shape and relative positioning of the D-handle and the forward grip make using the Bosch 1618EVS exceptionally comfortable and appears to enhance accuracy.

   With a street price of $199.99 (7-1-2005) the Bosch 1618EVS is a great value for the home woodworker, especially those who want a dedicated router for hand-held jobs. Of course, the motor is standard Bosch dimensions and can be used in lift plates as well.

   With common sense use and care, the Bosch 1618EVS will continue to perform for many years, increasing its value for the majority of woodworkers who have to keep an eye on the budget.

See more Bosch tools at www.boschtools.com.

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