I’ve had the opportunity of using the new Milwaukee 1 ¾ HP “BodyGrip” router (model 5615-20) over the past several months, and I think that it is going to become a favourite router for both home and shop use. The BodyGrip is a very well constructed router. It has a unique adjustable hook and loop hand strap that goes around the contoured router body, which provides you with a high degree of comfort and control. You can further stabilize the router by griping one of the soft grip handles. A nice touch is that the hand strap can be adjusted for left hand use as well. The on/off switch is conveniently located on the side of the motor, right above the thumb. You can adjust bit depth one of two ways. The more conventional way is to release the locking lever, then turn the depth adjustment knob.
You can quickly make course adjustments of ⅛” and microfine adjustments of 1/64”. Alternately, with the router upside down, you can insert a ⅜” socket wrench into the hole in the sub base and adjust the bit height. Although you can release the locking lever and remove the base from the motor housing to install bits, I found it easier to simply insert the wrenches through the 3” wide window in the router base. There are two rod holes in the base for installing edge guides. The guide from Micro Fence (www.microfence.com, 1-800-480-6427) makes an excellent accessory for the BodyGrip.
The sub-base is 6” wide and has a 2 ½” centre hole. I found it to be perfectly flat. Oddly enough, in order to use a template guide you have to purchase an accessory sub base that accepts standard 1 3/16” threaded inserts. I used the router extensively on a couple of recent projects, and was very pleased with its performance. The 11 amp double insulated motor, which runs at 24,000 rpm, and features 100% sealed ball and roller bearings, provides ample power. It has a smooth start and was noticeably more quiet than the larger 3 HP routers I often use. I checked the run-out on the collet and found it about .001”, which I feel is quite acceptable. While you can use the BodyGrip in a router table, I find it excels as a hand held router. I also like the generous 8-foot flexible power cord.
The BodyGrip offers a great combination of close handle configuration, compact size, easy cutter visibility, lightweight, micro depth adjustment, and low noise emission. While it lacks variable speed control I didn’t miss this feature. I think that the BodyGrip is a good choice for the first-time router buyer and an excellent general use router for the professional shop.
The BodyGrip is available in a kit format and with D style handles. It has a one-year warranty, and comes with both ¼” and ½” self-releasing collets and two collet wrenches. It is competitively priced at $279.95. www.milwaukeetool.com
Carl Duguay - [email protected]
Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.