Bosch 1617EVS
by H.C. Sakman

IllustrationRouter market has been waiting for a "table use" router. I can readily make my first critisism by asking why not 15 amp. motor, instead of 12 Amp.? 15 Amp. motor would really make this router stuck to the table for good! In any case, I will carry on what I've got!

First impressions over the features:
  1. Lightweight
  2. Very, very smooth
  3. Ingenious height adjustment system with built-in micro(literally) adjustment knob even though this is not a plunge router. A "first" in fixed based routers.
  4. Body remains in the same position at all times.
  5. Heavy duty collet, designed to take rugged use.
  6. Collet passes its base by 1/4".
  7. Large base with 4 screws(which are too small of a size)
  8. Large base opening. A very welcome feature.
  9. A nice touch, maple knobs, placed low for maximum stability.
  10. Long, very flexible cord.
  11. Powerful and QUIET motor.
  12. A very wide speed range from 8k-25k
  13. Overall nice balance of the machine.
  14. 4 phillips screws to hold the sub-base, but I think they're too small.

IllustrationFirst, I'd like to go over the height adjustment system with micro adjustment. As it is seen in the picture, the motor housing has this "L" shaped groove which accepts the pin that is located in the base to guide the base to the housing(or the other way around). The rectangular notches on the motor housing accepts a hook, which is a part of a spring loaded button that you push to do the "rough" height adjustment. While the big cam lock of the base is open, you can turn the big black knob to do the micro adjustment. It's a very positive adjustment regardless the router's position(upright or upside-down). No back-lash at all, which I really liked. The only drawback is, you have to hold the housing before you depress this spring loaded rough adjustment button. If you don't, motor housing takes a plunge down and it may damage a bit's cutters(if a bit is installed and/or if it's on non-wood surface). This happens ONLY in upright position! When it's upside down, that free movement is a very welcome feature.Illustration

Micro adjustment has a range around an inch or so. Its each revolution moves the motor housing 1/16" or 1.5 mm. That means lots of finger twisting to turn that black plastic knob, though it moves fast and easy. It may pose a problem somewhat, if you have really big hands, but also the Micro-adj. knob has an hexagon hole on top, that urges me to assume that it's designed to take (accept) some sort of extention knob to facilitate this essential operation, especially when it's upside down.(Even if a special extention accessory is not offered, it can be easily made by gluing [or securing some other way]a 1/2" or 9/16" T-handle hex nut driver.)

I always loved Bosch fixed base routers' low positioned knobs. It provides great stability. This one is no exception in that sense, but also these knobs are made out of maple, not plastic! (I can foresee rosewood replacement knobs in the tool catalogues!)

IllustrationCollet nut is big, easy to grip and less likely to make the wrench slip. Two flattened sided shaft accepts the second wrench. At this point I can't help to notice the big bearing that holds the arbor. Big bearings must be the key element of a smooth running router, and 1617EVS is exceptionally smooth as well as quiet, especially in low speeds. In 8000 rpm., it's quiter than most kitchen mixer and blenders.

I wish the pointing arrows(to show where the base and the motor housing meet) on the base and the housing was colored to make them more visible, but this not really a significant complaint. The main base lock is a very sleek cam action clamp.

The guys at Bosch are listening! In my other article, I was favoring Bosch fixed base routers, but I steered away from them due to their "Bosch templete bushing only" problem. Well, 1617EVS comes with an adaptor to take P-C/Dewalt templete bushing guides, which are the most common and convenient type.So, that drawback is eleminated!

IllustrationBlack plastic sub-base is very straight forward, it doesn't have any unusual molded parts. It's very easy to substitute with many different configurations.(lexan bases, off-set, large base to accept edge fence etc...) The base, on the other hand, is not any different either. It's well designed and can accept small c-clamps and like to accomodate all kinds of operations; AND..... the big feature.....yes, its base has three and three quarters inch opening!!!! Therefore, P-C's 75XX series are not the only one with a large base opening anymore. Unfortunately, as I mentioned it at the beginning, this router needs 3 more amperes to go! @12 Amp. It will serve any weekend warrior well(with all the 3-1/2" and 2-1/2" horizontal panel raising bits), but It's not powerful enough to take big chuncks from hard maple with big bits all day!(I can hear some saying: "get a shaper for that!") I don't want to get into that argument now, but the basic point is, that 3 more amperes certainly would not hurt anyone, if you know what I mean.

So, small sub-base screws, missing 3 amps(if you want to compare with the big performers; I tend to because it's so close...!) are the only points that I'd say: "need improvements".

Overall, this is a great(actually better than that...) router for both professional and amateur use. Its lightweight, convenient,precise and positive height adjustment mechanism with micro adjustment as well as its exceptionally smooth operating motor with sufficient power make this router well worth to own and use it under the table as well as hand-held.

Last, P-C should prey to God that Bosch won't come up with a 15 Amp. model!!! (Maybe they already did!)

HC Sakman

Note: Special Thanks to Island Saw LTD of Victoria(Rob McDonald) for offering me their demo Bosch 1617EVS router to let me find out what it is made out of... (At the time of printing, this router was still not yet available to the consumers in Canada.)