How much router is too much? It depends on the job. It’s nice to have a torquey 3-1/4 HP router in your router table when you’re raising panels or doing any type of heavy-duty shaping. But a giant plunge or fixed base router just seems like too much tool when all you want to do is ease off an edge or buzz out a hinge mortise. For some time now, savvy woodworkers have kept a small router – most often called a laminate trimmer – in the shop for just such occasions. These light, one-hand tools really help out in situations where your need extra control, or when you need one hand free to hold or steady a workpiece.
The problem is that routing tools in the “laminate trimmer” class tend to go too far in the other direction. The virtual lack of features and tiny 3 – 4 amp motors of many laminate trimmers make them not very much use for anything other than what the name suggests - trimming laminate. That’s why we were glad to see the Bosch Colt Variable-Speed Palm Router come along. We think it takes the idea of the laminate trimmer a step further.
What makes the Bosch a “palm router” instead of just another laminate trimmer? The Bosch Colt has so many of the features that you’d expect to find on a top of the line “full-sized” router that to call it a “laminate trimmer” just wouldn’t do it justice. First, it has enough power to do work that you’d usually think of as the job of a mid-sized router, like plowing a 3/4″ groove or putting a good sized ogee on an edge. Its 5.7 amp, 1 hp motor puts it at the top of the class of routers designed to be held with one hand. It’s also equipped with a soft-start, which means that you won’t be surprised by a sudden “kick” when you flip the switch.
The Colt is equipped with a variable speed adjustment that allows you to set speeds anywhere from 16,000 to 35,000 rpm, and it features Bosch’s “constant response circuitry,” which is designed to keep the speed consistent under load. The Colt makes depth adjustments both easy and accurate. The “quick clamp lever” system frees the motor from the base in an instant for quick depth adjustments, and for more precise settings, the micro-fine adjustment dial lets your set the depth exactly where you needs it to be. The ergonomically designed grip makes the Colt comfortable to hold and easy to control during delicate operations. Add to that the 10′ chord, the straight-edge guide, the carrying case and a price that’s still in the “laminate trimmer” class, and you end up with an easy to use, light-weight, easy to control, all-around routing tool at a price that’s tough to beat.