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M-Power has produced many excellent tools so it was a privilege to test their brand new CRB-7 Combination Router Base. Assembling the CRB-7 was easy as there are very few pieces to put together. Attaching the base plate to the selection of routers in my shop couldn’t be easier. Using the router’s horizontal mounting holes, shown here; make the variety of routers able to utilize the CRB-7 is a large list to be sure.
Made from steel and high impact plastic the CRB-7 is built to last. Changing the configuration of the router base is also very simple and can be accomplished with very little work. The micro-adjust wheel allows you to carefully set the distance in very small increments. I have always had affection for tools that can multi-task and the CRB-7 is just such a tool. The CRB-7 has 7 basic functions; the M-Power website lists them as follows;
The CRB-7’s main tool functions:
- Adjustable Dado-ing or Trenching with a clamp guide - Set the clamp guide once and adjust the position of the router via the CRB7's Micro Adjuster. CRB increases router to clamp guide surface contact area and reduces clamp guide set up time – eliminating it in some cases.
- Adjustable Mortising – a unique feature that allows "Centered and Off Centered" mortises plus you can decide on and precisely control the actual width of the mortise.
- Anti Tilt Support – Another first, variable height triangulated stabilization – Usually most of the router base remains unsupported when edge routing - CRB Anti tilt leg eliminates router tilt especially important when routing work-pieces with a high aspect ratio.
- Compass - Route precision circles and holes that are actually smaller than the base of the router - CRB can route circles and wheels from: ¾” to 8-¾” radius (19 to 225mm). That’s diameters ranging 1-½” to 17-½” (38 to 450mm) with a ¼” or 6mm straight router cutter.
- Off Set Base Plate - Increases overall router stability – reducing errors when edge molding by more than doubling the surface contact area between router and work piece. CRB also moves the pivot hand guiding the router toward the centre of the panel smoothing out the router pass action, reducing the chance of burn marks.
- Adjustable false panel rebate copier - The CRB provides a simple and exceptionally quick way of accurately repeating a molded dado for production batch quality faux or false paneling.
- Flush Trim Lipping Kit - With virtually no set up time - quick fit the Trim Jig riser pad to accurately machine trim hard wood and iron on lipping flush with the core board in seconds. (requires accessory kit)
Next you can see the features that M-Power lists on their webpage.
CRB-7’s tool features:
- One Time Set Up – Set up the CRB7 to fit your favorite router just once with a set of 4 x injection molded shims and 4 sets of screws - job done
- Quick Change – Unlike most router jigs, CRB can be fitted/removed in less than 10 seconds, with no fiddly screws or cantering jigs required.
- Micro Adjuster – High precision router cutter position can be attained and repeated using the knurled and indexed micro adjuster.
- 2" Bakelite Ball Handle – Ergonomic design, comfortable to the touch, allowing for easy hours of consecutive use.
- Indexed Rule – The self adhesive Imperial/Metric rule is another feature to ensure fast easy readings of router cutter position.
- 2 Section Anti Tilt Leg - Supports and stabilizes the router, when routing materials varying in thickness from 3/8” to 3-1/4” - (10mm to 82mm). The 2 leg sections accommodate combinations of router position and work piece thickness.
- Magnetic Pivot Pin Storage – A no-lose home for this essential component, safe and easily accessible when ever needed.
- Professional Grade Build – Made in England the CRB is manufactured to the highest standards including a hard anodized machined solid aluminum bridge. Laser cut 5mm thick acrylic base plate and precision turned steel and brass components.
- 2 Year Guarantee – Our extended guarantee is testimony to the build quality of the CRB and ensures our customers can buy in confidence.
One of the first configurations I tested was making the CRB-7 an edge shaping jig. An excellent feature of the base is the adjustable leg that lends support to the offset side of the base plate. Adjusting the leg is a simple matter of turning one bolt. Once adjusted the leg easily holds the router level while it cuts. Typically used for edge cutting this configuration is just one in the CRB-7’s repertoires.
Setting up the CRB-7 as a small circle cutter is simple it is just a matter of attaching a pin to the base then adjusting the distance of the bit from the center pin, then you are able to cut a circle ranging from 1-½” to 17-½” (38 to 450mm) with a ¼” or 6mm shank straight cutting router bit. I made several circular cuts in a variety of sizes and each time the CRB-7 made the cuts smooth and accurate, the whole while keeping the router steady and eliminating the risk of tipping and ruining the cut. The center pin has a magnetic hole on the side of the frame for storage.
Another useful configuration is as an offset router base. It is a simple base that will easily follow a guide clamp to produce dadoes or other similar cuts like false panel cuts across any width you need. The router cut was kept very straight and made the side that rides along the guide much wider then the typical router base alone. At just under 11”, as opposed to just the round edge of the typical base plate, the CRB-7 gives you much needed stability in you routing.
Next I set up the CRB-7 as a mortise cutter. I was able to precisely adjust the size and depth of the joint to exactly how I wanted it. Using this same configuration you can also cut rabbits (or rebates as our friends across the pond call them) again the stability of the elongated edge guide and the support of the adjustable leg make these cuts a breeze.
The investment for the CRB-7 is only $80.00 so it is not to hard on the wallet.
With the attachment of the CRB-7’s edge guide (sold separately for $30.00) you are able to make cuts along an edge with measurements as follows:
Edging width maximum 15mm (19/32”) with bearing
Edging width maximum 25mm (63/64”) without the bearing
Edging projection maximum 5mm (13/16”)
Router bit diameter a maximum of 25mm (63/64”)
(Got to love the metric system)
So over all I liked working with the CRB-7. After the redesign of the rod width adjustment feature I was able to fit the base to more routers making the base far more useful. If I should get hold of the extended rod accessory I will write an addendum at the bottom of this article.
The Old Dwarf
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