TerryMcK

Trend T4 router review - OK(ish) but not fantastic

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I am a fan of Trend products as all of their professional products, routers, safety equipment, cutters etc that I own are top quality and built to last. However the T4 router is garbage here's why:

I needed a small 1/4" plunge router and the Trend T4 seemed to fit the bill and at the current Amazon price point also seemed to be a bargain. I ordered one. The router itself is a 850 watt 1.1 HP machine with a plunge base which has a 30mm (1" 1/4) plunge. It comes with a pressed steel adjustable fence, a few tools, 3 sizes of collet (1/4", 6mm and 8mm), a transparent plastic dust shroud, instruction manual all enclosed in a blow moulded carrying case.

T4.PNG

The dreaded Trend T4

The router has an electronic variable speed control mounted on the top of the motor which goes from 11500 to 32000 rpm. The highest speeds are intended to be used for die grinding as the plunge base comes off the motor making it a hand held die grinder. For routing the manual recommends setting the variable speed control to 4 which is around 24000 rpm. The plunge mechanism itself it very smooth with external springs over the plunge shafts. There is a 3 position turret stop and a continuously variable plunge stop. The on off switch is conveniently located on the front of the router and is easily latched and unlatched. The plunge lock lever is on the rear and is in the right position for an index finger to control.

The router and its cast aluminium plunge base are all well made and look as though they will hold up to light use. The router itself is marketed as hobby/DIY/light trade usage and as I just wanted it for occasional use it would probably suffice. I intended to dedicate it to pattern copying using guide bushes and removable collars to route cavities the exact size of cover plates. My Trend T11 is great at this but is too heavy - hence the need for a lighter smaller router.

All seems good so far.

First of all some explanation of guide bushes collar.PNG and how they are installed on the Trend T10/T11. I have an extensive set of guide bushes/collars - they are all standard across Trend routers - and decided to fit one to see how concentric the motor shaft is to the base. T11.PNG

The Trend T11 1/2" router - I love this router and don't have enough praise for it.

On the T10/T11 there is a sub plate that is fitted first of all and a centralization shaft (line up pin in Trend speak) is fitted into the collet. A 30mm guide bush is fitted to the subplate (innerplate in Trend speak) and the whole assembly is manoeuvred on the plunge base to get it exactly central on the shaft. Screws lock it into position. The guide bushes are fixed to this plate with countersunk screws so if you put one of a different diameter in place it will always be concentric.T11%2Bguide%2Bbush.PNG

The Trend T4

And now the T4. The T4 has no provision for an adjustable subplate and the guide bushes are intended to fit into a machined recess in the plunge base. There is no adjustment at all! The router also does not come with a setting centralization shaft either. It came as no surprise that the guide bush was not concentric to the motor shaft. It was out of alignment by a considerable amount (around 1/16"). There was absolutely no way of adjusting this and for the intended purpose I had for the router it was impossible to use. It couldn't be used as I intended nor could be used in a dovetailing jig. It does not come up to the high standard of the rest of Trend's products and I can't understand why they would have let this on the market with such a fundamental design flaw.

So I have started the process of sending the router back as "not fit for purpose" without even making any dust.

I think if it wasn't for this major manufacturing/design problem the router itself would be OK. It could be used for bearing guided pattern routing, edge guided routing, die grinding and normal routing duties very well. In the near future I will be looking at its bigger brother the T5, the Makita RP0900, the Festool OF1010 and others which are available in the UK.

Bottom line is if you are after a lightweight 1/4" router for use with guide bushes don't buy the Trend T4. 

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Thanks for the review.

Apparently a 1/4'' collet is not good enough for joinery. I'm basing this on the fact that all joinery bit sets for joinery jigs like those from PC or Incra, require a 1/2'' collet.

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Thanks for the review.

Apparently a 1/4'' collet is not good enough for joinery. I'm basing this on the fact that all joinery bit sets for joinery jigs like those from PC or Incra, require a 1/2'' collet.

Terry Great review.

Daniel, I have three, I think, 1/4" collet bits for joinery for my PC motor that I use in my Incra table.  1 straight and 2 dovetail, they are Whiteside bits that I ordered from Hartville tools.  In fact if you use promo code WN15 you get 10% off and I think free shipping.

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Terry Great review.

Daniel, I have three, I think, 1/4" collet bits for joinery for my PC motor that I use in my Incra table.  1 straight and 2 dovetail, they are Whiteside bits that I ordered from Hartville tools.  In fact if you use promo code WN15 you get 10% off and I think free shipping.

I already have a bit set for my Incra table. I know individual 1/4'' shank bits are available, but bit sets from Freud, DMT and Whiteside, are available only with 1/2'' shanks. Those sets include almost all the bits listed in the Incra templates (except for a few especial ones).

PC jigs already come with the router bits, and they're all 1/2'' shank.

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Yes, you are correct, the three that I have I purchased separately to fill out some of the ones that didn't come with the Whiteside set for the Incra.

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Thanks for the review.

Apparently a 1/4'' collet is not good enough for joinery. I'm basing this on the fact that all joinery bit sets for joinery jigs like those from PC or Incra, require a 1/2'' collet.

Exactly.  These small routers are usually used for laminate trimming, inlay, or edge details.  They are not meant for joinery.  Most people prefer 1/2" shank bits for joinery because they are more stable and less likely to snap under pressure.  I have snapped more than one 1/4" shank bit and don't buy them any more.  For that very reason I don't have one of these palm sized routers because I don't want to buy any more bits.  Even for small roundover bits I buy 1/2" shank so that I don't have to change collets.  

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Exactly.  These small routers are usually used for laminate trimming, inlay, or edge details.  They are not meant for joinery.  Most people prefer 1/2" shank bits for joinery because they are more stable and less likely to snap under pressure.  I have snapped more than one 1/4" shank bit and don't buy them any more.  For that very reason I don't have one of these palm sized routers because I don't want to buy any more bits.  Even for small roundover bits I buy 1/2" shank so that I don't have to change collets.  

I agree. The problem with joinery like dovetails is that  a single pass is required, and depending on the material, most palm size routers won't cope with the required load.

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The idea of the review was to give an honest opinion on this particular router. 

I want a 1/4" router (which incidentally also takes much stronger 8mm shank cutters - becoming more popular in Europe at the moment because of their relative resistance to breakage) to use to cut exact size cavities in wood to suit exact size cover plates. To do this you use a 1/8" diameter cutter which has a 1/4" shank - this is combined with the collar set I have chosen. You produce a female routing template to cut both items. The collar on the guide bush is calculated to guide the cutter path to produce the cover plate route. Remove it and as the diameter of the guide bush changes the cutter path moves to a different position. This is then used to produce the cavity. When you put the cover plate into the cavity it fits exactly. You can do this with the 1/2" router but it is very heavy to push about and they eat 1/8" bits for breakfast - in fact I have seen a few chunks off 1/4" bits coming out of the exhaust ports of mine.

I have a 1/2" Trend T11 router for joinery, dovetailing (not that I do that with a router too often) and use in the router table as the router has its own router raiser built in. I also have a small Dewalt palm router (also known as a laminate or edge band trimmer) and a Crapsville, Arizona 1/4" router that couldn't route its way out of a paper bag - this is what needs replacing.

I have ditched the Trend T4 as not being any good for the purpose I want it for (as it actually would work OK on most small routing tasks) and decided to go for a larger medium duty router (again covering 1/4" and 8mm shank diameter) and that most likely will be the Trend T5 or the Festool 1010.

I won't be using this new 1/4" router to cut any joinery.

Just to add gravitas to the interesting discussion that has developed I find that buying router bits individually works out more cost effective than buying sets as most of the contents of a set never get used.

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I agree. The problem with joinery like dovetails is that  a single pass is required, and depending on the material, most palm size routers won't cope with the required load.

You CAN hog out the bulk of the waste with a straight bit, then follow with the dovetail bit, if you have a small router. Takes more time, but that's life.
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You CAN hog out the bulk of the waste with a straight bit, then follow with the dovetail bit, if you have a small router. Takes more time, but that's life.

Good to know. I always do that before using my t-track bit.

 

Edited by Daniel.

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Terry, that sucks. Will the seller not take it back?

Great review BTW.

Thanks Ken, yes it was a seller on Amazon marketplace. I see Groucho has made an appearance on your Avatar :)

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