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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars46
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on August 23, 2000
I spent a lot of time researching the best router to do everything that I wanted and this one was one of the best. If you want a great article on routers, see American Woodworker magazine, February 2000. It compares all of the big boys.
It has a great soft start 3 1/4 hp motor that has five speeds and will handle any bit and wood combination I've thrown at it.
The router's base will allow for 3 3/8" bit diameters. Most of the other 3 hp models will only handle 2 1/2" diameter bits. This is good if you want a router to use on a table to run panel bits or large moulding bits.
The router's downfalls are that it doesn't lend itself to be conveneint to use on a router table. The plunge lock lever needs to be pushed and held all the time while you are adjusting the depth. Makes you wish you had a third hand. It also does not have a shaft lock, so bit changes require two wrenches.
It does have a trigger switch that is handle mounted. (a must have for any router) and you can order a dust attachement from Porter Cable to hook up to your shop vac.
What I've learned about this router is that you need a second router to do hand held work for trimming laminate and doing small routing work. (1/2" bit diameter and less) This one at 20 pounds is too heavy for hand held work. My suggestion would be to get a good 1 1/2 or 2 hp model for lighter jobs.
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on March 29, 2001
This is the most powerful router I have ever used. As a dedicated hobbyist I wanted a router to use with my Incra Jig to make boxes. I originally bought the Bosch 2 HP and tried to make one cut and packed it up and returned to get this PC. The difference in power is amazing when cutting oak and walnut. You will need the adjustment knob accessory to make raising and lowering easier in your table,(I also removed the plunge spring handle to make it easier to adjust). It is very large and heavy so to use it for regular routing I believe would be cumbersome on lighter work. The screws that mount the sole plate are hefty and up to the task. If you need power this fits the bill.
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on December 6, 2002
I bought this router some time ago and it has been used many times. It is nearly always used in a router table. At the same time I bought and added the adjuster knob which I modified by screwing a home-made wooden crank handle to the top; making adjustments of the cutter up and down, fast and tireless. To further aid height adjustment I removed the return spring from the height adjustment handle so that it doesn't need to be held while adjusting the height.

As for being unsuitable for hand held use this too must be looked at realistically; If you want to cut stair stringers or kitchen worktop joints, then this router will do the job and do it brilliantly, with no fuss or bother. Yes, it's abilities are better utilised in a table where it does an 'admirable' job impersonating a shaper (or a small router) but as an industrial-quality tool that can be called on to bail you out of any situation, I believe it has no equal.

I don't think that with the many excellent small router choices available, anyone should buy this as their first router, but when you do buy the PC7539 the need for a smaller router for regular hand held use will not be an issue because you will already have one.

When using two wrenches to tighten or release the collet, I find that if you arrange them so that they can be held in one hand and a squeezing motion applies the necessary forces all rapped knuckles and dented plunge legs are avoided.

Woodworking as a hobby or business is about finding sollutions to problems and you get the same satisfaction from improving a tool or process that you get from producing the end product. It may even improve your skills. The PC7539 is a quality tool that would even impress your grandfather.
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on February 28, 2001
The first time I used this router, I could not believe how nicely it cut. Even on oak, it cuts as fast as you can feed it. I have mine in a table, since it is pretty heavy, and I bought it knowing that I would be doing raised panel doors with it. I have never gotten a burn on anything, and the speed adjustment is great. Before this, I had only used Craftsman routers, and I haven't since. I plan on getting a smaller Porter Cable in the future for hand work.
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on March 5, 2002
If you want a router with power, this is the one.
Excellent for Cutting molding and raised panel in router table and much easier with micro adjust knob that comes at as a extra
purchase.
Shopped around a lot before the purchase because most big routers out there didn't have the large bit diameter opening in the base plate for large diameter panel raising bits.

Is Very loud, but havn't heard a quiet router yet that was worth owning.
Forget buying this for hand-held applications! Very Heavy and
dangerously powerful
If you want a router for hand routing, this is DEFINATLY not the one.
Great for Router table application, except it doesn't come with a micro height adjustment knob, which it should have for the price. Also, the base plate screws (which you need to remove for router table plate attachment) are HUGE!!!! Had to go run out and get a super large screwdriver so i wouldn't strip the slots out when removing. Also, it has a flat top which is nice when you need to change bits. I couldn't imagine putting a 1/4" shank bit in this monster! All bits I use are 1/2" shank for this machine.
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on February 29, 2004
It's a Porter Cable, isn't it? I'm picky about the tools I buy, I try to buy the very best on my budget, but I haven't had any Porter Cable tool in my hands that wasn't a good one. Made in America, and that still means something to me.
First off, this isn't made for handheld use if you plan on doing a lot of freehand work. Get a smaller, say 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 HP for that. I bought the plunge instead of the fixed base just in case I needed one in a pinch. At 21 pounds and with all the torque of a small diesel engine, it's somewhat of a chore to handle with any precision. I mounted mine on a router table and trust me, it will cut through anything you throw at it with ease. If you run large panel raising bits like I do, make sure you get the 7539 (variable speed) instead of the 7538. It will run these better at a slower speed. When you start up a 3 1/4" bit it sounds like a helocpter is hovering overhead. Much better and safer at 10 to 13000 RPM. Since I had already invested lots of $$$ in router bits, mounting this on a router table only made sense to me.

These are the industry standard, expensive but worth it. If you don't mind paying a little extra, this should last the average woodworker a lifetime.
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on October 5, 2002
This is a fine router of its type. The variable speed and soft start features make it work beautifully. The plunge lock is conveniently located and easy to use. Unless you are routing dados on a well supported surface, it's weight and power pretty much requires table mounting. It is too hard to control doing edges. The table mounting is where the shortcomings are noticed. The weight will cause a normal MDF router table to sag fairly quickly if it's left in place, so make sure you mount it on a removeable plate; and remove it when not in use. I mounted a Router Raizer on mine to allow height adjustment from above, but in either case it won't plunge enough to allow me to change bits from the top of the table without modification to the (hardened) wrenches. I think a better choice would be the fixed-based version (PC 7518) used with a JoinTech Master Lift Pro or JessEm Mast-R-Lift(not the Rout-R-Lift).
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on April 24, 2004
We have three at work. Talk about work horse. We even us it to route 3/4" ply and 5/4" lumber, over and over. Our newest is three years old, and besides the electric cable no work has been done to any of them. They do 1/8" coves to flush triming 5/4 to steel, even aluminium and they don't skip a beat. We push ours beyound any limit any designer of the tool had eve thought it would be used and it has with stood. If you want a router that can handle anything then buy this one.
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on July 2, 2000
Before I buy anything I do a lot of research. I looked into this router through many venues and it has proven to be incredible! It does everything - I make furniture and this is one of the best tools around. I would suggest this to a beginner or an expert. Great control - and having the ability to treat this as a plunge or a stationary router!...don't buy anything else.
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on May 12, 2002
As far as big routers go ,this one is the best.Mounted on a router table it'll match most of the high price shapers out there.Owned my first one 9 years ago and now have two more.All three get used in making moldings,trim,etc.And have logged many hours for them all with no problems what so ever.If you want a router that'll last you your life time this is the one for you.
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