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Gazette Archive 12/4/97

The Eliminator Chuck - A Tool Review: by Doug Smith

Routers can be one of the handiest tools in the shop and I do a lot with them. Whenever I have started new hires in the shop, the router table is one of the first tools I introduce them to as I can get them to do a repeatable operation, safely and productively. Using a 3-1/4 hp, 5 speed, Porter Cable router can be daunting to a new worker and I like to go over all aspects of use and set-up. Starting with the router unplugged, I would show how to change the bit for the operation at hand, and invariably say, "this is a knuckle buster". Ever since my first Stanley router, 18 years ago, I've rapped my knuckles, with the 2 wrench collet change system, and had become used to it, until now.... the Eliminator Chuck does away with all that.

The mail brought a small package to my door one Wednesday at the end of October containing the Eliminator Chuck and the 1/4" insert for smaller shank bits. I had to open it then, even though I was not in the routing mood. First inspection was of a hefty, very solid, well made , unusual looking chuck,(remember, I had been using wrenches for, oh these many years). The 1/4" insert was more like I was used to seeing, a split sleeve (non tapered), to bush the 1/4" shank bits to the 1/2" size.

All was very hefty, well made, the feel of quality! For the technical aspects of this collet, it was threaded to attach to the Porter Cable spindle, then it had a second larger diameter that was bored to accept 1/2" router bits, pierced through the side with an Allen screw. This Allen screw can be seen on the inside of the 1/2" hole, and when tightened, brings in the mating piece to 'fill' the pierced side, effectively locking the bit's shank in place. Dead simple!

OK, lets cut to 2 days later. I do have a new hire and I'm ready to rout dados in a lot of cabinet sides; time for the Eliminator Chuck. Once again simplicity shows: un-screw the factory chuck and screw on the Eliminator. (It does have flats to accept this one time wrench). Insert appropriate bit, tighten Allen screw and you're done. No skinned or banged knuckles, no dents in the smooth plunging posts; simple, understandable instructions. Now for my only complaint: it came with no Allen wrench, how to tighten? I found the correct Allen wrench in my collection (1/8"), but later bought a 7" T handle to dedicate to the cause.

So, how does it work? There are 2 aspects, the bit change itself and the concentricity of the chuck.

Lets tackle concentricity. I did not check the original chuck. It has run straight and true and I never bothered to check it with a dial indicator. I am not a real believer in hundredths for woodworking. I do think some practical checks are appropriate though, so this is what I did. I took a 21/32" router bit which had been sharpened down until (in the original chuck) the dado wouldn't accept the melamine with out forcing. Right on the edge, a go/no go situation. If there was any problem in the Eliminator Chuck, it would turn into a 'go' situation. There were no problems. Cuts in several different pieces with both chucks yielded the same results.

Consequently, this aftermarket chuck is as concentric as the factory chuck. A simple, but practical test, using the original chuck as the base line. Any thing out of round would have magnified the error in the test dados, allowing the 5/8" melamine to slip into the dado without force. For my mind, this went with the look of quality at the initial inspection, and I'm confident of trouble-free years of use.

On to the ease of use, and yes it is easy! I did have to change the order in which I did things , but my new helper sure didn't have to unlearn anything. I was used to grabbing the wrenches, changing bits and then adjusting height. Now I adjust the height first all the way down in the router table, loosen and change bits, then adjust to the new height. Letting the router all the way down lets me turn my T handle Allen wrench with no interference from the overly large plate I have for table mounting. All so quick, a real pleasure!

The summation for this chuck would be simplicity. It arrived within 3 days of placing the order, had a good hefty, quality appearance, went on the router with no problems, cut the path it was directed to with no deviation and has worked without a hitch these past few weeks by both myself and my helper, (who has become quite proficient at the router table.) Aside from the Allen wrench, which I think should be included in the package, I would definitely recommend the Eliminator Chuck as very useful for Porter Cable routers; it solves the bit changing anguish dramatically.

Doug Smith

Ordering Info:
The Eliminator Chuck $49.95
Sleeve for 1/4" Shanks $12.00

J.P. Walsh & J.L. Marmo Enterprises, Inc.
7649 Long Pine Dr. Springfield VA 22151
Voice#: 703-644-5647
Fax#: 703-569-2394

Fits Porter Cable model Nos. 630, 690, 691, 7518, 7519, 7536, 7537, 7538, 7539

Editor's note: The manufacturer has kindly offered a $5 discount to WWA members in good standing. If you want to purchase this accessory for your Porter-Cable router and receive the discount, you need to email me for instructions.
Jim Mattson - jmattson@intrepid.net
The photo is courtesy of Chuck Ring

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