Festool OF 1400 or Bosch GOF 1600 CE (MRC23EVSK)
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I am buying a new router and had decided on the OF 1400 but just to assure myself it's the right move I have been giving a good look at other comparable models. 

The Festool gets near universal praise, although some have criticised the depth turret adjustment which can have some slop it seems. I'm not particularly Festool-centric. I have the Domino, but otherwise am running a wide range of other tool makes. Dust collection is a Starmix ISP iPulse L-1635 and a Hammer 120mm system for my Hammer combi-machine.

Any comments from users here who have worked with both of these routers? I'm particularly interested in the depth adjustment and other usability aspects. Also concerned with reliability issues of course - I have seen some threads suggesting the Bosch units were affected by poor quality control and electronic failures - although that may have been only a few years ago and resolved now.

Thanks for comments - all input very welcome.

Dave M
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Hello Dave.
Doubt you'll be disappointed with either to be honest. The Bosch has a bit more grunt, cost less and you can add a fixed base to it. I find depth adjustment on it pretty good. Nothing fancy there. Like the Festool it's soft start (which is very smooth) and speed adjustable. It also, like the Festool, is compatible with 1/4 and 1/2 inch collets and has a range of accessories for use with guide rails - including the kit for drilling holes at 32m spacing for cabinetry, or making your own MFT worktops.
I've had no problems with the electronics on either the Festool or Bosch. I use the Bosch more purely because I have more accesories for it in the workshop. My Festool is 110v so goes out on site for cutting kitchen worktops.
One thing I will say lets the Bosch down is the difficulty in tracking down or replacing the dust extraction adapters. They're clear plastic which is good for visibility and they do clear dust effectively but, they don't strike me as durable. I've not broken one but then I'm a careful worker. I doubt it'd take much of a knock to break one.
I have lost some of the extraction accessories though and had to import replacememnts from the US. Genuinely couldn't find what I needed here in the UK or EU. The US however sells a comprehensive kit for reasonable money.
That's about it really. Let me know if there's anything more specific you want to know.
 
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Thanks Bailey, that's very helpful.

The guide rods on the Festool look considerably longer which can be quite helpful in a variety of situations.

I've also read the Bosch unit runs hot and loud. Think I am leaning to the OF 1400 still.

Best,

David
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The guide rods on the Festool look considerably longer which can be quite helpful in a variety of situations.

Worth pointing out that 800mm guide rods are available for the Bosch.
I've also read the Bosch unit runs hot and loud.

Never experienced the Bosch running any hotter than the Festool over long periods - or short blasts for that matter - so I'd say that's nonsense unless someone has an undiagnosed fault with their machine.
In use, both these tools are among the least fatiguing I've ever used. I mean that in terms of smoothness of operation (vibration or lack of) and noise. A visitor to my shop remarked how quiet the Bosch was just this week in fact. In terms of db numbers, looking at my handbooks, the Festool is rated a couple of db lower than the Bosch for both pressure and power but in use, you'd really never know. I can't tell tbh and once the bit starts cutting, that's where most of the noise comes from anyway. The GOF 1600 CE is one of the smoothest and quietest out there trust me. I've been at this for many a year.
Think I am leaning to the OF 1400 still.

Like I said, you won't be unhappy with either machine really. I prefer the hand grips on the Bosch (style, material and postion) and the depth adjustment, which is very smooth and accurate - feels much more positive. These could be a matter of preference though. The extra grunt and the fixed base make it decent under a router table too.
Both these models have crap dust hoods in terms of how they feel for durability. At least the Festool ones are relatively easy to get hold of though and there as an extra support/lock for it at the vac end!
The parallel fences that come with both are pretty good. The Festool one has a very simple and user friendly design but the Bosch "deluxe" guide that comes with the GOF has more mm of micro adjust than the Festool.
The Bosch has an LED worklight too. Something the Festool doesn't. When the Bosch is plugged in, the light is always on. It's a pretty good safety feature not to mention extremely useful when working.
Big downside of the Festool is it has the bloody twist grip to plunge and stop - as in you have to unscrew the side handle to plunge, then screw it back up to tighten! The Bosch has a positive stop level operated by your thumb when your hand is on the grips when plunging. Much more intuitive in use. Push, plunge, release.
Big downside of the Bosch is it isn't branded Festool. :-/

Anyways, good luck with your purchase Dave. Hope it serve you well.
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Thanks Bailey. Still think I will go Festool. Better supplied at the outset and the accessories are more of a system approach.The price difference is actually not so much when one factors in things not delivered wtih the GOF and accessory costs of Bosch. I do like the Bosch plunge locking approach though - agree that looks very nice. Less keen on the speed control relative to the OF 1400.
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If you're going to go Festool and, assuming you want a 1/2" router, I would stump up the little extra and get the OF2200. I wish really wish I had - that or bought another GOF 1600. The OF 2200 has serious grunt and a handle configuration similar to the Bosch. Dust collection on it is unbelievable! Similar to the baby OF1010 (something I recently got rid of for the 1400), the OF2200 has built in dust collection. It still doesn't have a worklight but in every other way, worth the few extra quid. I got to use one recently. The sytainer accessory kit for it was mind blowing too. Unfortunately, as someone with 4 more than capable routers, I've no need for it.
Have to agree with the cost of Bosch accessories. They're good but rediculously priced. Was looking for a couple of 5m hoses recently. Difficult enough to find and when I did, I was looking at around 160 quid each. I notice for the same money, you can get a Festool 5m hose, with plug-it cable and their fancy hose wrap! Grrr.
Anyways, all the best.
 
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Thanks again Bailey. I really looked at this very hard today and ran all the numbers. I think I've flip flopped and am now fairly certain of going with the Bosch.

I priced the following systems:

Bosch
GMF 1600 CE, with L-BOXX
Bosch FSN OFA 32 KIT 800 (800mm rail guide, rail clamps, router base sled etc)
Guide rail 1600mm FSN RA32 1600
Bosch connecting piece for guide rail FSN VEL
A pair of kickback stops for the FSN rail guides
A set of 80 cm long guide rods

Festool
OF 1400 EBQ-Plus
Guide rail adapter FS-OF 1400
Guide rail FS 800/2
Guide rail FS 1400/2
Connecting piece FSV (pair) for connecting guide rails
Lever clamp FS-HZ 160 pair for guide rails
Kickback stop FS-RSP (pair)
Festool outsole LA-OF 1400 (levels base when routing off guide rails)

Even though price is not the main factor influencing me the Festool setup is 140 Swiss francs higher and objectively the Bosch setup is a good deal better equipped - both plunge and fixed bases, a bit more combined guide rail length, 32mm system, and longer guide rods. On top of that I get the plunge lever, worklight and positive fine depth adjustment features which all - from the looks of them - appear preferable to the Festool. Not sure how much use I will make of the fixed base but the marginal cost was low and I think if the changeovers are really fast be a better solution for edge routing.

Thanks again for chewing this over with me - a shame we couldn't have done it over a pint! Re the OF 2200 - I have the DeWalt 625 mounted in my LVT table (Veritas router table system) and so far have never felt I needed anything else. The Veritas stuff from Lee Valley is superb...want to treat yourself to an inexpensive measuring tool you will love? Check out the Veritas Sliding Square...everytime I use it I marvel at how useful it is for joinery tasks.

Best,

Dave M
 
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The kit list you've listed there represent a fair investment Dave so, it's best to give it some thought. Is there no one you could to who has either router to try out?
I notice you have the Bosch 32mm kit on your list but not on the Festool list. Festool do do a similar kit. It's called the LR32 set with the guide rail being the FS1400/2-LR32. I've never used this kit so can't comment on how well it works in comparison.
The Bosch 32mm system is much better value though. I have it and it works pretty well. Used it for various cabinetry and made several MFT surfaces (96mm hole centres so works well). I have had a couple of occasions where the pin needed a bit of a jiggle to locate but that was when I first started using it. I can run it pretty smooth these days.
One thing that frustrates me about the Bosch system is the OFA guide rail adapter. It's a pretty good piece of kit in itself and compatible with Bosch and competitor guide rails but, it's a faff to fit the router at first. You have to allign 3 holes on the router base to their corresponding holes in the adapter. Lining these up used to drive me mad but I've now got different colour marks on each hole on the base and adapter to speed this up. If you get one, I recomend doing this.
In terms of connecting rail pieces (I notice you have 2 rail pieces of each brand in your list) Bosch wins here hands down. It's the same rail system Mafell use. Just keep the connector piece inside the rail and, when you need it, slide it up to your second piece and tighten. Alligns the rails automatically. No butting up to a straight edge needed like with Festool and others.
The changeover between fixed and plunge base on the Bosch are very simple and quick. Just undo the latch at the back, slide the motor body out til it stops, push the release button (a safety feature to stop you dropping it under a router table) and out it comes. It the just slide into the othe base. I have considered leaving my plunge base perminently attached to the OFA for guide rail use tbh.
I've just had a look at the Veritas Square. Ingenius. Might have to pick up one of these. I have a couple of Veritas bits of kit. Very impressive quality.
I hope this is of some help Dave. There's no perfect set up really. Some do some things better than others and vice versa. The last thing you want is to get a pint or 2 down me and get me talking tools lol.
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Hey Bailey (or anyone else with a Bosch GMF 1600 CE who may be reading this),

I have a few days ago placed my order for the GMF 1600 and the accessories I outline above. I had a working trip and was away for a while which is why there was a slight delay in placing my order. The machine will likely not arrive until end of next week - which with the Easter holiday may mean it ends up in my workshop the following week.

I'd like to make a hinge installation jig for the router in advance of it getting here for some nice offset architectural hinges I like to use. It would be very helpful to know the following 3 things from someone who can measure them accurately on their machine:
  1. The diameter of the base plate on the fixed base setup.
  2. The diameters (short and long) of the base plate on the plunge base setup (i.e. from the straight edge to circle edge and circle edge to circle edge).
  3. The distance by which the template guides project from the base plate towards the workpiece.
Could not find a schematic of the base plate measurements anywhere on the internet. Thanks if anyone who has the unit can fill me in on the above. I'd really appreciate someone taking the time to do this for me.

Best,

Dave M
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Hi dave_in_gva,

I went down tot the workshop and took some measurements for you.

1. The base plate on the fixed base setup is 154mm in diametre.
2. The diameters of the base plate on the plunge base setup is 180mm (long, full diametre), 163mm (short, from straight side).
3. The template guide projects from the base plate 13mm.

Hope this helps,

Bob.