Hitachi M12V2 Half Inch Router archive

Friday 11 March 2011

Derek Jones gives Hitachi a thorough going over and discovers that it might not be for everybody

Gallery

The M12V2 comes with a parallel fence made up of two components plus the rods. The cast section used to hold the rods is well finished and attaches to a pressed steel cross section. The whole device is well made and of very good quality but is lacking in size for some applications. The rods aren't really long enough to attach a second fence for instance which could be used for mortising into thin sections. The fence plate is also on the short side and although easily modified any additional material will have a knock on effect for the already short rods.

Bumpy start

I didn't get off to a very good start with the M12V2 and wasn't going to bring it up but decided in the end it was worth a mention. Before I could get down to business I noticed a problem with the fine adjustment rise and fall lock-off. The threaded bar had detached from the base allowing the body to separate itself from the main plunge bars. To reassemble it was necessary to remove the black plastic cover plate on the face of the base plate and hold a nut in place while tightening the threaded bar. In itself not a difficult procedure but not made any easier by the need to remove the plunge lock lever as well to reinstate a brass spacer which had become dislodged in the process. Is this unfair to point out? I don't think so. I can't think why you'd want to remove the bar for anything other than replacing a damaged base so a dab of thread lock might be in order if you encounter this yourself.

Precise adjuster

This machine has three preset adjustable depth stops on a firm rotating turret above which there's an interesting design incorporating the depth scale. A removable cover plate in two sections allows you to clear any waste material from this obvious dust trap. The scale however is clearly marked out in metric and imperial with a travel indicator for quick reference. The whole mechanism is precise in feel despite the awkward appearance. Considering the ergonomics I can see no practical benefit for having the raised rubber over-moulding to the main body. Not withstanding the side grips, during set-up and cutter changes the only things to come into contact with the bench or working surface are the usual protrusions and hard edges found on any router. The inference here is that this is more cosmetic than functional.

The main base is a well finished casting that takes a separate machined base plate which is used to secure a range of guide bushes, two of which are supplied. A centring tool is also included for use with either of the two collets. The secondary plate is necessary to enable extraction of the working area through a 32mm angled port. In this configuration the maximum tool dia is 40mm. The clear plastic cover allows good visibility but the channel for transporting waste from the working zone is small and prone to clogging. A good vacuum extraction unit would certainly help to overcome this.

Excellent layout

I noticed a hint of play in the plunge mechanism but not enough to cause a problem. Travel is smooth and the on/off switch is positive and easy to locate. There is no safety device on this machine so in theory it could be activated by powering up from plugging into a live socket if not switched off. The plunge lock lever has a rubber sleeve and was in just the right position. This is easily altered should you find it not to your liking. Speed is controlled via a thumb roll adjuster on one of the side grips. Like all the main functions on this machine it's where it can be found easily but could be moved off its setting accidentally by changing hand positions mid pass. The fine height adjuster can be activated with a second lever on the back of the body casing. The off position resulting in free plunge mode. A push fit extension bar can be attached when required.


Tegan Foley

Tagged In:

Derek Jones , Hitachi , Furniture & Cabinetmaking

F&c Verdict

If I am sounding over critical do not be put off. This is an excellent machine but it will not suit everyone. I have owned a number of different Hitachi over the years and they have all proven to be good, solid, reliable machines and there is nothing about this one that suggests it would be any different. It is logical in its set up and comfortable to use which was not the impression I got when I first laid eyes on it. Looks, you know, can be very deceiving.
Pros:
Quality finish
Well positioned controls
Cons:
Short fence rods limit use

The Numbers

Power input: 2000W
Speed: 8000 - 22000
Plunge stroke: 65mm
Weight: 6.3kg
Cord length: 2.3m
Max cutter diameter: 40mm (with insert fitted)
Price: Around £260 inc vat
From: Hitachi
Tel: 01908 660 663