The Little Router That Could
Ask anyone who owns one and they’ll tell you trim router combo kits are indispensable. With a fixed and plunge base and other accessories included in the kit, these pint-sized routers pack power and plenty of features, and the King 8366K is no exception. Because trim router combo kits are lightweight, compact and easy to maneuver, they’re ideal for cutting hinge mortises, profiling edges, template routing, trimming plastic laminate, mortising inlays and a whole host of other tasks. First-time router buyers like them because of their versatility, value and ease of use.
At half the price of its competitors, the 8366K trim router combo kit certainly deserves a closer look. This variable speed, 1-1/4HP router kit with its 1/4″ and 3/8″ collet chuck capacity delivers performance in either the fixed base or plunge base configuration. The variable speed, 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, allows you to “dial in” the speed needed for different router bit sizes and materials being machined.
King Canada Performance Plus Variable Speed Plunge Router / Trimmer Combo Kit
Changing bases is simple and easy. Release the quick-release clamp on the back of either the fixed or plunge base and slide the motor out. Next, slide the motor into the other base and lock the quick-release clamp and you’re ready to rout.
Using the 8366K in its fixed base is a pleasure. It’s well balanced, has an overmoulded grip to prevent your hand from slipping and includes a 1-1/2″ dust port for efficient dust removal. The rack and pinion system used for raising and lowering the fixed base works effortlessly and a two-position spindle lock means you only need one wrench to remove and install router bits.
Balancing the 8366K on the edge of a 3/4″ plywood drawer side to trim solid maple edging with a laminate trimming bit is a breeze. Because the 8366K is easy to control and well balanced, I found this to be a one-handed operation. With the fixed based installed, this router is way more than just a laminate trimmer; profiling an edge in 3/4″ maple was quick and easy. Depending on the amount of material being removed, I found it necessary to make several passes, increasing the depth of cut with each pass, sneaking up on the final profile.
The aluminum plunge base on the 8366K does not disappoint. It has a plunge travel of 1-1/2″, three adjustable pre-set depth stops and plunges, and returns smoothly using firm but not stiff springs. There was no noticeable play between the base and the columns while plunging, and it plunged smoothly and accurately. This is key when plunging mortises. Any movement between the base and columns means an inaccurate mortise. Plunging 1/4″ × 1″ deep mortises into maple legs was smooth and accurate and the non-slip handles gave my hands plenty of grip while in use.
The supplied adjustable straightedge guide worked well to cut these mortises, but when cutting dadoes in the middle of a panel where the fence is too short to use, the plunge base on the 8366K has two flat sides that easily glide along a straight edge. Once again, multiple passes were used to cut a 3/4″ wide dado.
The router kit comes with a trimmer roller guide, an accessory that isn’t often used but it’s nice to see it included with the kit for the times you can’t do without it.
The King Canada Performance Plus Variable Speed Plunge Router / Trimmer Combo Kit 8366K works well, within its limitations. It’s well balanced, plunges smoothly, has variable speeds to accommodate different router bit sizes and materials, and it’s a pleasure to use. And with the included accessories, what’s not to like? Dust collection on the plunge base isn’t included and would have been helpful, but the dust collection on the fixed base worked well. The kit doesn’t include a template guide adapter for template routing, but the manufacturer recommends the purchase of a Makita Template Guide model 321492-3 for this task.
For light routing jobs, this router kit did not disappoint. In fact, I was very pleased by its ability to handle all the tasks I asked of it. The 8366K will never replace a 2-1/4 or 3-1/4HP router but it was never designed to. It’s been designed and built to perform light routing tasks and it does so admirably.