Monday, 9 June 2014

MuscleChuck review

My Trend T11 router is mounted in my router table. Over the years I have received a few skinned knuckles when trying to get the collet tightened or undone. This is due in part to the router having tools that only work under the table. It's just the way it is!
On to the scene came the Musclechuck from De Rosa engineering see here. I bought mine from their European partner Woodrat see here.
A pair of MuscleChucks

The device is a precision made accessory that replaces the collet and nut from your router. There are no cams or internal parts just a split collar with a 1/2" bore and an allen head socket screw. It also comes complete with a teebar allen wrench (4mm in my case).

The Teebar wrench

De Rosa make 5 different types of Musclechuck so you will find one which fits your router.

Musclechuck mounted in the router
Installation is easy as you simply remove the original collet/nut and replace it with the Musclechuck. The integral nut engages the router threaded shaft. 
It does come with a small instruction leaflet telling you how to balance it, not overtighten it etc so you really need to read this to ensure you have understood it. 
The benefits of the Musclechuck are:
  • quick cutter changes are easy
  • eliminates the use of wrenches
  • when mounted in a router table the chuck adds some length so letting you use the full length of a cutter 
  • and most importantly for me no blooded knuckles anymore!
The allen screw does not need much tightening to secure a cutter and quick changes are indeed quick. About 8 seconds to change a cutter. I found that the cutters ran true.
I did find that one of my extensions had a slight runout but, following the instructions, loosened the chuck and rotated the extension through 90 degrees, tightened the chuck and it ran true.
Not a lot else to say about the device other than it does what it says on the tin. I'm really happy with it.

All in all a decent addition to the router arsenal. It cost me £56.94 GBP ($95 US) including shipping and taxes so isn't cheap. Some cheaper routers cost that much! so you really have to want one to justify it. Costs may be cheaper in your locality. 

Here is the Youtube demo of it


I was recently asked if I have to balance the Musclechuck regularly but in practice I've found that I don't once the initial setup was done. Obviously if you remove it for any reason then time spent rebalancing afterwards is time well spent.
I photographed the instructions as my scanner is out of action and this shows how to setup and use the device.
Musclechuck instruction leaflet

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