Woodworking Routers Buying Guide
If you're starting a new home improvement project or just want to stock up your tool shed , you may be in need of a woodworking router. Used to cut shapes, patterns and designs in everything from tabletops to laminate flooring, a router is one of the most versatile tools you can own. Because they can be fit with bits of all different shapes and sizes, they can adapt to almost any task you need to tackle. But before you go hacking your kitchen cabinets apart, it's probably a good idea to get the 411 on everything router.
Fixed Base Versus Plunge
Fixed base and plunge routers are the two most common types of routers on the market.
- Fixed base routers sit at a fixed depth throughout the duration of your cut--i.e. once you've cut to a certain depth, there's no going back.
- Plunge routers allow you to control the depth of the cut while you are cutting. This allows you continue to shave off more material until the optimum depth is reached.
- Plunge routers can be used to cut grooves, dados, mortises and incised letters.
- Because plunge routers offer more routing flexibility, but they cost more.
- Fixed base routers are lighter than plunge routers.
Electronic Variable Speed (EVS)
EVS routers are fairly new additions to the woodworking market.
- The EVS feature allows you to adjust the speed of the router bit for safety reasons.
- Smaller bits operating at high speeds are not a major safety concern, thus an EVS feature is not necessary.
Bit Size and Changing
Bits are usually referred to by their shank size, with the shank being the part of the bit that fits into the router.
- Each project may require a different bit shank size, but the most common size is .5 inches or 1.27 cm.
- 1.27 centimeter bits can be made to fit other sizes with an adapter.
- Some routers require that one wrench be used to hold the spindle while the other is used to loosen the collet. This may be a difficult position, as it can obstruct your view of the router itself.
- Newer routers are made with spindle lock buttons that when pressed, lock the shaft so that only one wrench is needed to loosen the bit.
- Before you buy your router, find out how easy it is to change the bit by holding the bit in your hand or scouring woodworking forums online.
- Routers typically measure power using horse power, although it is not always accurate. Just because a router is marked at 2-HP doesn't mean it always operates at this level. In fact, 2-HP actually delineates the maximum power that the router can reach. For a more reliable measurement, refer to the amperage.
- You should also take higher horsepower means more weight, since a powerful router engine contains more copper wire than less impressive models.
- Router Edge Guide
- To help keep your cuts perfectly straight.
- Router Table
- Gives you space, support and extra storage.
- Ergonomic Router Grip
- If you don't like the feel of your new router, try testing out the pistol or side-by-side bull horn style grips for added comfort.
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