Are you a woodworking novice? Or are you an experienced woodworker who is looking for a new tool for your inventory? A wood router can help you turn boring wood blocks into decorative pieces with various profiles and patterns.
Because of this, it is a must-have tool in your toolbox. Imagine, with only a single tool; you can do grooves, dadoes, box joints, dovetails, and many more. This is why you should invest in a router.
What Are Routers?
You may find many router models out there, and each of them is packed with different technology, features, and accessories. However, if you throw away those electronics, you will find that there are essentially only four main parts in a router: a motor, a base, a pair of handles, and a bit.
The motor usually points downward, and it will then be attached to the base, which is categorized into two types that are fixed and plunge bases.
A sharp bit is attached to the motor on its spindle part. Then, when the spindle rotates, it will do the cutting. You can control the cutting movement using the provided handles.
A General Overview of a Router
Before moving on to the “what are they used for” part, it is better for you to know about the bases and the bits first. It is essential to learn about them beforehand because different bases and bits are made for various purposes.
With a fixed base, the router is placed and locked in a particular position, which means the router cannot plunge up and down. You usually use a fixed base router when you’re working with the edge part of a workpiece.
On the other hand, with a plunge base, the router can plunge up and down depending on your needs. You will need to use a plunge base router when working with the center part of a workpiece.
Even so, you don’t have to worry about choosing between a fixed base and a plunge base. Because, unless you’re getting a vintage router, modern routers are equipped with interchangeable fixed and plunge bases.
Now, this article won’t go too in-depth about the bits part. Some of the most popular ones are cove, dovetail, straight, panel-raising, flush-trim, and round-over bit.
You will have to learn about how to use each of them along the way. The important thing here is to know that you will need to match your bit to your shank’s size. Bigger routers usually can accept both ¼” and ½” shank sizes.
What Are They Used For?
A router is one of the most versatile tools a woodworker can have. People use it mainly for edge profiling, joinery, and template routing, but others also use it for surfacing and boring. No other woodworking tool can beat the router in terms of adaptability.
For example, you can save hundreds of dollars from having to buy a biscuit jointer with a little creativity.
Chuck a slot-cutting bit onto your router, and you can make the same joint form. As long as you have the proper bits, you can make almost any form and shape using a router.
How to Use a Router Table?
Mounting your router table to a table is a safer alternative compared to using a free-hand technique. It gives you better control during the cutting process.
Using a router table doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow the steps below, and you will see how easy it is to use a router table.
First, attach the base plate to the table. Different table models will require other plates. Just place the base place on the provided space and screw it into place.
Follow with leveling the insert. Router tables are generally equipped with screws so you can adjust and match the level of your insert with the table.
Then, attach the router to the insert plate. For an easy installation, flip your table on its side so you can see the bottom part of it clearly. Line up the mounting holes and secure them with screws.
After that, using an adjustable square, you can adjust the router bit’s height and the distance of the fence. For a more accurate measurement result, you can change the adjustable square with a digital height gauge.
What Can You Do With a Router Table?
Now that you already have a router table, you can start doing bigger projects than when you still manually handle your router. One of the best project examples that use a router table is a raised panel cabinet door.
The router table is the ideal tool to make a raised panel cabinet door because it requires big bits so that you can make a large and smooth gutter for the joints in one go.
You will also be able to make more extended edge profiling using a router table. Simply slide the material along the bits, and it will result in an accurate edge profile.
With a router table, it will also be easier for you to do stopped cuts. Of course, you can again do stopped cuts with handheld routers. However, it is hard to stop at the same length every single time.
Nevertheless, it is not recommended for you to use big bits with a handheld router, even if it is possible. You run the risk of getting yourself hurt, and it is also hard to control the precision of the cuts.
Can Any Router Be Used in a Router Table?
Technically, routers with both fixed and plunge joints can be used in a router table. However, many woodworking enthusiasts and professionals prefer to use designated routers in their router table set up.
With a fixed router, it is much simpler to arrange and adjust the whole thing. A fixed router is usually lighter, too, compared to a plunge router.
Also, with a plunge router, it is hard to maintain the same height for the bit every time you use the table router.
A router is a convenient piece to have in your tool inventory. To handle more significant projects in a safer and faster way, you should set up a router table.
You can use any router in your arrangement. However, it’s highly recommended you use a fixed router because it is lighter, more accurate, and easy to set up.