It’s safe to say that woodwork remains relevant up to this day. People take it either as a hobby or a professional job, and crafting businesses are always opening up here and there. If you’re one of those who practice woodwork, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that you need creative skills with the help of powerful tools to be successful in the field.
One of the essential tools in this industry is a wood router. This machine plays a vital role in the woodcraft niche, and it’s surely a must-have in every workshop. Wood routers are reliable when it comes to performing simple cutting techniques and complicated decorative touches on materials. This tool sure does allow you to extend your crafting abilities, but it’s also necessary to give credits to the attachments and components that complete a wood router.
Router bits and base plates are just some of the significant accessories in wood routing kits; in this article, we’re going to delve more into the latter. We’re going to discuss the basics of a wood router, specifically what you need to know about its base plate.
Wood Router and Its Types
Wood routers are like the woodworker’s best friend, with all the project applications it can work with across various materials. There are two different router types, which allow you to do other cutting techniques: fixed-base and plunged-base.
Fixed-Base Wood Router
As the name implies, this tool’s base remains “fixed” after adjusting and setting its motor in position. This design lets you shift the motor from an upward to downward position as a height adjustment feature. Additionally, this allows you to execute better and more precise bit cutting depth changes.
You can expect the same trimming operations, but the main difference lies in a plunge-based router’s “ears”. This type of router utilizes a motor-clamping system to set the depth through the motor and the two spring-loaded posts. While the motor itself is fixed on its position, the base is responsible for cutting depth adjustments of 1/8-inch increments.
About Base Plates
While there are two different kinds of wood routers, both need a sub-base plate to help you achieve accurate and successful cutting and decorating applications on your projects. Together with guide bushings, a base plate is considered to be some of the most important attachments in this machine. The guide bushings are placed on a sub-base plate so that you can shape and trim your materials according to the given template. Various cutting and decorative applications like dovetail jigs and tracings. If you’re using the proper base plate, you’ll be able to expand your skills and explore more practices in the field of woodcraft.
Types of Base Plates
Most wood routers come with a base plate in its package, but this attachment can also be bought separately. Even better, you can also create your own! Below, we show you some of the most common materials used to make base plates. You can use this guide for future reference when you’re buying or crafting one.
Hard-Board Base Plate
This material base is the cheapest option on the list because it’s disposable, and we recommend this plate if you’re looking for a quick sub-base plate to use. It’s also known to be durable, if not the most because it can resist rough working conditions, specifically humidity, which prevents it from wear-and-tear and warping.
Baltic-Birch Plywood Base Plate
This one is slightly better than the first material type, and it also costs more. If you’re opting for acrylic but are short on money, you can use this as an alternative in the meantime. Like the hard-board plate, this is also durable and can support your guide bushings for a significant time. If you’re using this for a DIY plate, proceed with caution because plywood tends to deform in the making.
Acrylic Base Plate
This material is the most expensive one among the three; however, it surely pays off with the convenience it provides you with. Clear acrylic plates let you manage better vision on the wood router’s bit while you work. Lastly, this is the ideal sub-base plate when you use chamfer or round-over bits most of the time.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Base Plate
As mentioned, wood routers typically have a base plate in its package; however, instances like damaged sub-base plates from usage wear might require you to buy a new one. Here are the factors you might want to keep in mind before purchasing a base plate.
As discussed above, each plate material type delivers different durability levels, features, and router bit compatibility. Refer to the type of project you’re dealing with so that you’ll know if a certain base plate type is necessary to use.
Size and Compatibility
Be mindful of the base plate’s size you’re opting for. This accessory comes in different sizes to cater to various wood router kits. The specifications of your router usually include information regarding the base plate size that tool requires. Some online stores also have a searching tool that allows you to check the plate compatibility by entering your wood router’s model number; this function will inform you right away if your chosen base plate fits or not.
Of course, price is also a deciding factor. Like other attachments in this tool, base plates vary in price depending on their material and purpose. Consider your budget range before you proceed.
In this section, we present you our featured product for this category: the Craftsman Router Base Plate 511983001.
If you’re using a Craftsman wood router, you’d want to check this sub-base out. The Craftsman 511983001 Router Sub-Base is specifically designed to provide you with an alternative or replacement base plate for your Craftsman wood router kit. It’s a certified Genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part, and it’s compatible with over 30 Craftsman units, including 315175341, 31517560, 31517570, 315175111, and 31517370. For reference, the sub-base plate’s hole diameter is about 3/16 inches, and its bolt circle measurement comes at 2-1/8 inches.
You can get it at $9.64 on Amazon, which is quite affordable for a sub-base plate substitution. This item is fulfilled by Buckeye Tool Supply; the company offers a money-back guarantee for their return policy, should the base plate be defective or damaged upon purchase.
Base plates are one of the essential router accessories you should invest in. The one that comes with your router kit purchase will go through wear and tear, and you’ll eventually need to find a base replacement to carry on with your project. Make sure to refer back to this guide, especially if you own a Craftsman wood router kit.