A woodworking shop isn’t complete without a router to make profiles on the wood. The router in woodworking is one of the most versatile tools that have to be in the shop. You’ll use the router in almost any wood project; to trim it to shape or make designs on the surface. However, the problem is, there are so many types of wood routers that will put you in confusion.
Different types of jobs require different types of wood routers for surface finishes edge jobs, cutouts, or creating patterns. The applications of a wood router are endless if you know how to make use of one properly. If you’re starting with woodworking and planning to get your first router, it can be a daunting job to get the right one. Stick to the article for a proper guideline if you’re confused about what type of router you’re going with.
Different types of wood routers
Wood routers are versatile tools that can help you with different types of wood jobs if you know what type to work with. Here are the common types of wood routers that you need to know about before you get your first router:
The name suggests the application of this router; you can use the router on the wood by “plunging”. The router base isn’t fixed to the body, and it comes with an adjustable depth on the router bit. You can adjust the base of the router vertically to route the wood with different depths for the same or different projects.
Either you can make a deep groove or go shallow on the surface, which makes it a versatile tool. Making dadoes, mortises, doing edges with different depths, and creating patterns are the most common jobs you will do with a plunge router. However, using plunge routers becomes a little hard for beginners as there are many mechanisms to know about.
Fixed base routers
The fixed-based routers are great if you’re getting your router, especially for guided edge shopping jobs. Unlike the plunge router, the fixed based router won’t have depth adjustability; rather, it’s fixed on the base. You have to use it with a predetermined bit length with a fixed length of the bit sticking out of the base.
It works great if you’re edging; you can use a guided router bit and clamp the reference piece with the workpiece and shape the edge perfectly. It may seem a little unlikely that you cannot adjust the depth, so why would you take it? Well, it’s better in some cases, especially if you don’t usually don’t change the depth much, it will give you a finer cut than the plunge router.
Different sizes of routers
There are differences regarding the size of the different types of wood routers, and they serve their distinct purposes, such as:
The largest size of the wood routers is the heaviest and highly powerful, both for hand routers or stationary ones. They come with the largest collet sizes to accommodate up to 1.5″ of bits, which are perfect for industrial usage for large workpieces. Most of the professionals usually get one of these for their jobs because it adds more control over the piece.
The medium-sized wood routers come with a medium-sized collet that can accommodate up to 1/2″ of the router bits. They fall between the heavy-duty routers, and the light-duty ones and professionals can land a great result with one of these. You will encounter some limitations with this type when dealing with a heavy project with a larger routing requirement.
If you’re a DIYer who wants to do some home jobs without going to a professional, the small routers can help you big time. These are popular with the professionals as well because they are usable with one hand and have better functionality to fine and small jobs. You can use it occasionally as a hobbyist with a router bit of 1/4″ up to 1.2″ with the smallest collet size in the list.
The CNC router is a special type of router that connects to a computerized controller, which you control with a computer. You can use software to program a routing job and get a highly-precision routing result from the CNC router. It’s common in the industrial mass production facilities where human hands cannot handle bigger projects in bulk.
Benefits of using a wood router
Setting up a woodworking shop is not complete without a router in it. Here are the benefits of having a router in your workshop:
- Doing the edges: You can cut perfectly identical edges with reference pieces using a guided router bit. You can also make designer edges using the router, which is common in modern furniture.
- Cutting dadoes: Making dadoes is a must-do job if you make modern furniture, and a router can help you make perfect dadoes. The router will help you cut the dadoes without damaging the surface of the wood.
- Carving the wood: If you do wood carving, getting a router is a must-do job for you. It can help you cut out the major curves and grooves. It’s mostly useful when you’re designing doors, cabinets, windows, or designer furniture.
- Repeatability: If you have to repeat the same pattern or edge design on multiple workpieces, a router can help you with that. You can use a router bit with a bearing guide on the tip; it can help you follow the last piece’s edge design.
- Lettering on wood: If you want to make a nameplate and need to carve the letters on a board, only a router can do it. You can use printed templates to carve the letters and make your nameplate using a router.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about using wood routers that you might have been wondering about:
Do you push or pull a router?
As a beginner, you should practice and work on your workpiece by pushing the router clockwise. The blade on the bit will rotate away from the wood and help you avoid any tear from the wood.
Do you use a router left to right?
If you’re using the router while it’s between you and the workpiece, you take it from left to right. You will push most of the time to the right side of the workpiece to get a safer cut without a tear.
Can a router cut through wood?
Yes, if you’re using a plunge router, that’ll be better if you equip it with a zig or a fence to guide it through. However, don’t forget about the size of the router bit; it should be out of the main cut.
A router has no replacement in the equipment in a woodworking shop. However, before you get your first router, you must know about different types of wood routers and choose the best router. Choosing a wood router can be easy if you know what to look for, especially if you’re new to it. Decide what type of router you need and do your research to get the best one.
If you’re going to do different jobs with the same router, get a mid-size plunge router with palm handles. Be sure to consider how much speed it has and how wide the collet size it. It’s going to be a better selection if you get a router to remove the base plate and attach it to a router table.