For every carpenter, wood router is a very valuable tool. Using a quality router with various-sized bits would enable the carpenter to create beautiful and intricate designs, make grooves and joints, and shape edges. Each kind of router serves different purposes and meets distinct needs. Therefore it is essential to know the major types of wood routers and find the right type for your needs.
Wood Routers are of three types: Plunge, Fixed Bases and Trim routers. The main difference lies in the way the motor and the base of the router are attached to each other. The design of the router will also determine the kind of woodwork it does.
A plunge router has a base with a spring-loaded shaft.The motor is attached to the base with two retractable spring columns. The bit is plunged into the wood by exerting some pressure on the base. It is the safest router among all because of its retractable blade. Though safest of all, the top of the router is heavy and might require some time before you learn how to handle and control it properly.
It allows the carpenter to hover the router over the surface and then plunge it down to cut into the wood. The spring-loaded shaft has the ability to move up and down. Unlike regular routers with which the depth is adjusted beforehand, the depth of the plunge shaft can be fixed and locked when it is shoved down thus allowing for cutting holesand grooves of variable depth. It is also possible to unlock the shaft’s depth while it is running.
The main advantage of plunge router is that the cut can be made in the middle of the wood.This means that you do not have to start cutting from the edge. It eliminates the need of having a starter hole. It is very useful for cutting patterns or profiles and making signs on a wooden board. It also saves time by not requiring a pre-drilled starting hole.
Although, it offers more versatility than other routers, it can be a little harder to use than fixed base ones. Also because of its superior features, it isrelatively more expensive than its other counterparts. Plunge bases can also be mounted and used in a router table. They are designed in such a way that the protruding bit of the router can be set from above the table.
Fixed Base Router
A fixed base router has a stationary fixed base. It requires setting the depth of the bit by adjusting the base, which is then locked into place about the motor of the router. For best performance, fit the fixed base model to a router table. They are good for edge cuts and precise straight-line molding. Like trim routers, they are light-weight and easy to use.
When working with a fixed base router, the blade depth needs to be set beforehand. It cannot be adjusted midway. The bit depth will remain unchanged during the course of routing. The bit can be easily adjusted up or down by simply twisting the housing. Hence, fixed routers do not allow for over-gouging. But there is still a way out – you can adjust depth by bringing up or lowering down the router base. Like trim and plunge routers, they can be used in handheld fashion or mounted in a router table. However, mounted router is very easy to use than handheld.
According to the general wood router reviews, depth locking feature is ideal for newbie carpenters who are inexperience with power tools. Fixed base routers have compact structures and are easier to handle, control or move. They are less expensive than plunge routers. However, they lack the versatility of plunge routers and cannot do overcutting.
A trim router is usually a mini-router since it is smaller in size. It is ideal for doing tasks that require less power and capacity. As its name suggests, it is used mainly to trim and bevel laminate. They are great at piercing one handed holes precisely and accurately. Generally crafters and hobbyists use them. Although it can be used for other small work, it best does light-duty woodwork only.
A trim router can possibly be used as a plunge router but it can turn out to be dangerous. Because a trim router is designed to be brought in from the edges and not to be plunged directly into the wood. Moreover, it is extremely difficult to control a trim router while plunging into the wooden board. Ninety percent of the times, you would mess up and need to discard it.
Many wood router reviews claim that trim routers are usually not as powerful and versatile as plunge routers are. Their primarily job is to laminate wood and do minor routing. If you work with hardwoods (for example, oak), you will require a router with extra powerful motor. Profiles and patterns cannot be grooved in wood using trim routers.
Buying a wood router is easy than learning how to use it. Wood routers are a big investment and therefore it is essential to understand the differences and purposes of each of them. We hope that the information contained in this article will help you make a right choice for your woodworking career. It does take time to master the routing techniques, but once learnt, they add a lot to the set of skills you possess and make you stand out from the crowd!