Wood Routers

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Wood routers (or simply “routers”) are woodworking power tools that are essential for hollowing out, shaping, and creating intricate shapes and decorative designs on wood. Basically, a router consists of a motor housed in a handheld or table-mounted unit, with a collet that holds a variety of router bits. 

Types of Wood Routers

Woodworking routers come in various types, each designed for specific tasks and applications. Here are some common ones:

  • Handheld Router: The most common router type, which is used for tasks such as edging, shaping, and dadoes.
  • Router Table: Mounted upside down in a specialized table, this variant allows for precise and controlled operations. This is useful for edge profiling and making long cuts.
  • Fixed-Base Router: These are the most basic type of wood routers. They have a stationary base, and the cutting depth is already set.
  • Plunge Router: Unlike the fixed-base router, a plunge router allows users to adjust the cutting depth while the router is running. This makes it suitable for tasks such as mortising and carving.
  • Trim Router: These small and lightweight routers are easy to maneuver and control, making them suitable for light-duty tasks and fine detail work.
  • CNC Router: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) routers are automated machines that follow precise instructions from a computer program. This is useful for intricate woodworking tasks that require high levels of accuracy.
  • Laminate Trimmer: These compact and lightweight routers are specialized for trimming laminates such as plastic or veneer.
  • D-Handle Router: This type of router has a D-shaped handle that provides better control and maneuverability, particularly for tasks that require freehand routing. 
  • Multi-Base Router Kit: Some wood routers come with interchangeable bases, allowing users to switch between fixed-base and plunge configurations.

Types of Router Bits

Routers use different bits to achieve a variety of cuts and designs. Some common types of router bits include:

  • Straight Bits: Used for creating straight cuts, dadoes, and grooves.
  • Roundover Bits: Used to round the edges of a workpiece.
  • Cove Bits: Create concave curves or grooves.
  • Flush Trim Bits: Ideal for making one workpiece match the shape of another.
  • Dovetail Bits: Suitable for making dovetail joints, which are common in drawers and boxes.
  • Rabbeting Bits: These can cut rabbets (rebates) or shoulder along the edge of a workpiece.

Handling Safety

Safety is of paramount importance when handling woodworking equipment such as the router. Here are some guidelines to ensure a safe experience for woodworkers:

  • Learn Proper Usage: Learn how to properly use the power tool from more experienced practitioners. Practice first before doing the actual task.
  • Use the Right Router and Bit: Various wood routers and bits work together to perform specific tasks, only use the proper tool for the job.
  • Wear Safety Gear: Protect your eyes, ears, and lungs with goggles, hearing protection, and respirator. 
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes to protect against flying debris.
  • Prevent Kickbacks: Securely clamp the workpiece to prevent kickbacks and other accidents.
  • Adjust Depth Properly: Set the depth of the router bit to the correct level for your task. The bit should not protrude too far beyond the material.
  • Turn Off and Unplug: Always turn off the router and unplug it from the power source when changing bits, or adjusting settings.
  • Router Table Safety: When using a router table, use its fence along with some featherboards to guide the workpiece.
  • Routing Direction: Feed the workpiece against the rotation of the bit (opposite to the rotation’s direction) to minimize kickback.
  • Emergency Stop: Familiarize yourself with emergency stop features on wood routers for quick shut off.
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John Friedenbach

My initial goal, to provide a selection of tools, education and plans to the Beginning to Advance Woodworker has not changed. I continue to search the web to find new products and services. To bring those products and services to your attention.

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