In days of yore, your station would come fully equipped with a colossal range of wooden planes, each with its own method of cutting a joint. The compact electric motor revolutionized the woodworking world by making wood routers a high tech possibility. Their ability to use interchangeable bits transformed woodworkers into multi-task masters who could use a single tool to achieve decorative internal cuts, curved edges and a huge array of profiles on the fly.
When you’ve decided to send your creativity soaring, wood routers are the unprecedented apex tool. Enthusiasts have penned entire books about the humble woodworking router, but your decision needn’t be quite that complex. Answering a few simple questions should send you on a shorter journey towards your ultimate router.
1) How Many are Too Many?
Veteran woodworkers aren’t satisfied with fewer than nine wood routers to satisfy every groove cutting and joining need. If your goals are slightly less amateur, a combo kit will satisfy your requirements. These high achievers are equipped with two bases to allow for both freehand and table-based work. Amateur enthusiasts might find three separate tools more satisfactory so that delicate, freehand and table-based tasks are controlled by separate machines.
2) Trim, Heavy Duty or In Between?
- a)Trim wood routers are a new-fangled addition to the carpentry family, offering compact countertop trimming for a range of tasks. These agile machines are light, versatile and compact, allowing you to turn tight corners and whiz along narrow parts singlehandedly.
- b)Plunge wood routers are amped with three horsepower and can tolerate great mortises at variable speeds. They whiz through dadoes at a grand pace and handle rabbet with ease.
- c)Mid-sized plunge routers are primed for finer, less frequent work. Their two horsepower and relative weightlessness let you perform nimbly and comfortably. They pack enough punch to handle all but the most intimidating tasks without busting your budget.
3. How Deep is Your Plunge?
Your router will be more versatile with a variety of plunge bases with various depth capacities. Traditional plunge bases can handle four-tiered stops. Plunge routers are a necessity for those handling blind dadoes and deep grooves. Fixed based wood routers give you increased steadiness in exchange for reduced versatility and depth, but if you are ambitious enough to cut mortises, keyhole slots, and recessed letters, a plunge router is the tool for you.
4. Choose your Bits
Without bits, your router will do nothing more than kick up a deafening commotion. You will need to begin a collection that can stand up to a variety of cuts. Straight, rabbet, spiral-up and chamfer bits all have their favorite tasks. With the addition of cove, ogee, quarter round and vertical panel bits, there is no limit to the profiles and depths you can achieve. Your choice of a router will determine the bit sizes it accommodates. Miniature wood routers are the least adaptive, whereas half inch routers can handle both half and quarter inch bits.
5. Haste or Speed?
Electronic variable speed is a just-out-of-the-box feature that lets you adjust your router bit speed to balance safety with pace. High-speed projects using small bits don’t present major hazards to your health, but larger projects need the added security of adjustable power.
The best palm router for your needs will handle both your short and long-term goals efficiently. Advanced features such as electronic feedback will heighten your versatility, but also push up your price. Router reviews keep you informed about the added extras that will satisfy your routing needs best.