An Overview of Woodworking Routers and Router Bits

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Professional and amateur woodworkers alike should be familiar with routing. This process involves using a woodworking router to “rout out”, or hollow out, wood surfaces for decorative or functional purposes. Staircase designers and furniture makers often use routers to shape and create intricate patterns on wood surfaces.
The Different Types of Routers
Electric routers are popular now, but routers began as humble hand tools. The original tool, called “Old Woman’s Tooth”, consisted of a broad wooden base with a slim blade attached to it. This tool is so useful that some woodworkers still use it even after the development of spindle routers and electric routers. Today’s woodworking routers may be classified according to their base and handling types.
Routers may be plunge-based or fixed-based. The main difference between these two types becomes obvious when you set them up for routing. With a plunge-base router, you place the unit’s base plate onto the wooden surface, with the router bit raised slightly above it. It’s only when you turn the motor on that it lowers onto the surface. A fixed-base router works almost the same way, only the bit is in contact with the surface even before the cutting starts. Plunge-base routers are better for more refined, intricate work.
Routers are also classified as table-mounted or handheld routers. Table-mounted routers offer more stability than handheld ones, which rely heavily on the users’ ability to manoeuvre them and keep them steady. Table-mounted routers are ideal for more intricate projects involving smaller pieces of wood. They’re also safer for beginner or amateur woodworkers to use.
Router Bits
You should familiarize yourself with router bits regardless of what kind of router you intend to use for your DIY project. These are the components that do the actual trimming or shaping. These make use of blades made from carbide or high-speed steel, which you can attach, remove, and replace. They come in different shapes and sizes to produce different effects and patterns.
Router bits are usually classified according to the diameter of their shank. Common diameters include 6mm, A� in, 8 mm, 3/8 in, 10mm, 12mm, and A� in. Half-inch bits are usually more expensive, but are less prone to vibration or breaking. This makes them more durable and smoother to handle than other bit types.
Not all routers may accommodate every bit size. If you think you need to use multiple bit types, look for routers with removable collets. Collets are holding devices that keep your routers in place. You need specific collets for different bit sizes.
Don’t worry if you can’t find a router that perfectly fits your specifications. Some companies selling bits online also craft custom bits for almost any type of project. This is particularly useful if no other bits suit your project’s unique design, or if you’re working on a delicate project like furniture restoration.
Before buying your router and router bits, make sure you know exactly what you need and how to use them. Consult professional carpenters or woodworkers about your DIY project if you feel confused. Don’t forget to buy protective gear like gloves, earplugs, and safety glasses. If you work in a closed space or a makeshift workshop, look for routers that come with a built-in vacuum to avoid getting sawdust all over the place or in your nose.

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Have you ever:
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