Most professional wood shops have a habit of buying several routers. Like ten or more. My shop is no exception. We have at least ten, and are still tempted at times by the latest models. (like the new Festool router, which will work with their track system). They range in power from 1 H.P. to 3 1/2 H.P. Each one excels at a particular job, and that's how we determine it's use, and also which type of router bit that will be used in it.
If you're a woodworker, you've probably considered buying a router, or perhaps you already have a basic model which may no longer suit your needs. With the wide variety available, it can be confusing to make a choice, and there's no single model that's perfect for every job. So, most professional woodworkers (and even serious amateurs) usually decide to buy more than one router.
Which Router Should I Buy?
Just on the face of it you know that this can't possibly be true. Gird your loins and just resign yourself to the fact that you will ultimately own several routers. You will have a 1-2 hp plunger for hand held plunge use, a 1-2 hp fixed base for general use, and you'll have a Big Boy for the table. Call these the Big Three, and don't think that's all, but that would be a lot.
Introduction to Woodworking with a Router
Routers have become one of the most used tools in a workshop, possibly even more popular than a table saw. A well equipped shop will have both a plunge base and a fixed base router, it is now possible to get a combination kit where one machine has both bases.
About Hand Routers
Depending on the wood detailing that you're doing, you have the option of using hand routers or a more conventional router that is table mounted for your wood work. Routers allow you to make finished edges and design shapes in your wood working projects. Routers are also useful if you need to cut any holes or do any contouring.
Types of Wood Routers
Wood routers are categorized by the way the base is attached to the motor. You can use both plunge and fixed-base routers in either of two modes: hand-held or mounted in a router table. This is more or less like the difference between using a circular saw and a table saw, or a Jig Saw versus a Scroll Saw. In one mode, you hold the wood steady while moving the tool; in the other, you hold the tool steady while moving the wood.
All About Router Bits an Introduction
Routers are one of the most versatile tools in the wood shop. Armed with a good quality stationary or hand-held router and the proper assortment of bits, you can perform a virtually unlimited variety of specialized woodworking operations. To perform this woodworking with the router, you will need a variety of different shaped bits. More about these shapes later...but first, let's look at some bit basics.
Working with a Wood Router
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