A router is an essential tool in any workshop.  A router just makes the job easier and the final project that much nicer.  Routers were first introduced in the early 20th century and are designed to rout or cut grooves, hollow out areas or create shapes on the edge of wood.  As you can see by the above picture, the motor is on top and drives a bit on the base of the router. 

Router Types

Fixed Base Router – A fixed router stays in one place or on a single plane

Plunge Router – A plunge router moves up and down.  Based on a spring system the router can be moved up and down without taking the router off the piece your working with.

Size and Weight

If you are looking for a simple router for crafts, you can buy a router that has 1 horsepower or less.  If your looking to work with wood, I would buy a router that has at least 1 3/4 horsepower. Some routers accept 1/4 shank bit sizes while others accept 1/2.  Try to find a router that accepts both sizes.  Some routers have metal casing while other have plastic.  Plastic is lighter, but if you are going to put a beating on your tools or even use them often, metal is not that much heavier.

Handles

Some routers have D handles while other have round knobs.  Personally, I like the round knobs because it doesn’t seem like you are limited on you holding with the knobs.  The D handles you can only hold a certain way.

Router Bits

Router bits are what does the actual cutting.  I devoted a whole section to the bits.  Router Bits

Buying A Router

  • Look for one with at least 1 horse power, I would go with at least 1 3/4 if possible.
  • Look for a model that has a convenient on/off switch that is easy to access and covered by plastic to prevent wood getting stuck on the switch.
  • Buy a router that accepts 1/4 and 1/2 inch bits sizes
  • Look for a router with an easy to adjust depth and a micro fine depth adjuster.

Using A Router

  • Always make sure the bit is tight in the router and the bit is sharp
  • Clamp your work tightly
  • Feed the router from the left side to the right side so the cutting edge meets the wood first.
  • Don’t push the router, let the router do the work.
  • Watch for knots and nails.