How to Choose the Perfect Router for Your Woodworking Projects

There are many tools that are needed to craft fine wooden projects, but none as underutilized as the router. Routers have really evolved over the years from its bulky cousin the shaper. router table run down Many factors come into play when choosing the correct router for your woodworking projects. With these tips you will gain a better understanding of what each router has to offer and which will be best suited for the wood projects you have in mind.

One of the first things you should look at when considering a router is the location of the on/off switch. It should be placed so that you can reach it without letting go of the handles. Other standard features to look for are a base with a clear view to the bit so you can see where you are routing, a speed control so you can use various sizes of bits and, finally, a dust collection port. These items aren’t mandatory but they will make your woodworking projects easier. If you have already purchased a router, don’t worry. You may not have to buy a new one because you can add these features to most routers with some accessories. You can purchase a clear universal base that you can attach to most routers with some simple layouts to align them to your router.

Speed controls are important if you would like to use large bits such as raised panel bits. These bits require slower rpm’s because of their size. You can add an external speed control to your router to adjust the speeds as needed allowing you to use these larger bits on your wood projects.

One last feature that you should look at before considering a specific router is the collet that holds the bit to the router motor. The most versatile routers can accept a 1/4″ and 1/2″ collet so you can use a wide variety of bits. The collet should also have multiple segments. If the collet only has two or three segments there is the possibility the bit will slip, however if there are multiple segments there will be many contact points on the bit and the bit won’t slip. Be careful when loading the bits because many people make the error of over tightening the bits and this can cause unnecessary wear on the collet.

Along with the variety of features to choose from, there are also various styles of routers to choose from: fixed base, plunge router, laminate trimmer, and miniature router. For most of the common woodworking functions, you will do well with a fixed base or a plunge router. There are even routers available with interchangeable bases so you don’t have to choose, you can just switch between fixed base and plunge base.

After you have chosen the style that you would like you should also consider other projects you will be attempting so you have an idea of other accessories you will need. It is a good idea to consider a router table which allows you to mount the router upside down and feed your stock over the bit instead of holding the router and running the bit over your stock. If you can’t find a table that fits the router you have chosen, you can always make your own table which is sometimes a much better choice because you can customize it to your specific needs.

If you keep these features and needs in mind when choosing a router I am sure you will get a tool that you are not only very pleased with but that will also last for years of your carpentry needs. Just remember, when comparing costs, if you spend a little more on the perfect router you can quite possibly eliminate the need for a different style of router later. Good luck in your search for your perfect router. With a little a little patience and these tips in mind I know you will find it.

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