A router is a valuable tool that woodworkers use to create intricate designs, make joints, cut out grooves, shape wood edges, and make internal cuts in solid hardwood or plastic.
When it comes to buying woodworking power equipment such as wood routers, the decision to buy one might be difficult because the market is flooded with many types of wood routers, each with its own set of advantages. We’ll go through the many types of wood routers and their functions in this article so you can find the best router for woodwork that suits your needs. It’s not difficult to understand the various varieties; just make sure to hang with us until the end!
What are the Different Types of Wood Routers?
Routers are classified into different categories based on their functions, designs, and characteristics. The plunge router and the fixed-based type router are the two most common forms of wood routers. Combination router kits, heavily loaded, medium-duty, and light-duty cutters are among the others.
There’s also a CNC router, which is a specialized wood router. Each of the aforementioned sorts of wood routers has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, with each ensuring perfection in a certain application. Let’s look at each type and see what differentiates it from the others so you can figure out which router is best for you.
When it comes to consumer-grade hand tools, fixed-base wood routers are one of the most popular and capable. Fixed-base routers have a simple design with the head and base connected, making them excellent for new carpenters. This sort of router, generally, sits in a set location on a router table or desk. If you’re working on projects that require precise straight line accuracy, a fixed-based router is without a question the finest option available.
When using a fixed-base router, begin by specifying the correct cut depth before proceeding. All through the engagement, the depth should be consistent. To reduce movement, the wood to be sliced is usually secured tightly to a worktop. As a result, you simply cannot work outside of components straight from the top; you can only commence from the borders. Despite the fact that the router has a fixed base, it is nevertheless adjustable. The thickness of the bit can be adjusted by loosening the collar and fine-tuning the control buttons.
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A fixed wood router’s characteristics typically include a 1 to 3.5 hp engine and a router with 1/2-inch collet. The DeWalt DW616 is an illustration of a fixed-base router. It has a flat metal base, a strong motor, a set of comfortable handles, and a controllable depth that lets you vary the bit’s length from the base.
- Handles are located down the router’s body
- Mild and easy to take
- Has the ability to make precise cuts
- Has a reasonable price range
- Router bits cannot cut outside of materials
- Most jigs and patterns are incompatible
All in all, most home tasks can be completed using fixed base routers. It is lighter and more manageable than the others in terms of weight. Additionally, this is among the most effective edge sharpeners, which is a benefit for individuals who are new to woodworking.
When it relates to routing, plunge routers are a huge upgrade. This is due to the fact that they can execute significantly more tasks than their fixed-base version. Generally, we recommend that this machine be used by experts or those who are well-versed in the field of woodwork.
This tool is capable of performing hefty duties while also being able to hold a significant amount of weight. A set of smooth steel bars connect a plunge router to the bottom, enabling it to slide up or down. This action involves placing the tool over a chosen location and gradually decrease it to bore a hole or depression, or carve a groove.
Plunge routers can also make a number of complex cabinetry cuts, allowing you to create the ideal dovetail, groove, dowel rod, or mortise. With a plunge router, you can even engrave on materials within the nick of time. Plunge routers use the same essential elements as their fixed competitors in terms of standards. When it relates to their motor power, this is undeniably true. Plunge routers, on the other hand, differ significantly in terms of depth of cut, which is totally customizable on a plunge machine.
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Even while operating, you may modify the depth of your plunge router by releasing the lock mechanism and shifting the base in the intended way. The base of a plunge-base router is positioned on the object with the bit immediately above it when using it. The bit is then dropped onto the object after the motor has been switched on. The biggest benefit of using a plunge router is that it allows the woodworker to slice the product at any location. When opposed to fixed-base routers, this device is more expensive due to its adaptability.
To make cutouts, use a plunge router and a suitable boring or slicing bit. A decent model, such as the Wen RT6033, will have speed control, allowing you to run it at a reduced speed when you really need more authority.
- Can change the cut depth in variety of ways
- More secure than routers with a fixed base
- Flexible, stiff, and adaptable
- Bit heavier than fixed base routers
This is an excellent choice for experienced and serious DIYers. You can complete any activity in a flash just by possessing it, but keep in mind that you must learn how to use it properly in order to avoid disaster.
A combination wood router combines the advantages of both fixed-base and plunge routers. As a consequence, you can rely on a combo wood router to execute the functions of both a fixed and plunging router without having to make room in your workplace for both.
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To change it, you must first take the engine from one and gently install it on the other. It will be a simple task to expand your technical capabilities because it comes with both a plunge and a fixed foundation. If you’re already familiar with replacement processes, combo router kits are unquestionably the finest choice!
The combined router kits are designed to simply switch, but you’ll have to delve a little farther into your wallet to get one. While customers won’t have to buy two routers, switching bases can stifle productivity. A combo wood router, of course, charges more than that for a fixed or plunge router separately. However, it is still less expensive than both, so you are basically getting a discount. Many regular router add-ons will work with these machines as well, so you won’t have to buy any new parts when updating to a combo router.
- Two in one
- Versatile and adaptable
- It’s relatively simple to use
- Method of replacement is a problem
The Bosch 1617EVSPK is a well-reviewed router in its category. A multifunctional combo router can be used for a variety of tasks. Trimming and contouring edges, producing dovetails, drilling holes, creating grooves, and sculpting shapes are all examples of this.
A compact router, often called as a palm router, is a tiny version of a fixed-base router such as the Makita RTO701-C. It isn’t inherently less strong, but it is more convenient to use because of its compact size. Because of their smaller size and weight, they can be easily controlled, making them excellent for executing intricate or precise routing tasks, such as those required for cabinetry.
When it relates to using a tiny router, there are a few sacrifices to be made. These machines, as you might assume, are often deficient in terms of base horsepower. Based on the manufacturer and type, they may also have a variable sized collet. When you compare the entire portability of a tiny wood router, almost all of these compromises are worthwhile.
The CNC router is a specific type of router that we operate with the help of a computer program. This sort of router is mainly exclusively found in industries. The CNC router has the advantage of being able to forecast extremely accurate result in microns. Once the software is set up, you can mass-produce any number of identical machine parts. As a result, a CNC router is an important aspect of any process that requires precise parts in large quantities.
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Some Other Wood Router Types
Apart from above mentioned categories, we have now types of routers with respect to their performances.
Heavy Duty Routers
Among the different types of routers woodworking, we also have heavy, medium and light duty routers. The largest, strongest, and most capable hand cutters are heavy-duty routers. The collet size on these routers is usually the largest. By huge, we mean they can carry router cutters that are over 1 1/2 inches long. This sort of router is categorized as a tool for professional use. You may put them to a lot of use for a long time.
Medium Duty Routers
Medium-Duty Routers are lightweight and ideal for moderate tasks. Medium-duty routers could also be used for routine tasks with ease. However, you will encounter some limits, such as the inability to cover positions with higher requirements. The collet dimensions would be limited to 1/2 inches.
Light Duty Routers
Light duty routers are generally semi-professional devices, but the above two kinds are commonly classified as professional routers. You can get the most out of a light-duty router as an enthusiast. We only utilize this kind of router on rare occasions, and the work period may be brief. A light-duty router may usually accommodate small chunks because it is the shortest router size. The maximum collet size is 1/4 inches, however some versions have collets as large as 1/2 inches.
What is a plunge router used for?
The plunge router is a tool that should be in every workshop. Plunge routers are better and easier to use for tasks such as mortising, stopping dados, and inlaid pattern working.
What is a router used for in woodworking?
Routers could be used to carve designs, grooves, and motifs into a variety of wood types. If you have a damaged table or other plank of wood, for example, you may use the cutter to retrace the pattern of the actual piece and reproduce this as many times as you want.
What type of router is best for woodworking?
Among the types of routers woodworking a plunge router is the best for woodworking as per our experience. Plunge routers have been in use for some time now. When it refers to complicated jigs for producing joints, a plunge router is a must-have.
Wrapping Up Wood Routers Types
We believe that after going through this article, you have a better understanding of the various kinds of woodworking routers offered. As you may have noticed, the router is a highly versatile and essential tool in any furniture shop.
Fixed-based routers are the only option for a beginning. Professionals on the other side, should use a plunge router. Moreover, if your budget allows, you can purchase a combo router. So now it’s up to you to decide which one you’re going to buy!
Remember to get accessories that are suitable with your desired router as you begin to assess your options. Although some sophisticated attachments are brand-specific, there are certain universal attachments available from many makers. Make certain to get a router that is appropriate for your needs.
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I’m Thomas Steven with more than 12 years of experience in woodworking. I did my woodworking degree from University of Cincinnati. It has always been my passion to become a successful woodworker. I have completed hundreds of successful projects in Florida, Miami. I write about woodworking by being an associate with Amazon and I earn a little commission from every qualifying purchase.