A Beginner's Guide to Woodworking Routers

If you're entering into the woodworking realm, then one of the tools you will be discovering and using is a router. While there is a woodworking hand tool known as a router plane, today, we're discussing a power tool, the woodworking router. There are a few types to choose from, so this article will give you some information to help you start building!

What Is a Woodworking Router?

A router is one of the most versatile power tools that a woodworker uses. In essence, a woodworking router is a motor that spins a shaft designed to hold different cutting bits to match a particular woodworking action. Routers can shape wood, create joinery to hold a project together, prepare wood surfaces, and add decorative accents to woodworking projects.

While the first powered routers were built in the early 1900s, their use became more routine in the 1960s. The tool's design continues to change, but the function is very much the same.

Types of Routers

Two common router designs relate more to the base that supports the actual motor and cutting bit. They are a fixed base router or a plunge base router. With the fixed-base router, the motor's location or height in the base is set to a desired depth of cut for the router bit before router use. A plunge-base router allows for the height adjustment (and the cutting depth of the bit) to change during the cutting operation. The base enables the motor to move up-and-down in the base with controlled motions to create cuts in a wood piece. A plunge capability is an excellent feature for many operations, including grooves, dadoes for joinery, and recesses for inlay and veneer work.

You can likely think of practical applications for both styles of woodworking router, and you're not wrong, and that's why some manufacturers make router kits that include a single router motor that is interchangeable between fixed and plunge bases. These kits are a great option.

And within each base configuration, you can purchase routers of differing sizes and power. Smaller routers, often referred to as trim routers, can be used easily in one hand and are somewhat limited in the amount of material they can remove in a single pass. Larger routers require two hands during use, and rather than using freehand; they often are mounted to a table.

How to Choose Wood Routing Tools

There are a few considerations to think about when choosing a woodworking router:

  • What types of projects do you primarily intend to create? Your project will determine the size and base requirements for your router.
  • How much use will the router see? If frequent use is likely, a router designed for more commercial use will give better lifetime performance.
  • Will you be able to use a motor with multiple bases, or will it make more sense to buy more than one router for dedicated uses?
  • Are you likely to use your router in a router table or freehand? Size and function will determine this decision.

Thinking Beyond the Basic Router

As mentioned earlier, a woodworking router by itself is primarily a motor with an attached router bit. To get useful work done, you'll likely need to purchase or build a range of accessories, including a router table and a slew of jigs for dovetails, box joints, mortises, tenons, profiles, etc. That could have you moving all around your shop with disparate setups for each step of a project.

The Router Boss is a new tool that works with a wood router and eliminates the need for most of those accessories and disparate setups. You'll save space in your shop, money, and time with a single tool that can perform multiple wood routing operations. Like a three-axis milling machine, Router Boss manages both the router and the wood to cut in any direction smoothly and with minimal effort. There's no need for cookie-cutter jigs or hardware templates with their inherent limitations.

Safety is also a reasonable concern in woodworking, and the Router Boss tool answers that concern. Your lungs will appreciate the built-in dust collection both in front and behind the router bit. And unlike on a router table, you can safely cut in either direction without fear of the bit grabbing the wood and pulling your hand toward the cutter.

There are multiple Router Boss models for a variety of precision applications. You can select either the Model 360, 420, or 470 (with varying work holding and clamping capacity). There are also digital options that are compatible with web-based design tools.

The Router Boss woodworking machine is 100% right-side-up, giving the user full access to the router controls. It also is easy to watch the cuts in your workpiece to ensure accuracy and efficiency. The mechanisms that guide the Router Boss allow for effortless angled cuts, repeated movements, safe wood transport, easy mortising, and more.

You can also layout dovetail and box joint designs on your computer that you print for use on the machine. The computer-based designs, coupled with a digital location display and micro-adjustment options, allow you to execute the designs accurately and efficiently while avoiding the limitations and restrictions of the cookie-cutter templates of typical router jigs. 

Get Started

Now that you know about wood routing tools and why the Router Boss is a clear choice, it's time to get started. Contact us with any lingering questions that you may have on woodworking routers and their applications. The Router Boss team at ChipsFly.com is happy to discuss your individual needs and point you to the right Router Boss to suit your specific applications.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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