Routers are either hand tools using only your muscles and the blade to complete the task or power tools. Read on to learn more about using router in woodworking.
If you’re new to woodworking, but still have a few projects under your belt, you probably found that your power saw is too difficult to use on every type of task. When you’re making fancy edges or simply hollowing out an area, you’ll have far more luck using a router. Routers are either hand tools using only your muscles and the blade to complete the task or power tools. Within both categories, there are a number of different types. Two of the more popular types are plunger and fixed base routers.
Deciding which type of router to use for a specific task is just the start. You also need to select the right router bit for the job too. Bits do the cutting. They have specific shapes with cutting edges designed especially for each type of final finish. For instance, if you want a flat side, you’d use a flush-cutting bit. However, if that side needs to be at a slight angle, you might opt for a bevel-trimming bit or a chamfer bit. Fancy edging might use a Roman ogee bit or a double-piloted full bead bit. As you can tell, the router has a multitude of purposes and the ability to help you create professional looking projects.
You can divide bits into three different categories. The divisions are by their function. Edge former bits make the fancy edges on wood such as in decorative molding. Grooving bits create slots for joining, such as dovetail bits. Router table bits are generally larger than other types of bits and have a multitude of purposes, such as the coping bit for joining or the traditional molding bit to create decorative molding. All bits are expensive and require the owner to clean them after use to remove dust and dirt to extend their life. Keeping the bits sharp is also important to maximize the performance and produce quality work.
The two most commonly used routers are fixed-base and plunge routers. You lock in the bit depth in a fixed-based and it remains the same throughout your task. On a plunge router, you plunge the bit in and out. Most people use the fixed base for edge work, pattern work and work on a router table. They use the plunger for work that requires multiple depths and inside work.
Once you know the type of bit to use, the proper type of router to use, how to set the depth and other pre-routing tasks, you still have one more important lesson before you begin, learning the correct method of guiding the router. If you want to avoid kickback, most of the time, you’ll move the router against the direction of the bit’s rotation. If you’re facing the edge of the work, the direction is normally from left to right. You also have to learn how to keep the movement steady. Buying a router and bits, then using them, isn’t necessarily easy or cheap but once you master the machine, you’ll produce more professional looking projects.
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