A hand held router is one of the most useful tools in woodworking. They can be used to make all kinds of edges, create rock solid joints, add decorative details, and much more.
They come in all sorts of sizes from trim routers to two-handed plunge models that can do it all. They also come with different collet systems (see below) and variable speeds.
A hand held router typically has a small motor which spins at a low speed. The motor may be powered by electricity or by battery, and the resulting power can be applied to the bit for cutting. Some of the more sophisticated models have a variable speed dial allowing you to adjust the power output for a given task or project.
A good handheld router will feature a fixed base as well as an optional tilting one, which can be cleverly placed on or off the table for different projects or purposes. The best one will also have a few other stipulations, such as a ball joint cord swivel for easier movement from one base to the next, and a robust spindle lock that allows for easy bit changes using two wrenches. A hand held router may also feature a multi-hole collet for attaching a variety of bits and accessories. The best handheld router will also include a handy carrying case and safety glasses for the less experienced user.
The collet system of a hand held router holds variously shaped, small diameter cutting tools that are spun at high speeds. It also provides a secure grip for these tools to help steady the workpiece during the cut.
A good quality collet needs to provide a large surface area of contact with the cutter shank for maximum support. This ensures that the router bit is held in true alignment to the tool-spindle axis and avoids ‘creep’, where the cutter gradually moves in the collet during use.
There are a number of types of collet systems available. The most common is the one piece screwed collet which fits directly into the motor armature. This has some disadvantages in that it is not very easy to loosen and may damage the motor spindle.
A router edge guide is a crucial piece of woodworking equipment. It holds the router in place and ensures smooth movement of the router over a work surface.
A good guide should be compatible with all types of plunge and fixed base routers. It should also be durable and sturdy.
Besides, it should have an adjustable fence with a fine adjustment knob. It should be able to carve various joints and cuts, including dovetails, rabbets, V-grooves, flute cuts, dadoes, and more.
Some edge guides are equipped with additional thumbscrews, support rods, in-built fine adjustment knobs, and dust collection accessories, like a vacuum duct or adapter. These make routing a safer and more efficient process.
Safety is important with any power tool, and a hand held router is no exception. As with any tool, it is vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and take appropriate personal protection precautions to ensure that your safety remains intact.
A good starting point is to always read the manual carefully and take note of any safety warnings or tips that are included in it. This will make it easier for you to operate the device in a safe manner and avoid accidents or potential injuries.
A hand held router is a powerful tool and can be used for many tasks, including but not limited to: routing straight edges, rabbets and dados, as well as creating decorative moldings and shaping joints. In this video lesson we will explore a few of the many features that this versatile machine has to offer and show you how to use them for the best possible results. Ultimately, you will gain confidence and learn the tools to get the most out of your hand held router.