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Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia

I have spent a life time working with wood now retired and still working with wood finding new methods of using the World's most versatile Woodworking tool The Router

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Buying a new Router

A router is basically, a high-speed motor fitted with a chuck for holding a cutting bit securely in position. The ‘Housing’ surrounding the motor and cutter, support the router and the accessories that can be fitted to it

Making the decision to buy:
Before purchasing a router speak to someone that can advise you on how the router functions, and how the various accessories that are available will increase your routers’ potential.

Reason for the router we have today; (1)
(1) A friend recommended the brand name and model.
(2) There was a ‘Special’ on at the time.
(3) Observed an interesting article in a magazine, that looked easy to make, which required the use of a router.
(4) It was given as a present on retirement, on your Birthday, at Christmas or handed down from family or friend
(5) I was told the large router would be too heavy
(6) I always purchase the same brand of Tool.

When selecting a router some users select the same brand of tools they have been using for years, because of the success they have had with such tools; Jigsaw / power saw / planer etc.

(1) Taken from a number of survey conducted over a period of years.

Details provided are ‘What I look for’ when I wish to purchase a new router. The information supplied may be of some guidance to those contemplating purchasing a router

Plunge Router;
The plunge router will enable the cutter to retract into the body of the router when it is not in use, therefore adding safety to your routing procedures. First preference would be to purchase a router with 1/2” chuck suitable to take 1/2” shank cutters.
The 1/2” Router when used in the plunge mode with the aid of template guides and jigs has maximum support for the weight.

Circular Base:
Select a router with a Circular Base. Circular based routers will provide greater support when routing the edge of the projects. The base of the router can also be used as a template guide. (Some router bases are not circular and have two flat sides with curved ends)

Template Guides. (1)
The router should have the ability of attaching ‘Template Guides’ to the base of the router. . Some guides are screwed in position others are attached by means of a Bayonet fitting. Notch has been filed on the outer edge for easy insertion to the base.

40mm Template Guide:.(2)
It is important, the router should be capable of accepting a wide range of template guides. The 40mm Template Guide illustrated should be readily available for purchase.(3)

(1) Not all routers are designed to take template guides
(2) 40mm guide will accept a greater range of cutters that can be used
(3) Not all routers will take the 40mm guide.

Router Table
The router should be easily adjusted for height when fitted to the router table. If your choice of router is to be placed in the router table exclusively then it is strongly recommended that the Triton Router should be the used for this purpose.(1).

The position of the on/off switch
The switch should be located in a convenient position with easy access when holding the router with the handles/knobs.
Note; Some on/off switches also have a safety button incorporated in the switching on/off mechanism. Special arrangements must be made to hold the switch in the “ON” position when the router is being used in the ‘Below Bench Position’.

Router Base Opening:
The size of the opening on the base is important. Too small will restrict the size of the largest cutter that can be used. Too large will reduce the support to the router especially at the beginning and the end of the router cut. The opening should be large enough to fit a 40mm Template guide to the base. There should also be a clear view of the cutter during the process.

Position of the Locking Lever:
The locking lever should be easily accessible, without having to remove your hand from the handle to lock and unlock the router carriage. This locking action will hold the cutter at a selected depth with the aid of the ‘Turret’. (When the router is used in the ‘plunge mode’ the locking lever is not required to be locked)

(1) Not all routers are suitable for use both in the bench position and in the plunge mode.

Three Way Turret:
The turret stop has been designed to rotate, to allow the operator to control the depth of each cut in stages. Routers with a six way turret are now available to allow the operator to rout each cut in a greater number of stages. If your router has a three way turret as illustrated it is strongly recommended that the two longer screws illustrated in the photograph are reduced in length to leave a difference in height of 3-6mm.

Variable Speed Routers:
Since the introduction of variable speed routers has added greater safety awareness enabling the reduction in speed when large cutters are used, or when other materials are required to be cut such as plastic or aluminium. These routers usually have a ‘Soft’ start and a ‘Braking’ system incorporated.

Dust Extraction:
Consideration may be given to what type of dust extraction system is incorporated in the router. Some routers have a system where the dust is extracted through one of the router columns and others are attached to the base with the aid of two screws. The shape of the base may be altered to accommodate the system through the column.

Happy Hunting I am still looking for the router that has all I require


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