Router Style Selection

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Router Style Selection

With so many routers available, sometimes it’s difficult to select the one that’s right for you. By reviewing a few key base styles, our hope is to provide the information needed to make your decision a little easier. We believe the selection process should be application based, so the first thing you’ll have to ask yourself is: what do I want to do with my router?

Base Styles

In many ways, the style of base that is selected is just as important as the size of motor that goes along with it. With several styles available, selecting the one that’s right for you will depend on the projects or operations you plan on undertaking.   

Fixed Base

This is the standard base. These bases typically come with fixed handles or knobs on opposite sides of the base for holding and guiding the router.  While these bases can be mounted to a router table, they are limited to edge routing applications. This style base is also ideal for operations that utilize guide bushings, like dovetail and box joint jigs.  This style base often incorporates a quick setting ring-style depth adjustment.

 

Plunge Base

This style base is much more versatile in that it can be used for everything that a fixed base can be used for, plus operations that require the bit be plunged into the wood away from an edge. These bases are ideal for operations like blind grooves, fluting, dado cuts and mortising operations.  The mechanics of this style base are that the motor will move up and down on machined spring loaded columns. A plunge base traditionally offers multiple depth stop settings with micro-adjustments that can be fine-tuned to your exact specifications. 

 


D-Handle Base

Instead of two knobs, as on the standard base, there’s a knob and a D-shaped handle that provides pistol-grip control and a locking on/off trigger power switch

Special Note:

If you anticipate the need for utilizing multiple bases, keep in mind that most manufacturers offer Combination Kits that incorporate a fixed base and a plunge base in one prepackaged kit. This is a great option because you are essentially getting two routers at price that is much less than buying two separate routers.   

As you are reviewing your options, one more thing to keep in mind is the compatibility of aftermarket accessories that are available for the router you are looking at. While most manufacturers will offer basic accessories like edge guides, router bushings, dust collection attachments and universal subbases, advanced accessories like router lifts, router plates and template guides are widely available but are brand/model specific.

 

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