Routers are effective for beading, grooving, routing, fluting, etc., and enable the operator to accomplish inlay work, decorative edges and many types of carving and wood finishing which take hours by hand.

The two main types of routers are fixed-based routers and plunge routers. For fixed-based routers, the motor raises and lowers with a rack and pinion or rotating motor in its base. Its bit protrudes at depth set. Plunge routers have a motor mounted on posts, which can be retracted from and lowered into the workpiece. Do-it-yourselfers may find plunge routers easier to use in many applications.

The high speed of the router provides a smooth ready-to-finish cut that requires minimal touchup sanding.

Quality machines have all ball-bearing construction, accurate depth adjustment and a 1/2-hp to 3-hp motor. Models for light or standard duty usually use a 1/3- to 1/2-hp power source; for heavy or commercial duty æ hp and up. A router will run at about 28,000 rpm and there are several dozen bits available to do decorative edging, rabbeting, dadoing, dovetailing, laminate trimming, door hanging, lock mortising, stair routing, planing and shaping.

The router has a power switch enabling the user to control power easily with minimal effort. It also has both straight and circular guides for accuracy.

The router cuts and shapes. The most commonly used router bits are one-piece, although there are multi-piece router bits. The routers that do-it-yourselfers buy usually use a 1/4″ shank.

Bits are available in heat-treated, high-speed steel, solid carbide or carbide-tipped steel. Carbide increases the cost, but also extends the life of the blade when used in comparable conditions.

Carbide is also useful for cutting harder composite materials. It is a brittle material and requires care in handling.

Although bits are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, they fall into three general categories: grooving bits, edging bits and specialty bits.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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