One of the amazing things about working with wood is that there are so many tools available. Every single time you shop online or walk into a hardware store, you want to get the next tool.
And while this is exciting on the one hand, it can become very overwhelming on the other hand. You may question what tools you need and what tools you can do without.
If you speak to any professional woodworker, they will tell you that woodworking routers one of those tools that you cannot do without. They are essential if you are going to take of those amazing ideas in your head and bring them to life.
Do I Really Need a Wood Router?
Yes. Every single woodworker will benefit from having routers for woodworking in their arsenal. Without a wood router, relatively simple tasks become complicated. The only woodworker who would not want to seriously consider purchasing a router might to be a framer.
Without a router, you will have to use a mallet and a chisel to make certain cuts. And that just leaves you with work that looks sloppy, that is not precise, and that will not fit together well. If you try to work without a router and you compare your work to someone who has a router, you will immediately see the difference.
Individuals who work on cabinets will especially benefit from having a wood router. Just think of all the things you have to do as you build a cabinet. First, you construct the cabinets. Then you cut the wood for the frames. Next, you are doing the paneling, creating a decoration for the front of the cabinets, and cutting other materials to make a perfect fit. All of these steps are made so much easier with a Porter cable trim router.
What about joinery? A lot of people get into carpentry because they want to learn about things like dovetails. And it is true, dovetailing was done for centuries without a router. However, a router can make a lot of the tasks involved in dovetailing wood easy. It minimizes broken pieces and wasted material.
At the end of the day, you cannot achieve the same level of precision and speed without a wood router.
Whether you are doing something that is intricate, like putting together an instrument, or doing something that is more construction, like making uniquely designed door panels, having a wood router is a must.
In this day and age, working on wood without a router could be compared to an accountant doing his or her work without a calculator or a computer. It is just that basic of a tool.
Finding the Right Router
Of course, not all routers are created equal. There are so many options available, so picking a router in and of itself can become overwhelming. The trick is not allowing yourself to get caught up in the details. What you want to do is look for the best routers for the money.
Some routers offer different features that most people will not need. What you want to focus on is the size of the router, the power of the motor, whether it has a slow start feature, how many RPM’s it has, and if it allows you to vary the speed.
The last feature, variable speed, is exceptionally important. If you purchase a router that only has one speed option, then you are not going to be able to use it on certain types of wood. If the RPM’s on your router are too fast, you might actually burn your wood. Or if the RPM’s are too slow, the job is going to take a lot longer, and you’re going to end up with a less than stellar product.
What Brand Should I Trust?
There are a lot of brands of routers on the market. When it comes to a router, you usually do not want to go with a generic brand. You want to focus on brands that have name recognition and a good reputation.
So what are the best router brands? For the money we say Bosch and DeWalt.
DeWalt is known for making devices that are good for construction and do-it-yourself use. While not as powerful as Bosch, their products usually have some amazing features.
Bosch, on the other hand, produces a very powerful tool. They often have unique grips, which can be a little bit difficult to get used to. However, if you are looking for a high quality and powerful tool, then this is the way to go.
Should I Purchase a Router Table?
Getting a router table is a personal decision. A lot of it has to do with the type of work you are going to do. If you want to do a lot of heavy work, or if you think you are going to be doing a lot of precision work, then a router table is a good option.
A router table provides precision because it allows you to do some very precise cuts while at the same time using a fence. You simply move the fence to where you need it to be, turn on your router, and push the wood through it. Once you have your router in the right position, and once you have the fence in the right position, you are going to have some impressive results.
When you go to a hardware store and you look at a router table, it’s likely that you are going to say to yourself: “I can make one of these on my own.” And the truth is that you probably can. However, the risks to yourself and to your projects are great.Remember, a router is a very powerful tool, especially if you’re dealing with a larger one that has a 3.25 hp motor. If your table is not well designed and it wobbles or becomes unstable, it could lead to you coming into contact with the router. The result of this momentary contact could leave you with permanent injuries.
If you are serious about working with wood, investing in a router table is something you will not regret.
Working with wood is a joy. It allows you to create functional and artistic pieces. Adding a router and possibly a router table to your arsenal are decisions that you will not regret. Once you have one or two of these essential tools, you’re going to find yourself enjoying your woodworking a lot more, and you will produce better results.