Router Woodworking

Figure 2: A great experiment, the 442 B&D. This 6.6 amp, 7-pound gem made it to the early seventies and still runs well today. A 1/4" tool with a skimpy 3/8" collet option, a cast fan, and more than 2" of vertical travel. The collet nut passes beyond the base plate. Though rack and pinion, I was able to mortice, tenon, table rout, trim and template rout just about everything.

This informational CD-ROM is about routers and routing. Of the 41 links at my website the great-routers link is the most frequently visited. More questions are asked about the tool itself than how to use it. The substance of this work is the 30 or so most popular routers in North America. I have most of them and use them regularly. The information and appraisals of the routers herein are based primarily on my direct experience and secondarily from the consultation with manufacturers, data gathered from Internet discussion groups, e-mails, periodicals, salesmen, product engineers and users.

There are probably 60 to 70 models of trimmers, plungers and fixed base routers on sale at any one time. Eliminating those near duplicates, for example those with single speed and dee-handles, reduces the number of basic units to around 40. Department store routers, all but one trimmer, routers not available in the US, and a few poor sellers have been omitted from my studies. The new Dewalt tools are not yet available (7/30/02) nor is the 8529, the PC 7529 plunge replacement.

In my view, there are many great tools at great prices but the perfect router does not yet exist. The number one complaint, depth adjustment, has yet to be resolved. Many experiments with methods of depth control and target (final depth) are being tried but none of them compare well to machine tool precision, repeatability, or facility. Plunge tools are best at target depth. The fixed base tools are satisfactory at continuous adjustability but they are sloppy, fussy, present with backlash, and calibration cuts are still essential. The hot sales of router lifts supports my argument.

Ergonomics, component location and function, weight, material selection, electronics, motor locks, collets that don't slip, and durability are all within practical limits. Router balance and control on the edge of stock or templet, facility with depth adjustment, and a router table router are still areas of neglect. Notwithstanding, do expect to find good plungers, a great little trimmer and lots of choices to meet your power and fixed base router needs in my directory or Great Routers.

Moreover, anticipate some interesting stories on templates, drilling, collets, variable speed, routing aluminum, a 50-cent router table fence, and a few other topics. The CD has been a year in the making, contains all new unpublished material and you can only blame me for its content. I am responsible for the copy, the photography, and design of the product. The "editors" have been kept off the premises.

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Copyright © 2009 Pat Warner
Last modified: Mon Sep 12 09:36:35 PDT 2005