Different Types of Wood Routers for Hobbyists and DIYers

When it comes to box-jointing, cutting edges, shaping woods, or laminate trimming, the name that comes first is woodworking routers. A variety of styles are out there of wood routers. The basic types of wood routers are plunge base, double knob, and D-handled routers.

Depending on the nature of woodworks, it also varies from plunge base, fixed-base, variable speed, soft start, laminate trimming, etc. In this modern age, a computer numeric control system has also been implied for CNC routers.

However, most users use the plunge base routers. Plunge routers have options to lock in place so users can use them as a fixed base router.

Types of Woodworking Routers

There are two basic types of routers out there

  • Fixed-base Router
  • Plunge Router

Besides, there are more types of routers workers use for woodworking. Let’s go through each router type in detail.

Fixed-base Routers

The cutting depth is preset for such routers before they start running. In a fixed position, the router is set on a router table and locked in place so that the wood pieces can move over the bits. The plate is held flat overhanging on the workpiece allowing the bit to rotate in the right direction.

In a fixed-base router, the bit position is the same for all times. You can only set the depth adjustment, and it will give you the same result repeatedly. So, it is ideal for repeat jobs like edge cutting.

As the bit depth is preset and the bit rotates in a fated length, it is essential to use a fence clamping to the workbench so that users can measure the length of each cut.

Reasons for Its Being an Ideal

Control: Users can keep their hands close to the workpiece with stability, so they get more control over it for freehand edge cutting.

Repeat Work: In the fixed-base position, the router bit is fixed. So, more benefits for users for repeat work like edge cutting, making holes, or jig cutting.

Easy Setup: The fixed-base system is easy to set up in an interchangeable base than a plunge router.

An Example

one of the different types of wood routers

Plunge Routers

The plunge-base routers have a plunging option to move bits up and down for the deserving bit depth adjustment. The base is set first on the workpiece allowing the cutter head to lower down on the wood piece. The users use the plunge router for a more polished cut.

It comes with two spring-loaded arms on both sides so that users can down the motor easily to fix the depth on the workpiece. Most modern plunge routers come with variable speed, fine tuner, on/off switches. The switch is near the handles, which is an excellent favor for the users to control. So, you can off or run the motor without removing your hands from the workpiece.

Quality routers mean plunge routers since they have variable speed controls, soft-start option, plunge base, and locking option to lock in place. Most plunge routers have both plunge and fixed bases. You can use them for both benefits. What you need is to buy an extra fixed base.

Plunge and fixed-base routers use powerful motors like 3-horsepower that revolves from 11,000 RPMs to 28,000 RPMs. But the most standard is 22,000 RPMs. These motors produce heavy torque. So, the soft-start and variable speed controls are very useful for the users.

Control: The soft-start feature, variable speed control, ergonomic design, on/off switch, and a few user-friendly features help control this workhorse easily.

The Versatility: The plunge router is a versatile power tool that you can use for multi-purposes. While fixed-base routers can cut only prefixed positions, plunge routers can cut both in fixed position and free-hand as well.

Easy to Operate: Its ergonomic and spring-loaded handles, on/off switch near hands, soft-start, variable speed control, all these features help easy and smooth operation for precise cuts.

An Example

plunge router kit

Wood Router Combo

We have already discussed with plunge and fixed-base routers above. The fundamental difference is the base system that sometimes allows moving up and down and sometimes doesn’t. The combo routers combine both the facilities in one place, allowing one motor on two bases.

You can use a combo router for both purposes, which plunge and fixed-base routers do separately. It is, of course, a good money saver option for purchasers.

Other essential features of a router combo kit are as same as those of a plunge router. The combo kits are run by a large, powerful motor that generates heavy torques and RPMs. To control and balance the torque, producers feature with soft-start and variable speed control.

Considering their gigantic size, they come with an easy controlling option, ergonomic design, and user-friendliness.

An Example

wood router combo

Compact Routers

The excitement of purchasing your first router may arise confusion when you see there’re diverse sizes. The good news is that you can sum up the sizes into two categories – full size and compact size.

From the above category, you can easily understand what a compact router is. Most routers are full-size serving for high-volume jobs. The full-size routers have high torque powerful motors like the 3-hp motor that generates up to 22,000 to 32,000 RPMs.

The compact routers come with lower/medium range motors having 11,000 to 27,000 RPMs and a standard 1-1/4 HP motor. Unlike plunge routers, these routers are small and compact, having a 1/4-inch collet diameter.

Though these routers are compact, there is no sacrifice of their performance. You can use compact routers for trimming purposes. While the plunge router needs to be set up on a router table, the compact router is a handheld router. You can use your palm rout over the workpiece, and that’s why compact routers are also well known as palm routers. People called them trimmers as well because they are excellent for trimming over wood pieces.

An Example

compact wood router

CNC Router

This time we are going to introduce a CNC router that is not like a traditional woodworking router. CNC router is incorporated by preinstalled computer software to cut woods, steel, aluminum, or composites. Computer numerical control is its operating software.

Unlike standard wood routers, a CNC router cuts over the workpiece through predesign computer software. It has a motor like a plunge router, and the router is set in a tray. The machine is connected to a computer to come into functioning through CAD or CAM software. It can produce beautiful craft art in woods without handheld operation.

A CNC machine may be large and small, depending on the nature of the workpieces. People use gigantic and expensive CNC milling machines for industrial purposes. There are small size CNC routers to serve for general purpose usage.

Today, CNC routers are also sought-after for grafting beautiful drawings on wood furniture. Day by day, CNC routers are in widespread demand for home use and industrial purposes.

An Example

cnc wood cutting router

Wrap Up

The diverse characteristics, power, performance have classified wood routers in those classes. The power supply option also has given routers a new era for diversification. It’s because people, sometimes, like to use a power cord, while a few others like to avoid it. It depends on the nature of the jobs.

When you like to turn your router for shaping edges or trimming laminates, a cordless trim router will be handy to work. On the other hand, corded routers are powerful and can cut under heavy loads. So, a corded power source is a must.

Considering the power supply facility, you can make another class of routers – corded and cordless routers. There are tons of models of both the facilities.

Related Posts

  1. 9 Wood Router Tips and Tricks for Using Safely
  2. How to Use a Router to Cut a Groove – Step by Step
  3. The Best Wood Router Reviews 2021 – (Top Picks & Guide)
  4. 10 Woodworking Power Tools List for DIYers

Leave a Comment