When purchasing your router, you likely put on your blinders and focus on nothing else than the wood router itself. Although this initial purchase is vital, there are many other items that should also be considered, as well. You should know that your router is only going to be as good as the router bits that are used in conjunction with it. You should also think about purchasing a router table, jigs and a fence. Each of these items is exceptionally important and will impact your overall use of the machine. Within this guide, you will learn about all of the important wood router accessories that should be considered.
When attempting to find the right router bits, you should know that they are available in many different styles. Each individual style will be referred to as a profile. The specific profile selected will help determine precisely what type of cut you will be able to achieve. Below, you will find a breakdown of the various common router profiles.
- Straight – As the name suggests, straight bits are capable of producing straight cuts.
- Rabbeting – These are specifically designed to help cut a rabbet or shoulder into a piece of wood. The cut can be used to join pieces of wood together.
- Flush-Trim Bit – This type of bit is utilized to help trim an edge and make it flush with the other. If you want flush pieces, which can join together beautifully, you want a flush-trim bit.
- Chamfer – This bit is capable of producing an angle, as well as beveled edges.
- Edge-Forming – As the name suggests, these bits form an edge. The edge produced is very decorative and helps to make a piece looks professional finished.
Of course, this isn’t the only factor that will come into play. It is also vital to examine the shank of your bit and the collets of your router. Remember that a ¼” collet will only work with ¼” bits and vice versa. Typically, it is recommended that you utilize a ½” bit and collet, because they offer much better stability and less vibration.
Router Bit Materials
Finally, there is one extra item to examine, when purchasing router bits. You should take the time to get to know a little more about the various types of router bits. Below, you will be able to do just that.
- High Speed Steel Router Bits – If you’re looking for something inexpensive, you’ll want steel router bits. These bits are great for softwood and plastics. Unfortunately, they dull fairly quickly.
- Carbide Tipped Router Bits – These are a little more expensive, but the price is usually worth it, because they outlast steel bits. They work exceptionally well for hardwoods and will ultimately save you money, after time.
- Solid Carbide Router Bits – These are the most expensive. They’re specifically designed for applications, which others cannot achieve. These bits are required for mortising, pattern cutting and laminate trimming.
By using the information presented above, you should have a much easier time selecting the right bits for your situation and router. Be sure that you always use sharp bits, because they’ll help to ensure that the cut is made with the most efficiency.
A router table is a wonderful addition and can give you maximum control and freedom, when making your cut. This is the case, because the table allows you to mount the router securely. When this is done, your hands remain free and you can use them to maintain control over the wood. This allows you to safely pull off cuts that would normally be unsafe, difficult or impossible. Below, you will learn what to look for, when making your purchase.
- Durability and Sturdiness – The table needs to be superbly sturdy and durable! You don’t want it to come crashing down on your toes, during use.
- Flat Top – The table’s top should be as smoother as possible. The table will serve you better, if it is perfectly flat and smooth.
- The Base Plate – This is the part of the table that connects to the router. It is essential to choose a plate that will connect securely. Also, you should make sure that the base plate is completely flat and smooth.
- Miter Gauge – When selecting a table, you should make sure it is fitted with miter slots. This will allow you to add a miter gauge, which can help you make more accurate cuts.
All of the above are extremely important, when making your selection. Be sure to also consider the fence, which will be explored in more depth below.
Router Table Fences
When purchasing a table, you should also take a look at the various table fences! These are absolutely vital for achieving straight cuts. When selecting a fence, you should make sure that you choose one that is very durable and effortless to add and remove to the table. Take note that there are two different types of fences and each will be explored below.
- One-piece fence – A single piece is much easier to use and will prevent alignment problems. Usually, they’re a little more expensive, but well worth it!
- Two-piece or split – These fences include two individual pieces. These are helpful, because they allow you to place the fence, at an offset.
Regardless of your choice, you should make sure that you have some type of fence for your table!
The jig is capable of giving the router more capabilities. It allows you to cut perfect circles, cut dadoes at almost any angle, and can even give you the ability to trim large panels. The jig is a small addition, but it is vital and will give you the ability to pull off the precise cuts and maneuvers that you desire. There are various jigs and each offers different cuts! Be sure to choose the right one for your precise needs.
Although some routers are equipped with variable speeds, it is also possible to purchase a separate device to control the speeds with more precision. This little device will give you more control over the precise speeds that you desire. This ensures that the router is much more efficient. The speed control will allow you to match the specific speed to the bit and application at hand.
If you want to add a little more safety to your router and router table, you will want to add a switch. This is nothing more than an outlet, but it can ensure that the router isn’t switched on by accident. There are various switches to choose from and each of them will work exceptionally well. Just make sure that you choose one that is equipped with a safety lock, in order to prevent the machine from accidently being switched one!