Plunge VS. Fixed Routers

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Woodworking Jokes

His grandson was a little rough on tools, and one day the kid borrowed a handmade chisel that had been left to Greg by his father. The boy used it to dig up worms, and the old woodworker lost his cool.

“That chisel is over a hundred years old!” he said.

The kid shrugged.

“Well, that’s a relief,” he said. “The way you were acting, I thought it might have been new.”

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Wood Tips: Routers – Plunge vs Fixed Based Router

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Wood Tips: Router – George Vondriska demonstrates the difference between plunge and fixed based routers. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.

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How to Choose and Use a Router | Ask This Old House

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Steps for How to Choose and Use a Router:

1. Depending on the router bit used, routers can cut a wide variety of decorative edges, profiles, and woodworking joints.

2. Straight-cutting router bits can cut dadoes, grooves, and rabbets for joining together two boards.

3. A plunge router can cut precise holes like a drill press for shelf pegs or wooden dowels.

4. Rout tongue-and-groove joints into the ends and edges of boards to create tongue-and-groove flooring.

5. Light-duty trim routers are ideal for flush-trimming plastic laminate, veneer, and other thin materials.

6. Don’t use large bits in a trim router; you could burn out the motor.

7. Medium-duty fixed-based routers offer a good combination of power and speed.

8. Some routers have variable-speed motors. Use slower speeds when cutting with large-diameter bits.

9. A plunge router has a spring-loaded base that allows you to plunge the bit down into the board, and then release it to pop up out of the cut.

10. Plunge routers are useful for routing inlays, stopped grooves, and holes.

11. Router bits come in dozens of sizes and profiles.

12. Bits come with either a 1/4-inch-diameter shaft or a 1/2-inch-diameter shaft. Match the bit-shank diameter to the collet on the router.

13. Some routers come with both a 1/4-inch and a 1/2-inch collet.

14. The ball-bearing pilot found on some bits rolls along the edge of the board to control the depth of cut.

15. A piloted flush-cutting bit has a ball bearing that rides along a template for making very precise, custom cuts.

16. With the router unplugged, push the router bit all the way into the collet, then pull it out a little bit to provide an expansion space.

17. Tighten the collet with a wrench to securely lock the bit in place.

18. Adjust the depth of cut, then plug in the router.

19. Firmly clamp the board to a workbench.

20. Put on hearing protection and safety goggles.

21. Before switching on the router, be sure the router bit isn’t touching the board.

22. Turn on the router, then slowly rout from left to right in a counterclockwise direction.

[Video] 3 Most Common Mistakes
When Setting Up Shop

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A woodworking friend of mine shared this video by Ralph Chapman with me that helped him set up his workshop. 

The video explains the benefits of Ralph Chapman’s guide about setting up an affordable workshop and avoiding the most common mistakes offers to anyone interested in woodworking.

Plunge Router vs. Fixed Base Router – What is the Best for you?

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Routers Are An Absolutely Fantastic Addition To Any Garage Or Workshop.

Many People Claim That They’re The Most Versatile Power Tool In The World. We’ll talk about the two most common styles of routers: plunge and fixed base. We’ll go over what each one does and what they’re best used for.

General overview: Plunge v. fixed base routers Plunge routers move up and down on the base, which has spring-loaded arms on either side that allow the user to manually ‘plunge’ the cutting bit down into the material from above.

This is necessary when you’re working on the top of a board, for applications such as fluting, dados and mortices, grooves and rebates, insets, etc. However, plunge base routers can be used for edge work just as well (such as profiling edges with a round-over bit).

Fixed base routers are exactly that; the router is locked at a fixed location in the base, and the cutting bit cannot move – or plunge – from top to bottom. This makes doing some of the aforementioned tasks, where it’s necessary to engage the material from above, virtually impossible. Of course, you can manually set and lock the cutting depth on fixed base routers, generally with a greater degree of accuracy than you can with a plunge router.

Fixed-base routers are great when super-precise cuts are needed (as is the case with most types of joinery), and also when mounted to a routing table. Our Top Picks: Favorite makes and models for each kind Bosch 3 ½” 2 ½ HP corded plunge and fixed base router kit Combo Router

This is a nice tool that you’ll absolutely fall in love with. It will set you back a fair penny, but the quality that you get is well worth it. With the 2 ½ peak-horsepower motor, it’s a powerful tool that, with the right bit and jig, can take care of just about the biggest routing jobs you can throw at it.

Ryobi 2 HP soft start variable speed plunge router Plunge Router This is an excellent ‘starter’ router. A little less peak horsepower, and a variable speed ‘soft start’ to eliminate damaging the material before you even start making your cut.

It’s a great value buy that will get you off and routing until you’re ready to make the next step up. General things to consider before buying One thing to kind of keep in mind before you go off and make a purchase, is that plunge routers are big, heavy, loud, powerful tools.

Many people prefer the smaller size, less weight, and lower center of gravity of fixed base routers. Bottom line is, if you start out with a plunge router, then a plunge router is what you’ll become accustomed to, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

If you’re the average DIY’er looking to add a first router to your garage or home workshop, go with the plunge. If you don’t mind splashing a little extra cash, go with a combo kit and get a routing table as well.

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