Routers have become one of the most used tools in a workshop, possibly even more popular than a table saw. A well equiped shop will have both a plunge base and a fixed base router, it is now possible to get a combination kit where one machine has both bases. There are many different bit profiles available, probably a straight bit and a round over bit are the first ones you will need, but this depends on the type of projects you will be doing. It is much easier to work with smaller pieces if the router is mounted on a table. Generally much better results are achieved by taking several passes making  shallow cuts rather than one pass if a lot of material has to be removed.

Basic Router

There are three basic things to look for in a router, horse power, collet size and variable speed. The lower horse power routers will likely have the smaller 1/4" collet and will be lighter to use by hand. higher horse power routers will have the larger 1/2" collet and are better suited to be mounted in a table. Variable speed is desirable when you are running large diameter bits, see speed guide chart

The body can be adjusted for the depth of cut by moving it up and down in the base.

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Plunge Router

Plunge routers can be adjusted for depth of cut as with a basic router, however the bit is above the base so it can be positioned over the material to be routed then pushed down to make the cut.

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Combo Packages

Combo packages offer the best of both worlds, including both types of bases. Many users attach the fixed base to a router table plate and use the router freehand with the plunge base.

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Overhead Routers

In 1919 Oscar Onsrud and son Rudy built the first router, it was an air turbine powered machine. In 1928 they patented and over arm pin router that revolutionized woodworking factories.

Grizzly Overhead router

Grizzly Overhead Router

Make production routing a breeze with this Overarm High Speed Router. Simply attach a template to the bottom of your work piece and feed against the table-mounted pin. Overhead cutting lets you see your work. Hydraulic head and foot controls speed up your work even more. Includes clamp-on fence for in-line routing and massive tilting cast iron table for greater versatility. FEATURES: • Fence or pin routing • Foot control for spindle movement • Head assembly travels on dovetail ways.


Grizzly G8030 Overarm High Speed Router  

Machines such as the CarveWright are computer controlled to cut designs or patterns.

Router Speeds

The larger the diameter of the cutter the faster the tips of it travel, a large bit will be travelling too fast for optium performance and safety on a router at full speed unless the RPM is slowed. If your router does not have a speed control you can use an external attachment.

Suggested Speeds

0 - 1 inch in dia - 22,000 RPM

1 - 2 inch in dia. - 18,000 RPM

2 - 2.5 inch in dia. - 16,000 RPM

2.5 - 3.5 inch in dia. - 12,000 RPM

At 22,000 RPM the tips of a 3/4" bit travel at 49 MPH, on a 3 1/2" bit they would be travelling over 220 MPH.

Router Bits

straight router bits
Straight and Spiral Router Bits
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edge forming router bits
Edge Forming Router Bits
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Joinery Router bits
Joinery Router Bits
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molding router bits
Molding Router Bits
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groove router bits
Groove Router Bits
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slot cutting router bits
Slot Cutting Router Bits
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sign Making router bit
Sign Making Router Bits
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door and panel router bits
Door and Panel Router Bits
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Router bit starter sets
Router Bit Starter Sets
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Special Application Router Bits
Special Application Router Bits
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  • Wear eye protection.
  • Router safety is a matter of controlling the router and securing the work piece. With a router spinning at 22,000 RPM bad things can happen fast.
  • Listen to the sound of your router, it should sound the same cutting as when at an idle, if not you are forcing it.
  • The larger the diameter of the bit the slower the speed of the router.
  • Always rout against the direction of the router bit, counterclockwise around the outside of an object or clockwise around the inside of an object when routing freehand, reverse this when using a router table.
  • Make a series of shallow passes rather than one cut if a lot of material has to be removed.
  • Use an edge guide whenever possible.
  • Always use the router in a vertical position, gripped in both hands, in a comfortable stance.


Router Bits

Straight & Spiral Bits

Edge Forming Bits

Joinery Bits

Molding Bits

Groove Bits

Slot Cutting Bits

Sign Making Bits

Door and Panel Bits

Starter Bit Sets

Speciality Bits

Router Accessories


Router Tables


Router Lifts


Jigs to make

Keyhole Slot Guide

Router Dado Guide

Router T-Square

Round Corner Template

Round over corners on a square of hardboard or plywood in incremental diameters, then clamp to material and use with a ball bearing pattern bit.

Using a Template

To use a template the easiest way is to use either a pattern bit or a bushing the same diameter as the cutter, to trim an outside edge use the outside edge of the template. To trim an inside edge use the inside of the template. The drawing below demonstrates how following the opposite edge will result in a cut with a different radius.

router bit diagram


Router Direction

hand guide

A router must travel in the right direction so the bit cuts properly. An easy guide is to lay your right hand palm down with your thumb touching the edge of the material, your index finger will point in the direction to move the router. When using a table lay your hand palm up and your index finger will point in the way to move material. - Helping You Make Wood Work