Ask any woodworker about the router table and you will be amazed about how useful the item is in the workshop. It makes it so much easier for woodworkers to work on projects that would have been almost impossible to accomplish without the router table. Read along to understand how useful this item is to woodworkers.
What is a Router Table?
The router table is simply a stationary woodworking machine that has a spindle at its center and a flat bottom. The spindle is usually vertically oriented and rotates at a high speed. The router table helps the woodworker in getting accurate and precise cuts when working on the projects. The router’s head and bits are connected to the spindle chuck which lies on the workspace. A workpiece is directed to the router which then creates a profile. In addition to these is the vertical fence that helps deliver precise and accurate cuts.
Router tables were initially designed in a simple and basic design. They were only meant for cutting and it was simple and straightforward to learn how to use them. Currently, router tables are extremely advanced and come in a variety of shapes and designs. They are even designed with some extra accessories so as to make wood routing a breeze. They are a great asset to any workshop.
Benefits for Using a Wood Router Table over Handheld Router
Every woodworker should get a router table instead of using the handheld router for various reasons:
Working with different stock shapes
Most woodworkers use a handsaw when cutting their stocks and this works well for beginners. However, as the skill level of the woodworker increase, they need to attempt bigger and better projects. It is with this regard that the hand saw is rendered ill-equipped and inefficient for the job. This is particularly true for stocks that lack a perfect shape: they may be too narrow, too long, or too small. The woodworker therefore needs a better machine in order to cut such stocks in a precise manner. The router table delivers that perfectly. This is impossible to achieve with a handheld router.
Working with templates
Precision is a key factor when it comes to woodworking. It is simply what makes woodworking an art in itself. Woodworkers have to work with templates and the best router tables in the market make this job a breeze. The use of a router table makes the workspace stable and makes it easier and joyful to get precise cuts in a work piece. Contrarily, the handheld router is unstable and cannot work well with a template.
Making different cuts
As a woodworker, you never think of the cuts when you begin to work on a project – what is always important is the project at large and the final results. However, the planning stage for the project is the point where the choice of cut comes into the picture. With a router table, the woodworker will easily maneuver projects that require dadoes, grooves, stopped cuts, slots, and many other types of cuts. You cannot do all this while working with a handheld router.
Working on locks and joints
If you make a living from woodworking then you clearly understand the kind of skill and creativity required if you want to get the best out of your pieces of work. You are required to go an extra mile and deliver professionally in most projects. The woodworker is even sought by some people to make an idea a reality. They come up with an idea and want the woodworker to deliver something that matches perfectly with their imagination. Furthermore, hobby woodworkers desire their projects to be elegant and outstanding as well. Such projects demand the use of dovetails, drawer locks, and finger joints. A router table makes it a breeze to achieve all these unlike using a handheld router.
Types of Router Tables
There are different types of router tables in the market designed to meet the different skill levels – beginner, intermediate, and the professional. If considering getting a router table, then you should match your needs with the router table design. Here are some popular types of router tables:
1. Benchtop table: This type is versatile and adaptable. It is portable and comes with some useful parts such as a built-in cord, aluminum fence, starter pin and guard, and adjustable MDF plates. It is available with popular brands in the market such as Kreg and Bosch.
2. Floor Standing Table: This fairly portable router table is popular among woodworkers. It is easy to mount, takes up some small floor space, and features some useful parts.
3. Extension table: This router table is ideal for those who lack a space to spare. It does not require extra resources to invest in it and comes with some useful features such as a split fence, wooden frame, measuring tape, aluminum-made T-track slots, safety guard, router and high split fence.
Pros and Cons of Using a Router Table
- Precision: A router table enables the woodworker get precise and accurate cuts in a work piece.
- Saves time: This machine saves time since you can accurately carry out some procedures and task that would take longer when using a handheld router.
- No installation: Most of the router tables come pre-assembled and therefore require little or no installation. This makes it so much easier to setup and begin using the router table.
- Quick results: The more you practice with your router table, the better you become in getting efficient results. Initially, there may be a learning curve involved, but it moves faster.
- Long term benefits: With a router table you get long term benefits. You get the skill and experience by working on different variety of projects within a short time and this helps in expanding your skill in woodworking.
- Extra expense: You have to spend some additional money so as to acquire a router table and all its accompanying accessories such as fence and lifts.
- Learning curve: It is always difficult at the beginning to master some skills when using a router table. It is daunting to make some complex joints at the start as well.
The router table is a useful machine to any woodworker, whether an amateur or a professional. It helps the woodworker handle some tasks that would be almost impossible to handle using a handheld router.