Some important accessories of Wood Router
Working with wood routers has become the mainstay of the wood working industry. Widely heralded as the “most versatile tool in the world”, wood routers have brought a whole new dimension to working with wood, both as a hobby and as a profession. Wood routers have made so many lives easier with their effortless cutting, slicing and shaping abilities. Perfect, smooth and aesthetically pleasing wood work is only a wood router away.
But just owning a wood router isn’t enough. Certain accessories are crucial for the proper functioning of your innovative tool, and buying these will give you your money’s worth year after year. Most woodworkers agree that the most important accessories you should invest in are:
- A sturdy set of router bits
- Router table
- Speed controls
Let’s take a look at some of the important accessories of a wood router:
1. ROUTER BITS:
This is obviously the most important accessory, and having a wood router without router bits is like having a washing machine without any detergent. So router bits are basically what make the router do its job. There are many router bits available in the market, but there are basically seven essential bits that will get your job done:-
- 1/8” round over bit: perfect for smoothening sharp corners, especially for toys
- ¼” round over bit: takes out more material than 1/8” bit, creating an attractive edge profile and the perfect round over.
- 5/32” roman ogee bit: gives you cool looking S curve, perfect for table edges.
- ¼” straight bit: make mortises by setting in a plunge router or make grooves in drawer and box bottoms.
- ½” down cut spiral bit: this is a great one for jointing man made materials with a great finish
- ½” flush trim bit: best thing about this bit, the bearing can ride on or trace one surface, and the cutter removes anything past that surface.
- 3/8” rabbet bit: for super smooth cuts on both sides of the rabbet, perfect for joining boards and letting out back panels.
2. ROUTER TABLE:
The wood router is attached to the table with the bit up so that when the router is engaged, the wood slides across the top of the table and on top of the blade or bit. Many kinds of router tables are available and table top models can be set up right on top of your workbench, or alternatively you can purchase a free-standing router table. Regardless of the kind, you need to have a router table, period.
3. ROUTER FENCES:
Again, router fences are almost a must have when working with wood routers. Router fences act as a guide that you can push the wood against, and prevents any movement or shifting of the piece so you can work the bit to cut in a precise manner to form an accurate straight line. There are two basic types of router fences – a one piece fence and a two piece or split fence.
A split fence comes with two independently adjustable, separate fences that allow for zero clearance support and come in handy to joint a straight edge to a board. There’s only one drawback: the two fences need to be in perfect parallel alignment which can be considerably challenging if you want to get any work done properly.
With a one piece fence, there are no alignment issues; the single fence covers both the infeed and outfeed sides of the table. Of course this comes with its own share of limitations like problems with diameter openings and such. The solution to this problem is hitting the sweet spot by combining a sturdy one-piece fence outfitted with split-sub fences or fence faces. This will ensure parallel alignment of the infeed and outfeed sections of the fence while you use shims on the outfeed side to achieve the offset required to use the router table as an edge jointer.
Jigs help hold your work piece in place as you cut hinge recesses, box joiners, dado joints and dovetail joints. True beauty in your work piece will come from jigs that multiply the versatility of the wood router. Router jigs free your hands and allow you more accuracy and attention to detail. A wood router without jigs is just a crude piece of equipment. But if you wish to transform it into a high functioning tool adept at intricacy, a good quality jig holds the key to this magic. A well designed jig makes pattern routing easier and smoother. Invest in a high quality jig that fits for all shapes and sizes, so you won’t have to make a new one for every new project.
Clamps are essentially a second pair of hands for any woodsman or carpenter. They clamp the work piece in place so it won’t slip or shift while you busy your real hands in creating magic with the wood router. Clamps also come in handy to keep jigs in place for pattern routing so that it’s more stable. But keep in mind that no one clamp can do the job every single time. You will have to buy a few different clamps to serve different purposes in a variety of projects. Also, be careful when using clamps. A faultily positioned clamp can wreak havoc on your work piece.
6. SPEED CONTROLS:
Your wood router comes with an on/off switch and some also come furnished with a variable speed trigger. But it’s a burden to keep turning the switch on and off over and over again according to use, and this is where speed controls come in play. Having a footswitch frees your hands and allows for easy maneuverability.
From time to time, you might have to replace the power switch that comes with your wood router, as it may become worn out or get damaged from prolonged use. Wood router switches are readily available in the market, and with a simple knowledge of electrical working, you can remove the old switch and place the new one in its position without any problems.
Buying a wood router is the easy part. The difficult part comes later when you have to select the right accessories and put your wood router to work in the field. Work hard, and choose wisely.