Routers are one of the most versatile woodworking tools. They can be used for joint construction, decorative shaping and edge moulding purposes. Routers come in 2 basic types, Plunging and Fixed, plunging being the most common. Today’s routers are often ergonomically designed and lightweight with soft grip handles for control and safety. There are many features to consider when buying a router the first being its power. The more powerful the router the better it can handle harder materials, some being able to cut types of aluminium. The power may also determine the size and weight of the machine so bare in mind what the tool is going to be used with, a heavy duty router will be difficult to handle for light delicate work.
Key features to look for are Variable speed; this allows you to adjust the speed to suit the type of bit in use and ensures you get the best finish on different material. Soft Start brings the motor up to speed over a couple of seconds to eliminated the ‘kick’ at start-up and makes it simpler for alignment. The depth lock mechanism locks the router at a fixed depth of plunge and the depth stop allows you to preset a maximum depth of cut. Dust extraction is also an important feature, as it will collect the fine dust as you work.