What is a router?

         
         
  buy routers online at low prices  
         
         
  Router moving along wood, cutting a groove, applications, woodworking, joint-making  

A router is an electric power tool used to cut a variety of different shapes in materials such as wood, plastic, MDF and some metals.

 

They are used in conjunction with router cutters, and sometimes other detachable accessories, for cutting through and shaping materials in a huge variety of ways, for different tasks.  

 
         
  Lettering applications, engraving, router bit, woodwork, fine tasks, electric router  

A router is small enough to be moved easily across a workpiece or carried around on-site, making it particularly versatile.

 

Or, for a more permanent fixture, you can mount a router upside down in a router table. This is useful when working with smaller pieces of material, or for repetitive applications such as creating raised panels.

 
         
         
         
 

What can routers be used for?

Routers are commonly used for things like:

 
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  Router uses, table-mounted, hand-held mode, rebates, grooves, cuts, woodwork, shaping, edge-forming, decorative  

Grooves and rebates

Perhaps you want to fit your own drawers or cupboards, or even install a new hinge or door lock. Straight and rebate router cutters can be used to create an assortment of different grooves and rebates in the surface and on the edge of various materials. 

 
         
  Trimming router bits are installed into routing machines to trim edges  

Trimming and edging

A router coupled with an appropriate trimming cutter is often used when fitting worktops to trim the excess laminate or wood lipping so it sits flush. A metal hand file could be used for this task, but it's much easier and quicker to use a router.

 
         
  Joint-making, router uses, table-mounted, hand-held mode, rebates, grooves, cuts, woodwork, shaping, edge-forming, decorative  

Joint making

At one time, all woodworking joints would have been created with a chisel and a very fine hand saw - but one slip of the blade and your delicate dovetail was ruined forever. Enter the router. There are special cutters and jigs which can create perfect joints, of various kinds, in half the time. 

 
         
  Moulding and beading, router uses, table-mounted, hand-held mode, rebates, grooves, cuts, woodwork, shaping, edge-forming, decorative  

Moulding and beading

Various moulding and beading router cutters are available to create beautiful shapes on the edges of furniture or strips of wood to be used as skirting or crown moulding.  

 
         
  Hole in wood, router uses, table-mounted, hand-held mode, rebates, grooves, cuts, woodwork, shaping, edge-forming, decorative  

Creating holes

With a plunge-cutting router bit and a plunge router, you have the downward cutting potential of a drill press, and can create a variety of different size holes in materials, depending on the cutter used.

 
         
  Router uses, table-mounted, hand-held mode, rebates, grooves, cuts, woodwork, shaping, edge-forming, decorative  

Cabinetry

Routers are extremely popular amongst cabinet makers, perhaps because the router can complete almost all of the woodworking tasks carried out in this trade.

 
         
  Router uses, table-mounted, hand-held mode, rebates, grooves, cuts, woodwork, shaping, edge-forming, decorative  

Other DIY tasks

Aside from using a hand or power saw to roughly cut your material to size, a router and a selection of cutters may be the only tool needed for many DIY projects. They can be set up to follow a variety of templates, create a multitude of different joints, as well as create simple or intricate shapes in various positions on a particular workpiece. And, the router can even finish the whole thing off with fancy engraving.

 
         
 

A brief history of the router Buy routers

 
  Hand routers, plunge routers, fixed base routers, shapers, technology, developments  

The router started out as a manual tool consisting of a narrow blade that projected past a wide open base. It's thought that the first model of hand router was patented by Henry Cope, an American pattern maker, in 1884. his design earned the hand router (also known as a hand router plane) its nickname: "old woman’s tooth". It’s likely that these early designs were limited to cutting V-shaped, flat-bottomed and rounded grooves in wood, and were moved manually, similar to how a hand plane is operated. 

 
         
  Hand routers, plunge routers, fixed base routers, shapers, technology, developments  

The first electric router

In 1905, the Kelley Electric Machine company, based in New York, produced the first electric hand-held power router and began manufacturing on a massive scale. It stood 400mm (16") high and 300mm (12") in diameter! It also weighed a whopping 27kgs (60lbs approx) - that's the equivalent of an average-size punch bag and is about five times heavier than the hand-held routers being used nowadays!

 
         
  Hand routers, plunge routers, fixed base routers, shapers, technology, developments  

Later developments

In 1949 in Germany, the plunge router was invented by a company called Elu. It was fairly similar in appearance to previous hand-held routers but featured a plunging top half which allowed the spinning cutter to be lowered onto the material from above. This design combined the overhead cutting ability of the drill press with the portability of the router, and it is no surprise that this design is still extremely popular today.

 
         
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