A router is used in woodworking to help complete projects like joinery, edge-shaping, flush-trimming, and more. They can create shapes and patterns, shave edges, and cut grooves and mortises into a material.
Routers consist of a motor, housing, and bit that protrudes from the bottom of the tool. They can use hundreds of different router bit types to accomplish various cutting and shaping projects. The bit fits into the collet located at the end of the motor’s shaft. The router motor spins the bit over 20,000 rpm to create the desired cut.
These tools typically range between 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 horsepower (HP) and can come in a few different styles. You can find fixed base routers, plunge base routers, and router tables.
A fixed base router locks the bit at a set height or position. Many units include small dials that allow the user to make fine adjustments. Once set in place, the bit does not move, meaning the user can set the bit at the exact depth needed.
They differ from plunge base routers, which feature spring-loaded arms that lift the motor and bit off the piece you’re working on. In order to work, the user must push the router down onto the material. Releasing the pressure allows the router and bit to lift back up. This type of router allows you to adjust the depth of the cut without needing to turn off the motor.
Fixed base routers offer more accuracy than a plunge router base. Because you set the depth beforehand, it allows for little human error. This means they work well for projects that require edging. However, plunge base routers offer more versatility. They allow you to adjust the depth as you work. They can also start a cut from the top or middle of the piece, which a fixed base cannot accomplish. Plunge based routers work well for projects that require a cut from above.
A palm router can create a variety of edge profiles, square off wood edges, or help level uneven wood. Palm routers work well for small projects that require precision, such as engraving and rounding or beveling edges.
Bosch palm router options include their GKF125CEN Colt palm router. Its soft-start circuitry reduces start-up torque. Other features include:
They also offer this PR20EVS Colt electronic variable-speed palm router that includes unique finger support pockets for added stability. Its fast and precise adjustment system allows for both macro and micro adjustments. The rugged aluminum fixed base allows for a durable, solid, and precise unit.
Bosch also offers accessories for their products, like this straight edge guide for palm routers, which works with their PR20EVS Colt palm router. This edge guide helps guide the palm router along the edge of the piece.
Router tables consist of a stationary workbench that uses the vertical spindle of a router tool protruding from a hole in the middle of the table. A router table provides greater accuracy than a standard handheld router tool. They typically mount the tool upside down so only the bit sticks out. A guide fence helps with accurate cutting by allowing the router to stay parallel to one edge of the surface.
Bosch router table options come in different styles, including benchtop and cabinet styles. The Bosch RA1181 benchtop router features a benchtop design that includes a large aluminum top that extends the work area as well as durability and precision. It also includes a dedicated-standard dust-collection port for a debris-free operation. It features an accessory slot that accepts featherboards and 3/4 inch optional accessories like a miter gauge.
The Bosch RA1171 cabinet style router table features a laminated top that works well for stability, storage, and dust management. It includes two dedicated dust-collection ports with one at the fence and the other at the cabinet. Like the benchtop style, this unit also features an accessory slot that accepts featherboards and 3/4 inch optional accessories. It also features an extra tall aluminum fence with adjustable MDF faceplates and featherboards.