Power Tools — The Router
by Sandor Nagyszalanczy
The router is an undisputed king of power-tool versatility. It can shape, joint, plane, trim, carve, drill, and slice wood. It's tops for cutting joinery ranging from simple to fanciful. Want to shape an edge or make a molding? With even a small selection of shapely router bits, you can create nearly an infinite number of variations.
You'd need a chest full of molding planes just to create all the shapes you can with a single router and a box of bits. A router can follow a pattern to create perfectly identical multiple parts. You can use a router to cut mortises for hardware, to joint and trim lumber, to create recesses for decorative inlays, and much more.
The versatility of this tool has spawned some useful variations: regular fixed-base routers for everyday tasks; plunge routers that let you change bit depth on the fly; mini routers to trim laminates; and heavy-duty routers and air-powered routers for demanding production work.
Tools of the Past
Early success with small routers gave manufacturer Porter-Cable an advantage that led to the development of a model that's been in continuous production for decades. With its stout yet lightweight construction, simple design, and reliable features, the Porter-Cable 690 router is truly a classic among fixed-base models. >>>
This article is excerpted from Power Tools: An Electrifying Celebration and Grounded Guide by Sandor Nagyszalanczy, with permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press, Inc.
The classic Porter-Cable 690 router is distinguished by auto-releasing collets, micrometer depth-of-cut adjustment, and D-handled bases.
Photo: Sandor Nagyszalanczy
A basic plunge router is a fairly simple machine, consisting of a universal motor that spins a cutter. A mechanism raises and lowers the cutter to set the depth.
Image: The Taunton Press
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