A router is just the tool you need to take your woodworking projects from average to spectacular. Whether you're looking for a router to create intricate decorative patterns, cut mouldings, create custom cabinetry and door panels, do wood joinery or craft traditional wood signage, The Home Depot has what you need.
Types of Wood Routers
Typically, routers are divided into two categories: fixed and plunge. However, some routers come with multiple bases to allow switching between a plunge and fixed base.
Power and Capacity of Wood Routers
Most manufacturers give router power ratings in maximum (or peak) horsepower (hp), which can only be attained for a brief period. Make sure you're not comparing maximum horsepower on one model to sustained horsepower on another. If you have doubts, compare the amp ratings of the motors. Routers are available with 1/4" and 1/2" collets, which indicate the size of the bit shank they can accept. Routers with 1/2" collets are more versatile because 1/2" bits are available in larger diameters, and many routers with a 1/2" collet include adapters so they can also accept 1/4" or 3/8" bits. If you will be working with large-diameter bits, you'll need a router that's capable of slower speeds. As the diameter of the bit increases, the appropriate routing speed decreases, so routers with a wide speed range are more versatile.
Consider the Following Router Bit Features:
Bits with 1/4' shanks work well, however using a stiffer 1/2' shank will give even smoother, more accurate results.
|Cutter Angle (Shear Angle)
Premium router bits have blades that do not run parallel to the shank. Instead, they are angled slightly so the blade slices the wood rather than chopping at it. Shear angle will give very smooth results.
Thicker, denser carbide router bits are more cost-effective in the long run. Thick carbide is designed to be re-sharpened multiple times.
The carbide itself is important too - not all carbides are the same! Look for router bits with extremely fine grain or hi-density carbide. The smaller the carbide grains, the longer it holds a sharp edge and maintains its strength.
Titanium Cobalt is currently the most advanced formulation of carbide and is also impervious to corrosion and pitting caused by wood acids.
Heat-forged router bits are far stronger and longer-lasting than die-cast or turned router bit bodies.
Anti-kickback design is important. Bits with a full metal body that extends almost all the way around the perimeter of the bit greatly decreases the chance of kickback.
Guarantees less working friction and decreases the chance of burning your wood from improper feeding.
Resin, rust and other corrosive agents also have less chance of building up.