The power tool most often used in woodwork today is perhaps the router. The humble router is the mainstay of many woodworkers? workshops and along with the bandsaw it is usually mentioned as the tool most of us wood workers could not do without.
A surprisingly large percentage of amateur woodworkers would often over look the versatility of a router often spending much more money on there jigsaw, believing it to be the more useful of the two tools. Personally, I think you just have to watch a router in the hands of a skilled artisan such as Norm Abram to realize this isn?t true.
Dovetail joints are a good example of this. Yes, they can be done with a jigsaw and a little patience. However, it is many, many times easier safer and quicker to use a router with a dovetailing jig, as Norm usually shows us on the New Yankee Workshop.
Many amateurs also consider the router an dangerous tool. Yes, it is dangerous, very dangerous in fact. The router should be treated with the up most respect. The kind of respect you show a Doberman. Router cutters spin very fast (up to 30,000 rpm), so do not underestimate the speed with which they will have a finger off – it will be gone long before you even feel it! That said, there is an old saying in woodworking that the tool that you respect the least is the one that will bite you. At least with the router your careful a steady with it. There is a surprising number of people across the world who have lost a finger or two to the humble bandsaw.
It is often said that the home workshop is the most dangerous place you can be. So please if you are investing in a workshop, make sure you save some money for some safety equipment. Such as goggles, dust masks and extractors. However, do not forget the often-overlooked safety devices such as a kill switch for any powered machines. Keep a powder fire extinguisher to hand, along with an eye bath and a well-stocked first aid kit.
As I mentioned above the wood router can be used for all sorts of problem tasks in the workshop. For example, Trend Machinery has a jig for cutting out a hole for a mortise lock. Whist this is not a time consuming task in its self, imagine having to fit doors in an office block or block of flats. Another popular use of the router is for jointing kitchen worktops together.
Whilst the router is an often-feared tool, it is also very versatile. As the old saying goes with great power comes great responsibility. If I were to recommend a router to you, I would have to say a Trend Machinery T11 or Makita 3612 if you are looking for a large router.
Band saw wise, I would suggest a Scheppach Basato 4 it is a high quality saw that is not too expensive.
Remember people measure twice cut once.