A router table is defined by the bits that are used. It really does all revolve around the bits! Router tables create some of the most beautiful, impressive shapes to a plain piece of wood. They have been a staple to the professional woodworker?s shop for a long time and are quickly finding their way into the garage of the handy-man also. With more people interested in adding unique touches of trims and moldings to their furnishings and homes, they are finding that they can add these touches themselves by learning how to put a router table to use and guide the wood through a router.
You may think that creating beveled edges and shaped cornices is difficult, but the router saws actually do the work. If you can guide a piece of planking through a table saw, then you will have no problem learning how to use a router table, regardless of whether you are using homemade router tables or high-quality Wolfcraft router tables.
Router table plans are available and can help bring the learning curve down as well. Some plans are even available free online. Plans show what shapes can develop from the use of different bits, angles and motions. Router table plans are not meant to show only the shape the bit will produce. Showing the shape is just the basic capabilities of the bit. Add with this the imagination of a craftsman and there are unlimited design opportunities. These plans also show how adjusting and angling the wood with each pass through the router can create its own unique look, or the identical pattern you want to use.
Bits are the central force behind the capabilities of a router table. The bit determines the notching and edging patterns. Some edge bits create the beveling on mantle pieces or straight and rabetting bits for when you want to cut deep, square notches. Dovetail bits create the snug fit found in the higher quality drawer construction. Slot cutters and finger joint bits help keep cabinet fronts snug inside the edge frames. Specialty bits can be used for a variety of projects. For example, cap pieces in fences are made using a stile bit or a raised panel. Generally, the more specialized a bit, the greater number of cuts it can make with one pass through the table. Miniature router bits are available also and can be used to make anything from doll houses to toys to fine detailing on furniture.
Router tables take up about the same space in a workshop as the table saw. For those with limited space, bench top models are available and height adjusters are available if your table is not the right height. Getting the router properly aligned with your height is important for added control and precision when cutting.
The Tops in Tables
Whether you are capping a fence, finishing a mantle or designing your own molding, a router table is the perfect way to get the look you want while avoiding the cost of purchasing custom-cut wood.