8 Great Reasons to Own a Plunge Router

Still loyal to a fixed-base router? Here are 8 great reasons why a plunge router is more versatile.

| October 2, 2012

  • Routers and Router Tables
    “Routers and Router Tables” is a must-have book for all woodworkers, regardless of skill level. It covers everything a woodworker needs to know about these important tools.
    Cover Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Plunge Router
    Plunge routers go where no other router can.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Template Routing
    Template routing with guide bushings is trouble-free when you use a plunge router.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Jigs
    A plunge router is a must when it comes to sophisticated jigs for making joints.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Inlay Work
    The plunge router is ideally suited for stringing and delicate inlay work, often called captured inlay, because the plunge mechanism allows a smooth entrance and exit from the cut.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Mill Stopped Grooves
    There’s no better way to mill stopped grooves and flutes than by using a plunge router.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Inlay Grooves
    This is one operation you definitely want to get right the first time, and a plunge router is the surest way to get the job done well.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Fine Adjustments
    Micro-adjustable depth knobs make fine-tuning a plunge router simple.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Bit Protection
    One advantage a plunge router has over a fixed-base model is bit protection.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Cutting Mortises
    Cutting mortises is much easier with a plunge router than with a fixed-base model.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Cutters
    Side cutters and top and bottom cutters
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Specialized Bits
    Some popular bits are best used with a plunge router.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Straight Bits
    Plunge-cutting straight bits have bottom cutters that allow the bit to bore a hole as it is plunged into the work.
    Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing

  • Routers and Router Tables
  • Plunge Router
  • Template Routing
  • Jigs
  • Inlay Work
  • Mill Stopped Grooves
  • Inlay Grooves
  • Fine Adjustments
  • Bit Protection
  • Cutting Mortises
  • Cutters
  • Specialized Bits
  • Straight Bits

Along with shop-tested buying advice, Routers and Router Tables (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2011) includes complete plans for four complete router tables and routing workstations, a spiffy router lift, plus several more auxiliary fences for special operations such as raising panels and jointing edges. Also included in this handy guide are dozens of proven shop tips, router table add-ons and step-by-step color photography. Find out what a plunge router can do for you in this excerpt taken from “Choosing a Router.” 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Routers and Router Tables.

Plunge Routers Go Where No Other Router Can

The plunge router deserves a place in every shop. Routing chores, such as mortising, stopped dados and inlay pattern work, are safer and easier to perform using a plunge router. Its unique base allows the motor housing to ride up and down on a pair of posts fixed to the base. The plunge mechanism is spring-loaded so the motor housing always wants to spring up to the top of the posts. A lock/release lever allows free up-and-down movement of the router housing or locks it in place at a given depth. The depth of cut can be preset, allowing you to position the router over the work and plunge the bit to an exact depth. The depth stop works much like the stop does on a drill press.

Plunge routers have been around for years. Some die-hard users of fixed-base models may argue that a fixed-base router can do everything that a plunge router can do, but they don’t realize what a great, unique tool the plunge router is. Here are eight things a plunge router can do with ease that present a challenge for a fixed-base model.



1. Great Template Routers 

Template routing with guide bushings is trouble-free when you use a plunge router. Just set the router over the template, turn it on, plunge the bit to the preset depth and rout. The plastic bowtie inlay template, shown above, would probably have a few battle scars if a fixed base router had been used. You may get away with tipping it into the cut for a while, but sooner or later that template would be nicked.






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