The Versatile Trim Router
A trim router's small size is a big plus when you must rout lots of edges. It's particularly easy to balance a trim router's small baseplate on a narrow edge. A large, heavy router with its big baseplate is prone to tipping.
Despite their small size, most trim routers have plenty of power for cutting small profiles, grooves and hinge mortises. Many of these jobs don't require the extra power of a larger, bulkier router.
It's easy to guide a trim router with one hand. This frees your other hand to trail the cord around or reposition the workpiece. Large routers generally require two hands.
A trim router is better-suited for fine and delicate work than a larger router is. Cutting this recess for a butterfly inlay, for example, requires a fragile 1/8-in. bit. With a large, heavy router, you can easily overpower and break this bit. You'll have a much better feel for how the cut is progressing when using a lightweight trim router.
An Inexpensive Dedicated Router
A trim router is the least expensive type of router to add to your tool kit. Three models we tested cost $40 or less.
Reserve your workhorse midsize and plunge routers for big jobs. You can dedicate a trim router to a single job you must repeat throughout the course of a project, such as cutting molding, as shown here. Pick it up whenever you need it; the router will always be ready to go.
This is by far the most important feature of a trim router. We prefer routers that have a screw mechanism to adjust the depth of cut, but most don't have it (see Chart, page 60).
A screw makes it much easier to achieve a precise setting, because you can easily raise or lower the bit by a few thousandths of an inch.This degree of precision is often essential with the bits you're likely to use. When you set the depth of an inlay groove or adjust a small roundover bit to cut a full radius, a few thousandths can make a big difference.
Trim routers without a screw adjust rely on a much simpler, less reliable system. Basically, you slide the base by hand up or down on the motor housing. Some of these routers have a roller gear to assist you.This is a good feature, but the gear has a much coarser pitch than a screw adjust does, so it isn't as sensitive. It can be quite difficult to achieve a precise setting with routers that don't have a screw adjust because the base usually doesn't slide smoothly. It often sticks, slips and sticks again. Lubricating the motor housing can alleviate this problem (see "Tune UpYourTrim Router," page 62), but the lubricant wears off and must be renewed.
Trim routers with a screw adjust or roller gear have another important benefit: a mechanical interlock between the base and motor housing. When the base is tightened, it can't accidentally move up or down. If you make a heavy cut with machines that don't interlock, vibration may cause the motor to slip down inside the base, leading the bit to cut deeper.This isn't a common problem, though, since trim routers aren't generally intended for heavy cuts.
Was this article helpful?
There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.