Will Plunger Router Work With Tracing

The easy, economical, sensible answer is: Use what you've got. You already have it, so you don't have to spend any money for it. Your bits fit it. You probably know its foibles.

Here are several alternative answers. Pick the one that works for you.

• Get a midsized Bosch, Elu, Porter-Cable, or other manufacturer's fixed-base router with a 3l/i-inch-diametcr motor. Buy an extra base for it. Buy Porter-Cable's plunge base, too. Mount the extra fixed base on the router table's mounting plate and leave it there. Switch the motor from fixed base to plunge base to table-mounted base as the job demands. One router, three very different applications. All at a considerable savings.

• Use a fixed-base router. It is by design more rigid than a comparable plunge router. When powering a heavy and/or large-diameter bit, this rigidity will reduce flexing and consequent bit chattering.

• Use a plunge router because, contrary to what you might think, it's easier to adjust its depth of cut. Just be sure to kit it out with a micro-adjusting handle. This gizmo turns the plunger into a fixed-base machine, but one with a very precision adjusting mechanism.

• Use the biggest horse you can afford. It will run all day long, doing the small jobs as well as the big ones. A small or midsized router may run just as long, but it won't handle the big jobs as easily as it docs the small and midsized ones. In other words, a BIG router gives across-the-board capability. Nothing else does.

• Don't use more router for the job than you need. A BIG router sucks a lot of juice, regardless of the job it's doing. It costs more to buy; ergo, it's going to cost more to repair. With a midsized router—it's easy on the pockerbook, easy on energy—you can even raise panels if you select the right bit and setup. (Sec "Making Panels" on page 206 for proof.)

If cost is a sticking point,you can get the ciTcct of having three routers when you only have one. Porter-Cable makes a plunge base that accommodates most any 3V¿-inch-diameter router motor, regardless of make. Buy this base for hand-held plunge-routing operations, plus an extra (fixed) base to dedicate to your router table. Your midsized, handheld, fixed-base router thus can he "three routers." The cost of one router with two extra bases is about $150 less than that of three comparable routers.

• liquip every router you own with a mounting plate sized for your router table. When doing hand-held operations, you work with an oversized baseplate. And any router will drop into your table.

Thoroughly annoyed by these conflicting answers? Please don't be. All have truth in them. But the initial question is one that begets questions. What work are you going to do? Just general woodworking? Or do you have a special project lined up? What router do you already have? What router do you want to buy? Or would you rather not buy a router foF this? Only you know what's in your mind. Maybe the router table is an excuse to buy some dream router. Maybe it's an excuse to add to a collection. Maybe your rallying cry is: "More power!" Maybe you are on a tight budget.

Askyoursel/thc question, and you'll find yourself the answer that's correct for you.

The $20 micro-adjusting rod turns a plunge router into a fixed-base router. The rod makes minute adjustments to depth of cut easier to accomplish than with any existing fixed-base machine; for router-table use, this is great! The threaded rod links the motor to the base. As you "tighten" the rod, it screws the motor slowly and evenly toward the base. If a full turn of the rod raises the hit '/m inch, imagine what a half-turn or quarter turn will do.

If cost is a sticking point,you can get the ciTcct of having three routers when you only have one. Porter-Cable makes a plunge base that accommodates most any 3V¿-inch-diameter router motor, regardless of make. Buy this base for hand-held plunge-routing operations, plus an extra (fixed) base to dedicate to your router table. Your midsized, handheld, fixed-base router thus can he "three routers." The cost of one router with two extra bases is about $150 less than that of three comparable routers.

and rabbeted for template guides, but without any mounting holes. These you lay out and drill yourself. (Both configurations will have a hole for a starting pin.)

If you can make a custom baseplate, there's no reason you can't make a mounting plate. More information about the materials and about techniques for working them is in the chapter "Custom Baseplates."

Installing the Mounting Plate

Whether you buy the plate or make it. you should have it in hand before cutting the tabletop opening for it. There's no question that the mounting plate must fit properly in the tabletop.

It's got to be dead flush with the tabletop surface, so work doesn't get hung up. If the plate is high or low. there's an edge somewhere to catch and stop work being fed across it. If the plate is loose in the opening, the gap between plate and tabletop fills with dust and chips, hindering the smooth movement of the work, perhaps throwing off setups. Moreover. a loose plate can shift position when the router is switched on. again throwing off a precise setup. If the fit is too tight, you may not even get the plate into the opening. If you do, the plate may be distorted.

So the real question is: How do 1 achieve that just-right fit?

The answer: Use a router and a %-ineh straight bit to make the critical first cut, guiding it with a template derived from the mounting plate. Make the framelike template from i4*inch plywood or hardboard, and use it to guide the router base.

1. To start, place the mounting plate on the template stock and trace around it with a sharp pencil. If the plate has rounded corners, as some commercial plates do. use a draftsman's circle template to locate the ccntcrpoint of each comer's radius.

2. The next step is to bump up the template outline to account for the base of the router you'll use to cut the top. Draw lines on the template stock parallel to those traced from the mounting plate. The distance away from the plate tracing that you position these new lines is the difference between the bit's radius and the baseplate's radius, as shown in the drawing below. If the comers arc rounded, use a compass to scribe them, pivoting on the comer center-points.

&UMPING UP TUE MOUNTING PLATE TRACING

IF APPROPRIATE, ROUND CORNERS WITH COMPASS,USING MOUNTING PLATES CORNER

CENTER POINTS.

MAKl TEMPLATE TO CUIOE ROUTER BY BUMPING UP MOUNTING PLATE» 5CRIBE LINES PARALLEL TO PLATE TRACING.

&UMPING UP TUE MOUNTING PLATE TRACING

IF APPROPRIATE, ROUND CORNERS WITH COMPASS,USING MOUNTING PLATES CORNER

CENTER POINTS.

MAKl TEMPLATE TO CUIOE ROUTER BY BUMPING UP MOUNTING PLATE» 5CRIBE LINES PARALLEL TO PLATE TRACING.

TRACE AROUND MOUNTING PLATE ON TEMPLATE STOCK.

TEMPLATE STOCK

•LOCATE CORNER CENTERPOIWTS.IF NECESSARY. WITH DRAFTSMAN'S CIRCLE TEMPLATE.

TRACE AROUND MOUNTING PLATE ON TEMPLATE STOCK.

TEMPLATE STOCK

DISTANCE BETWEEN UNES EQUALS RAOIUS OF ROUTER MINUS RAOIUS OF NT.

•LOCATE CORNER CENTERPOIWTS.IF NECESSARY. WITH DRAFTSMAN'S CIRCLE TEMPLATE.

3. With a saber saw, cut out the template. While you want to avoid a cut that wanders, little ripples and rough saw marks shouldn't transfer to the router cut (though they would if you were referencing a template guide against the template rather than the router baseplate).

4. Test the template. Use a piece of plywood the size of the template. Position the template on the test panel and clamp it. Use the router and a Ve-inch straight bit to cut a groove. Lay the mounting plate over the test cut: its outside edge should just line up with the outside edge of the groove. If the test cut demonstrates that the template is too big or too small, repeat the whole process to make and test a new template.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

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.

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