I am new to woodworking in general but have taken a shine to it, I am currently trying to make an storage cabinet and I need to purchase a router but am a bit confused as to which one do I buy, what is the difference between 1/2" and a 1/4" router?
1/2 and 1/4 inch router refers to the size of the shank of the cutter and to the collet that holds the cutter.to confuse things a little more some routers have an insert which allows you to use 1/4 inch shank bits in a 1/2 inch router.most routers are 1/4 inch and are perfectly suited to most jobs.i hope this helps.
Hi Wigglewood, Welcome to woodworking
Many of the better routers come with both 1/4 and 1/2 collets. A few of the bigger bits ie for door making, are only available in 1/2". Also important is the horsepower of the router. If you can try to get at least 2 hp so you can handle the bigger routing jobs when needed. Opiewan is correct in saying 1/4 will work fine for most jobs.
Just my opinion
Just be careful using a router if you never used one before. This is because you should pay attention to the direction of your cut. If you are feeding the board the wrong way, then you may have an accident. Also the bit may not be covered as well as some other tools.
I consider routers to be an intermediate to advanced skill level only because of how versatile and dangerous it is. It's not a beginner tool like a cordless drill or palm sander where you can use immediately out of the box.
I don't mean to discourage anyone from using routers because they are so versatile and can do many different things. Routers are among my favorite tools. I just think it would be wise to have some kind of training with an experienced woodworker before using a router on any projects. This way the person will know how to use it properly and can avoid injury from it.
A couple of things you need to consider are, plunge vs. stationary base, horse power and variable speed control. Knowing what you will be using it for helps determine which way to go, for example, if you are going to be routing cabinet raised panel doors, variable speed and a decent HP is a must. If you want to cut a daido starting a few inchs in from the edge of a board you will need a plunge router so you can plunge it down into the wood to start the cut...
I think it is a middle of the road router but I have the Bosh 1617EVSPK and love it. It can use both the 1/4 and 1/2 bits, comes with both a stationary and plunge base, has variable speed control and has plenty of HP so covers most everything I would want to do with a router. JMHO