Woodworking Tools

The Basics of Routers and Router Tables

Is it any wonder routers and router tables have leaped in popularity in recent years? There are many reasons why routers are becoming more and more popular. 

Even if this is the ONLY power tool you own, you can still make many, many projects with it.
Routers and router tables take up less space than most other power tools
The vast selection of bits and attachments makes them extremely versatile
They are easy to use and capable of excellent results.

If you ever talk to anyone who has a router, you will find they often have 2 or 3 routers or they have none at all. Unless you are Norm Abram from the New Yankee Workshop who admitted to having 25 routers during one episode of rebuild a work bench. You may ask, “why would anyone need more than one router?” but the answer is more complex. Most of of bought routers years ago, like an older Craftsman or even a Makita, but with the advances they have made in recent years we have also purchased new routers from makers like Dewalt, Porter Cable, Freud or Festool.

One of the advantages to having more than one router is that very often you need to do some sort of a routing project with a router that is not mounted in a table. This means we can do routing with one router mounted in the table and other router work like edging with another router.

Many of you have already leaped ahead at the mention of two routers and are now questioning what the real differences are between fixed base and plunge routers. Well, we need to step back for a moment for those who are not as familiar with routers to briefly explain that there are basically two types of routers. 1) Fixed base routers and 2) Plunge routers. Both routers allow the up and down movement of the bit, the difference is that a plunge router contains springs that allows the user to move the router up and down during the router procedure. A fixed base router must be turned off in order to adjust the bit height and then it is fixed in that position throughout the cut. More on these later.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind with any router is that if you are a woodworker (as opposed to working on house construction or renovation), your router use, using a router table, will likely be 80% of the time or more. Most woodworkers find that a router without a router table gets very little use, so if you are buying a router you should probably also be purchasing a router table with it. There are of course a few exceptions but generally woodworkers use routers mounted in router tables.

I'm often asked, what should I purchase a fixed base or a plunge router. My answer is always the same, a plunger router will do anything a fixed base router will do and more. Plunge routers are normally a bit more expensive but are more versatile in their use. If you are using ONLY a router table, a fixed base would work fine, the real problem is that once you begin to see what can be done with a router, you will want to use it both on and off the router table.

If you really want to expand your woodworking experiences and get into doing some innovative and creative work then get yourself a good router and explore what can be done.

Copyright - Colin Knecht


Freud Quadra-Cut Round Over Bits

 Any ROUTER with a ROUND OVER BIT is probably one of the most used combinations in woodworking. Virtually every woodworker has at least one router and one of the first and most useful bits they will ever purchase is the round over bit. If you are like me, you problably have a few different sizes of these too.

Round over bits are great ... MOST of the time, but sometimes with the direction the grain runs on some wood that round over bit you love so much will actually tear out or rip the grain of that wood you are trying to round over. Very often the tear-out is hard to see, but run your hand over it and sure enough, it's rough. There is nothing left to do except hopefully sand the rough part down, and hope it doesn't have to be sanded down so far that it starts to become an obvious flaw in the piece.

Does this sound familiar to you ... you bet it does, has happened to all of us. But no worries, Feud to the rescue with their introduction of Quadra Cut bits. The difference with these bits is they now have 4 cutter heads in stead of 2 like most other router bits. So why 4 cutters instead of 2, well the answer is a few reasons.     

First of all a bit with 4 cutters, especially when using a roundover bit, the cut will be smoother with much less chance of any wood tearout.This is especially true on cross grain. Tearour or rough cutting can still happen, but IF it happens at all it will be minimized. the second advantabe to 4 cutters instead of 2 is that the bit will tend to last longer, or at least stay sharper longer as each of the 4 cutters is doing less work. This means the carbide is less suseptible to wear.

Woodworking Clamps Reviewed ... Bar Clamps, Pipe Clamps, Quick Clamps and the list goes on.

Have you ever stopped to think about woodworking clamps? Do you have any idea how many different kinds there are, not to mention their uses? ... We were absolutely blown away when we started to investigate the different types of clamps, uses and brands. Long gone are the days when some a few simple clamps would do the trick for you. Now we need to have all sorts of different types, different sizes and in some cases specialty clamps are needed.

Have a look at the Woodworkweb Amazon Section that included CLAMPS

But it's ALL GOOD!! ... because clamps make our lives much easier. They speed up project times and ease and contribute to making complex woodworking project easier to do. Take a moment and see what we discovered about clamps.

The history of clamps appears somewhat vague, depending on who you listen to, but whats really important is what selection of clamps we have now and how they are used.

 The most common clamps in use today are used for glueing boards together or for glueing projects together. These clamps are normally long clamps and use steel pipe or bar material as the medium to pull and hold parts together.

Somewaht new to the market are the quick release variety of clamps. These come from a variety of manufacturers and some are good while others are not as smooth to use and can be frustrating and cumbersome to use. These are among the most popular and widely used clamps as the design is so quick and handy to use ... AND they come in a variety of sizes. We prefer Irwin clamps based on their higher quality of manufacture. They work smoothly and well constructed .... to last !!.

Then there is the whole world of speciaty clamps that seem to come in an ever widening assortment of types, angles and sizes. The purpose of these is to help woodworkers who are engaged in special projects that traditional clamps are akward to use or take too much time to set up, and risk having glue start to set before the project is securely clamped.

We can't forget about all those old tradional clamp and hand clamps that all STILL have multitudes of use in the workshop, hand clamps, "C" Clamps and Deep Throat bar clamps ... all are still very usefull, needed and as popular as ever.

And now for two of my all time favorite clamps, picked because they make my life easier, are quick and handy to use and produce remarkable results ... that make ME look good ... The Assembly Square Clamp is one of the most useful tools I own. I squares up and holds onto the sides of my projects at the same time ... I cannont speak highly enoug of this incredible invention. 

The Jimmy Jig for Table Saws

Seumas McCombie has invented a innovative sliding table top jig for table saws that makes cutting safer and more accurate. By simply clamping this jig to your standard table saw you can make single person cuts to material up to 30 feet long while keeping the material 100% pallerall to the saw blade.

 The concept of the Original Jimmy Jig is a new saw fence technology. It stands out in the crowd and has the simple answer for the table saw's short comings because this technology is the only concept that has the rip fence as an integral part of the platform which simply makes more sense. This concept will simplify the handling and cutting of sheet material, at the same time eliminates the need for these large and permanently mounted side and out feed tables. It will retrofit any table saw large or small and with many other cutting tools, like a router, attached to a spare insert and placed inside the aperture for your router operations , it doubles as a router table, it also has a unique splitter that is 4 ins long. On the fence up front of the blade the automatic hold-down and hold-in will adjust automatically to changes in material width and height up to 8ins in width and 4 ins in height.

 The apertured platform; 5ft.long by 2ft. 6ins. wide, which allows the passage of the jig to bypass the cutting tool and also expands the support area on all sides of the blade and the tabletop's envelope, weighing approximately 30lbs. It is portable, removable and can be hung on the wall allowing the floor space to be used for other woodworking operations. This platform concept will also accommodate a router or any other cutting tool with a blade protruding through a table top The router can be placed any distance along the said aperture being utilized as a vertical jointer using a large straight cutter.The fixed 3in.high by 5/8in.thick fence is ideal for the attachment of other shop built jigs, and extends beyond the front and back of the jig enhancing the control of the the material being cut

“I have gone to great depths to eliminate the dangers on a table saw, in particular the dangerous kick-back, with all my safety devices placed up front of the cutting tool or blade, infact every thing is up front excepting the splitter which is 4 in long , not a slim 3/4 in and it is the only table saw fence system that uses the only true fixed fence technology , copied my many but never utilized to the full extent of the original , only on the original , Seumas is a Carpenter, joiner and cabinetmaker to trade , learning his trade the old fashioned way, with hand tools, thank you for your interest” Writes Seumas

For more information on the Jimmy Jig or to order plans to make your own you can visits Seumas McCombie website https://www.jimmyjig.ca/