This is a very quick and easy jig to make and is easy and quick to use. It will work for any router, provided the base can sit within the slots and that the router bit will drop drown on top of the depth gauge wood that you select. This jig will NOT work for router bits that have a bearing, but on some selected bits, it may be possible to drill holes in the depth gauge wood and still use this methodology.

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I started off with a known base which for me was someone inch thick MDF material. I measured my router bases and decided that a 10-inch square base would be easy to handle and would work with all three of my routers ... 

Wood Router Jig for Setting Depth

Next, I needed to cut a hole, roughly in the middle of the base. This hole needs to be big enough to accommodate your larges router bit, and/or whatever hole saw you happen to have, or even a large Forstner bit would work in many cases.  I made mine 2.75 inches which is a bit large, but as long as it fits you router bases and bits, any size will work.

Next, I cut out the sides of the holes so there was a slot. You could even cut this whole slot out on a bandsaw. Like many things in woodworking, there are often many ways of making the same thing. 

Ultimately you should be left with a one inch thick base with some sort of a slot in it. At this point, you could fasten a bottom to the main body of the jig. I fastened mine with wood screws, making sure they were tight to the body of the jig. 

Router depth gauge blanks

The next thing to make will be your depth gauge blanks. If your main base is one inch thick, here are some example of the blanks you may want to make.

Thickness of Blank         Depth of Cut it Will Give 
 1/4 Inch  3/4 Inch 
 3/8 Inch  5/8 Inch 
 1/2 Inch  1/2 Inch 
 5/8 Inch  3/8 Inch 
 3/4 Inch  1/4 Inch 
 7/8 Inch  1/8 Inch 

Now it comes to using this jig and it is similar to whether you have a fixed base or a plunge router. The fixed base is easy, the plunge router requires an extra step. With both routers, you select the blank that will give you the depth you want. With the fixed base router you simple set that depth and now your router will cut to the depth you have set it at.

Router Depth Setter

A plunge router is similar but requires to set the depth gauge pin that will butt onto the router's turret. The setting of the turret is not important, only that it is set to a lever that the depth gauge bar will reach to, so select a depth gauge blank, allow the router bit to drop down to touch the blank, then set the depth gauge so that the bar touches the turret, then lock the bar in place, usually with a twist knob. Now release the routers depth gauge locking lever and the router will return to it's "home" position. To make you cut, take the router to your workpiece and if making a plunge cut into the wood, simply turn the router on and plunge the bit into the wood until the routers depth gauge locking pin has reached its limit, the hold the router down or lock it down (some lock down automatically and you need to touch the locking lever to release it and allow it to move up).  This same method is true whether you are plunging directly into the wood, or plunging on the side of the wood and moving the router into the wood from the edge.

In either case, this easily made jig will give you quick accurate depth results and years and years of use ...  

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Copyright Colin Knecht

 Router Depth Setter Jig