A router is a woodworking tool used for cutting, cleaning and smoothing
grooves / depressed surfaces parallel with the surface of the work.
The scope of this router article covers hand routers.
Traditionally in the days of past when routers were an unknown tool,
woodworkers would place a chisel through a block of wood and secure
the chisel at the required depth. This method was later improved upon
and advanced into a wooden router often referred to as a 'granny tooth router'
or 'old woman's tooth router'.
These old methods of routering were capable of carrying out their job role however they weren't a very refined tool to router with, in particular they didn't have a fine mechanism for adjusting the depth at which the cutter was set.
The next evolution step in the router was the development of the metal router. With a few exceptions, the main, most popular metal routers sold to market were very similar in design consisting of two knobs for handles, cutters of almost identical design and a sensitive means of adjusting the depth of cut; this type of router is today sometimes referred to as a router plane.
The inventors of these metal routers had also
mastered the effectiveness of the cut; the wooden routers of the
past were prone to tearing the wood whereas the metal routers cut very
The metal router is still made today and still holds a very similar form to the early metal routers.
The router has also been developed as a power tool.
A closed throat router has a router body with a flat closed face, where as an open throat / mouth router has a raised hollow arch (bridge) at the front of the router.
An open throat router allows you a better view of where you are routering.
A closed throat router is better suited for very narrow work e.g. working on the edge of a board. The closed throat offers more stability.
A router fence usually fixes to the bottom of a router set at the required
distance from the cutter.
The idea is the edge of the router fence will be placed against an edge of the piece of wood being worked and the user will run the router along the wood making sure the router fence stays in contact with the edge of the wood the whole time.
This basically allows the user to guide the router cutter along a piece of wood at a set distance from an edge; keeping the cutter at an equal distance from the fence provides a constant straight cut or groove.
A typical hand router consists of the following parts (or some of the following parts):
There have been a number of router makers in the past, with just a few present makers. Below are a list of a few well known hand router makers:
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