What is a Router? Do I Really Need One?

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doublemommy
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Q:

I was excited to build some bookshelves for my daughter's room, but the step-by-step directions I found say I need a power tool called a router.  This sounds serious!  I don't know exactly what that is and why I should use one.  Can you help?

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A router can be one of the most useful DIY tools you can own.  But most people are still very intimidated by them.  What is a router anyway and how do you use it?  Routers are very versatile and relatively safe and easy to use.  In simplest terms, it’s a shaft that runs off a motor. At the end of the shaft, there’s a router bit or cutter head. Basically, it’s the device that actually makes the shape or in router terms, the profile.  There are many projects you can take on with the help of a router…

  • Adding a decorative edge to furniture
  • Creating your own crown molding or chair rail
  • Building furniture
  • Adding a cable/speaker wire port to an existing cabinet or TV stand.
  • Adding a decorative edge on a fence before installing

 If you’re still a little hesitant, there is a great new starter kit available from Skil… perfect for beginners.  The router’s Soft Start Technology practically eliminates that kick-back you get when you turn it on. You’ll get better control over the tool as a result.  Plus it has micro fine depth adjustment for very precise measurements.  The kit comes with a bunch of extras including a plunge base, a fixed base and a carrying bag.  

As far as using a router safely, remember to wear safety glasses, and maybe even earplugs.  Clamp smaller pieces to a work station.  Always keep both hands on the router, and use multiple and shallow passes for the best results.  Follow these safety tips and then go ahead and play with your new router!

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