All Posts by woodworkersworld

Plunge Router vs Fixed Base Router

​Woodworking is a task that takes a good amount of work and dedication but the results that you can get from it are incredible, especially when you have the right materials.

There are quite a few things that you will want to look for and make sure that you have when you first begin getting into woodworking. One of these things is going to be a router.

The router is one of the first tools that people will use in a woodworking environment and it is one that will be used even well after you have first learned woodworking.

Routers are an incredibly versatile tool, making it all the more important that you invest your money in a router that will best serve your purposes.

Plunge Router vs Fixed Base Router

There are two main types of routers that you will be looking at as you delve deeper into the world of woodworking: plunge routers and fixed base routers. Each router has its benefits and drawbacks over the other, which makes it even more important for you to understand what makes each router different from each other.

What Is a Plunge Router?

Before you can decide whether a plunge router or a fixed base router is better for your needs, you will first need to understand what exactly each router is. The plunge router is a router that can be a little bit complex at first but once you have gotten used to it, it will be incredibly easy to use.

Plunge routers have two arms on them with one on each side of the router. This allows you to manually plunge into the wood to begin cutting the material, hence the name “plunge” router. To put it simply, you have to drive the cutting part of the router into the wood using your own force to begin cutting the wood.

This gives you more control over the router, offering a smooth experience and the ability to cut a little bit better. Some people worry about the plunge router not being able to handle edge-working but as long as you use the router properly, you will be able to use it with ease.

What Is a Fixed Base Router?

These routers, as the name might suggest, are routers that have a fixed base rather than one you move up and down into the wood.

Generally, these routers are going to be what you encounter most in a professional woodworking shop so it doesn’t hurt to get used to using one even if you are more interested in a plunge router.

Fixed base routers are also easier for newer users to use as you don’t have to worry about manually adjusting much. Once you place the router where it needs to be, it is physically locked onto the place and it is completely set.

The ​router bit won’t be moving anywhere and you are free to move the wood as you please. Because of this, you will be able to cut with much more precision than you otherwise would be able to. 

This router is best for people who do precision work or are new to the woodworking scene. Both this and the plunge router have their specific benefits and drawbacks, though.

Where Does the Plunge Router Excel?

Plunge routers are amazing when you need to adjust the depth of the cutting bit exactly where you need it to be. After all, plunge routers are designed to work based on the amount of force that you apply to the cutting bit at first.

These routers also provide you with far more control when you have to move vertically than any other router would. Plunge routers offer you more versatility and mobility than a router that can only stay in one place, making them wonderful for people who need to work with varying depths of cuts.

Where Does the Plunge Router Fall Short?

Plunge routers also tend to be much more expensive than their fixed base counterparts. Of course, anything that provides as much versatility as the plunge router is going to be pricier, which is unfortunate.

Plunge routers are also not the best routers for people who are new to woodworking as a whole as they depend on your knowledge of cutting and depth. You also have to move them onto the material that you want to cut. You cannot use a base for them, which can be troublesome at times.

Plunge routers should really only be used by experienced woodworkers who are willing to move the router every time that something needs to be cut and who have the money to pay for the expensive router.

Where Does the Fixed Base Router Excel?

Fixed base routers are absolutely wonderful for people who might not be as well versed in woodworking. Considering the fact that this router is not a particularly large power tool nor does it involve a lot of materials, it is one of the best introductions to the machinery involved in woodworking.

You can also use these routers to properly shape the edges of the wood as you need, which is something that the plunge router cannot do nearly as well. Fixed base routers are also light and easy to maneuver, especially if you have a table base to mount them on. These routers provide you with the precision that you need without requiring years of woodworking experience to use.

Where Does the Fixed Base Router Fall Short?

Fixed base routers, unfortunately, do not offer the same type of versatility that plunge routers do. If you need to do work that requires you to maneuver the router in a variety of ways, the fixed base router might not be the best choice for you.

 Additionally, the fixed base router cannot begin cutting from the middle of the wood. This is because fixed base routers also have a fixed cutting bit and the middle of the wood is almost always above that fixed bit. This can be troublesome for some work projects.

Which Router Is Better?

Determining which router is better depends on what you need to use the router for and your experience in woodworking. If you are new to the woodworking scene and are trying to get the best possible equipment, you might want to wait a bit before you invest the money in the plunge router as it can be difficult for novices to easily use. However, if you have the experience and need to work on a piece of wood with varying depths, then this is the router for you.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a router that can cut wood easily and can be used by people who are new to woodworking, then you might want to look at the fixed base router. This router, while not as versatile as a plunge router, can easily get the job done and is the perfect introduction to woodworking tools.

Best Router Bits 2019 – (Buyer’s Guide)

Deciding on the best router bits for your wood shop is not an easy task. There is a huge range of bits available and it can be quite intimidating even for the most experienced woodworker.

Investing in a good router bit set from the start doesn't mean buying the most expensive set available.

Buy what you need and will be using the most often. Over time as your skill and needs increase you can start to purchase the more specialized bits. 

Best Router Bits 2019

1. Frued 91-100 13-Piece Router Bit Set Review

​Freud is a trusted manufacturer of saw blades and router bits. This 13-piece set includes a great selection of bits, so you can test the durability of Freud products for yourself. The main details of this set include the following:

  • 13 bits with 1/2 inch shank
  • Wooden shadow box
  • Carbide/titanium tips on all bits

​These bits are intended for hand-held or table-mounted portable routers. They have also been tested for use at the highest speeds, exceeding the 22,000-RPMs delivered by most portable routers.

Advantages and Disadvantages

​The 13-piece router bit set includes a variety of the most commonly used bits. They also come in a beautifully-crafted wooden shadow box that you can mount on the wall. However, the greatest advantage is the quality of the bits.

The bits are tipped in a long-lasting carbide-titanium material that was created and patented by Freud. This material offers more durability, ensuring that these bits last through many woodworking projects.

Each bit is also computer-balanced to limit vibration and chatter. They also feature tri-metal brazing and an anti-kickback design. These details help make this one of the top sets of bits available.

While there are no major disadvantages to this set, some people may not enjoy the price. As with most products, you need to spend more to get the best quality.

Why Should You Consider Getting the Freud 13-Piece Set?

This 13-piece super router bit set from Freud may cost a little more than some other options. However, the bits are worth every penny. You get high-quality router bits that can withstand heavy-duty applications and regular use.

You also get a nice selection of bits of varying sizes and styles. The variety of bits makes this a top choice for beginners looking to get started in carpentry. In the end, the Freud 91-100 13-piece super router bit set includes some of the best bits that money can buy.

2. MCLS 8369 1/2" 30 Piece Set  Review

MLCS offers this 30-piece carbide-tipped router bit set at a great price for the number of bits that you get. You also get a wonderful selection of commonly-used bits with 1/2-inch shanks, along with these features: 

  • Carbide tipped bits 
  • Quality wood storage box
  • Three-year quality guarantee

This is considered a budget set of router bits, as they are not built for strength. However, they do have a 1/2-inch shank, which makes them more durable than some of the other budget sets.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The top benefit of this set is the variety of bits. You get 30 pieces, offering enough choices to suit almost any type of project. You get the cove bit, flush trim bit, dovetail bit, 45-degree chamfer bit, five straight bits, and many more to choose from.

The storage box is also a nice feature. It holds the bits in place, with each spot clearly labeled. The label includes the size of the bit and an illustration of the cut.

The bits are also backed by a three-year warranty against defects. This does not mean that you can get your bits replaced when they break. However, if you notice any flaws or defects, you should have no problem getting a replacement.

Start Woodworking with a Great Starter Set

These are not professional quality router bits. They are mostly intended for amateur woodworkers that need a variety of bits to start their first woodworking projects.

The bits are well made. They offer precision and balance and work with most routers. However, they are unlikely to hold up to repeated use. Luckily, they are affordable.

You get a great selection of useful bits. If one breaks, you can likely find a substitute within the set. When you need a set of various bits at a reasonable price, consider getting the MLCS 8369 carbide-tipped router bit set. 

 3. Neiko 10115A Premium Bit Set Review

When you are first getting into woodworking, determining which bits you need is a challenge. The Neiko 10115A router bit set helps you out by providing 80 bits. You get almost any bit that you may need, along with these features:

  • 1/2-inch shanks
  • Tungsten carbide blade tips
  • Hardened solid alloy steel with

The main construction features hardened solid alloy steel, along with a powder coating for increased durability. The bits are stored in an aluminum case, with labels for each of the bits in the set.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The Neiko 10115A is one of the most versatile sets. It includes 80 pieces, which is more than most hobbyists will know what do with. While there is a good chance that you may not use every bit in the set, at least you have a wide variety of options.

The bits also have a 1/2-inch shank, which is used by most routers and increases the thickness of the bit. However, these are not the most durable bits available. While the main construction material should hold up to repeated use, the carbide tips may start to wear quickly.

Another issue is the durability of the case. The aluminum case dents easily. This is a minor inconvenience more than a major drawback, as the case does not affect the performance of the bits.

Best Value for Your Money Bit Set

The Neiko 10115A Premium Tungsten Carbide router bit set offers the best value for your money. You get 80 bits, including the bits that you will likely use most often on your woodworking projects. While the bits may start to wear quickly, you get multiple bits of the same size and shape.

The Neiko 80-piece set is best suited for beginners or those that need to have a wide variety of bits available when needed.

4. Frued Adjustable Tongue 99-036 Review

Tongue and groove bits are two of the most useful bits in woodworking and joining. However, you may need a variety of bits for different sized cuts.

The Freud adjustable tongue and groove set solves this problem by letting you adjust the tongue and groove width. Examine the main details of this set to learn more: 

  • Adjustable between 1/2 inch and 1-1/4 inch thickness
  • Groove widths of 7/32 to 3/8 inches
  • Suitable for use on all types of wood
  • Bits feature a 1/2 inch shank

The tongue and groove bits are commonly used when cutting to create a joint. With adjustable bits, there is a small dial that you adjust to change the height and width of the tongue or groove. This allows you to use the bit for different cuts without having to switch bits.

Advantages and Disadvantages

These are the best tongue and groove bits that money can buy. The precision and balance are hard to match, thanks to the quality manufacturing processes used by Freud. You should not need to replace either bit for some time, even when cutting through tough materials.

The quality of the bits is also backed by a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer. The company stands behind their products, which is another reason to consider spending the extra money on durable bits such as these.

Top Quality Tongue and Groove Bits

When you purchase the specific bits that you need for a project, you can take the time to find the best option. For tongue and groove bits, this set from Freud is the top choice.

These quality bits feature patented TiCo high density carbide tips that are unlikely to wear. They are also adjustable, eliminating the need for multiple tongue and groove bits.

The bottom line is that the Freud adjustable tongue and groove bit set is another example of why Freud is the leading manufacturer of router bits.

5. MCLS 6077 15 Piece Router Bit Set Review

When you need a variety of economy bits, MLCS is a trusted brand. This 15-piece set of 1/4-inch shank bits is a top choice for hobbyists thanks to these product features:

  • 15 router bits with 1/4 inch shanks
  • Carbide tipped bits
  • Attractive wooden storage box
  • Includes an Allen wrench and bearing

The 15 bits include the bits that you are most likely to need during your woodworking projects. You get four straight bits, along with a cove bit, rounding-over bit, V-groove bit, and a flush trim bit.

The set also includes a bearing to convert the round over bit into a beading bit. All the pieces fit perfectly in the provided wood storage box.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The primary advantage of the MLCS 6077 Woodworking Carbide Tipped bit set is the value. You get 15 pieces at a low price.

When using budget bits such as these, you should not expect them to last forever. They are built to provide precise cuts until the carbide tip starts to wear. Depending on the type of material that you use and the frequency of use, they may start to wear within a few days or a few years.

You may also end up with a few broken bits if you use them for heavy duty cutting projects. However, you are not spending a lot on this set, so a broken bit is not a major problem.

Who Should Consider Getting This Router Bit Set?

The MLCS 6077 woodworking router bit set is meant for beginners. The manufacturers even describe this set as the perfect all purpose starter set, which is an accurate description. They are not the lowest-quality bits, but they are not high-end bits either.

If you want professional-grade bits, you need to spend more. However, the low price provides a good entry point for anyone that is just learning how to use a router.

6. Whiteside 401 Basic Router Bits Review

The Whiteside 401 router bit set offers seven bits with 1/2-inch shanks in a sturdy plastic case. The bits are expertly crafted to offer better balance when using a high RPM. Other details to consider include:

  • Seven commonly used router bits
  • Durable hard plastic storage case
  • Removable bearing on the bits

Like most router bit sets, these bits are suitable for use with a handheld router or a router table. They also feature the standard 1/2-inch shank, which provides more durability compared to the 1/4-inch shanks.

The bits that come with this set include the cove bit, rounding-over bit, rabbeting bit, 45-degree chamfer bit, straight double flute bit, flush trim bit, and a 1/4-inch straight bit.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The Whiteside router bits have received a lot of positive comments from customers, comparing them to the bits manufactured by Freud. In fact, professionals often use Whiteside router bits, as they tend to cost less than Freud router bits while still offering similar quality.

The main benefit is the durability of the bits. They hold up to regular use and are suitable for high RPM cutting.

While these bits are not as expensive as the Freud bits, they are still more expensive than most of your other options. A beginner woodworking hobbyist may not want to spend the money on these bits without first testing out a less expensive set of bits.

Top Quality Bits at a Reasonable Price

If you do not want a budget set of router bits and do not want to spend the money on the highest-end option, the Whiteside router bit set is a perfect choice. The bits are durable, balanced, and sharp. They should hold up to repeated use, no matter what material you are cutting.

Overall, the Whiteside 401 7-piece router bit set is a fantastic option for hobbyists or professionals that want a solid set of bits that should last for many years. 

7. Dremel 692 6-Piece Router Bits Set Review

The Dremel 6-piece router bit set gives you six high-quality bits constructed of high-speed steel. However, you should explore the details of this set before ordering. Here are the main features:

  • Six router bits
  • Built from high-speed steel
  • Includes storage case

The manufacturer recommends that you do not use these bits with speeds exceeding 30,000 RPM. However, most handheld routers have a range of 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. Unless you are using these bits in an industrial setting, you should not have a problem with this limitation.

Advantages and Disadvantages

These are quality bits and suited for regular use without noticeable wear and tear unless you use them regularly on harder materials. They have been carefully crafted for balance and precision and feature the standard carbide tips.

If you need to find a drawback, it is the selection of bits. You do get two straight router bits.

However, the remaining four bits are not the most commonly used bits. You get a piloted beading router bit, corner rounding bit, core box bit, and a chamfer router bit.

Reliable Router Bit Set at a Decent Price

The cost per bit is right in the middle compared to other brands. You are getting six quality bits that are suitable for a wide range of uses, including heavy duty renovation work.

The durability of these bits makes them suitable for professional work or DIY woodworking projects and home renovations. However, they may start to wear or break when used regularly on hardwoods.

In the end, these bits are great when working with soft materials. You can use them for inlaying and mortising. The only major drawback is that this set is not versatile. You get a limited set of bits that are primarily intended for a limited set of projects.

8. Stalwart 24 Piece Bit Set Review

The Stalwart Multi-Purpose 24-piece router bit set is intended for hobbyists looking for a starter set. You may not know which bits you need, so it is nice to have a variety. Here are the main product details:

  • 24-piece set
  • 1/4 inch shanks
  • Carbide tipped bits
  • Wooden storage case

​The 24 pieces fit nicely in the provided wooden storage case. Each slot includes the name and size of the bit, along with an outline of the type of cut that it is used for.

The bits feature 1/4-inch shanks. The 1/4-inch shanks may not be as durable as 1/2-inch shanks, but the smaller size reduces the cost of the bit set. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

This set from Stalwart has two main advantages. The top advantage is the price. This is one of the most affordable sets when considering the number of bits that you get.

You get 24 pieces, including an Allen wrench for removing bearings, giving you a variety of bits for a variety of woodworking projects. 

As you might expect from the price, these are not the most durable bits. The manufacturer does not list the material that was used for the main construction of the bits. They simply list the carbide tips, which are found on most economy bits.

While they are durable enough for working on soft woods, these bits may break when cutting through harder woods.

Should You Get This Router Bit Set?

Overall, this is a great starter set. You get a nice selection of bits at a low price. However, it may not be the right product for a serious carpenter looking for bits that can withstand heavy-duty use.
While the main material is not very durable, the bits should provide enough use for those that are just getting into woodworking and do not want to spend a lot on a decent set.

9. Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Bits Review

The Hiltex 10100 15-piece router bit set provides useful bits for edging, veining, trimming, and grooving. However, before purchasing, you should determine if they are durable enough to suit your needs. Take a closer look at the primary features of this set:

  • 15 bits with hardened alloy steel construction
  • Tungsten carbide blade tips
  • Enclosed bearing roller
  • Wooden storage case

The Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Carbide 15-piece router bit set includes many of the features that you expect from a standard bit set. The bits feature tungsten carbide tips and are constructed from hardened alloy steel.

Advantages and Disadvantages

While the bits feature the most commonly used materials, they do hold up nicely when working on softwood. The limitations of these bits start to show when the material hardens. With hardwood, do not be surprised if one or more of your bits breaks or wears after several uses.

The bits have a 1/4-inch shank. While you can typically use 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch shanks with most routers, the smaller shanks result in thinner bits that may break more easily. However, the 1/4-inch shank is also one of the reasons that this set is affordable.

These bits are not the most durable. However, they do cut well. They are balanced and sharp enough for most tasks. You may only run into issues when cutting hard materials.

One of the Least Expensive Router Sets Available

There are no major strengths or drawbacks to this set. However, it does stand out from some of your other options due to the price. This is one of the least expensive sets for beginners.

You should keep in mind that this is a budget set. You are not getting the highest-quality bits, but you are getting great value. If you just need a few basic bits to start experimenting with woodworking, consider starting with this set from Hiltex. 

Laminate Trimmer vs Router

​Finding the right tool for the job can be a challenging task, as there are often multiple options for any given project. For routing or trimming, you may find yourself trying to choose between a full-size or compact router and a laminate trimmer.

​Laminate Trimmer vs Router

The following information will help you determine which power tool is best suited for your project. Compare the primary uses of each option to decide between a laminate trimmer and a router.

​Primary Uses for a Wood Router

​A router is a common tool for woodworking and comes in a wide variety of sizes and styles. You can find compact plunge-base routers, fixed base routers, and dozens of other options.

For weekend woodworking projects, most people choose a compact router over a table-mounted router. A handheld compact router is portable and easy to use. However, a table-mounted router does provide a safer option for working with smaller materials.

While there are many sizes, the primary use of a wood router is routing. You can hollow out intricate designs for doors or panels on cabinets or for trimming around the edges.

The latest wood routers typically offer a selection of add-ons and extra features that you can purchase to increase the function and versatility of the router. For example, you can purchase trimming good router bits with guide bearings for trimming laminate. Some models also allow you to interchange a plunge base and a fixed base for working on different tasks.

Primary Uses for a Laminate Trimmer

​A laminate trimmer is a small handheld router with a few minor variations. The main difference is the size. Trimmers often feature smaller motors and may not work with larger bits.

 The compact size also allows you to use the trimmer with one hand, which can be convenient when you need an extra hand to hold down the material.

Trimmers also typically have a guide bearing attached to the router instead of the router bit. The purpose of this design is to prevent the bearing from scratching the laminate material.

As the name suggests, a laminate trimmer is designed for trimming plastic or veneer laminate. However, trimmers are also capable of handling other tasks, including light routing tasks. However, you will likely need to purchase additional router bits, depending on the project.

​Pros and Cons of Using a Trimmer or Router

​The trimmer offers several advantages compared to a compact router. However, these advantages only apply to the intended use of the trimmer, which is trimming laminate.

The guide bearing that is attached to the router makes it easier to avoid scratching and ruining laminate. You are less likely to make mistakes that may result in waste, which is always a benefit.

Trimmers are also lightweight and designed for use with one hand. When performing a lot of trimming or working in a remote location, this portability and convenience is a major advantage.

The trimmer also has a few limitations. While you can use the trimmer for some routing tasks, the smaller size is not suited for heavy-duty routing. Trimmers also typically lack the optional accessories that are available for routers.

The router is more versatile, offering a larger selection of bit sizes and add on accessories. It can do everything that a trimmer can and more. However, it may not be as convenient when trimming laminate.

Laminate Trimmer vs Router: How to Select the Right Tool

The bottom line is that the laminate trimmer is essentially a compact router designed for portability and ease of use. While it can be used to trim laminate, it is also suitable for light jobs that traditionally call for a regular router. However, a compact router is also capable of performing many of the same jobs as a laminate trimmer, and they often provide extra features and add ons, such as a plunge base.

Both products are similar and are used for the same purpose. Choosing the right one for your work table will depend on the types of projects that you typically tackle.

If you need to trim a lot of laminate, a laminate trimmer may be your best option. However, if you also need a router for performing other tasks, you may not need both tools. While it may not be as easy to use for the task, you can still use a compact router for trimming laminate.