In the process of equipping your woodworking shop, a router will probably be one of your first power tools, next to your table saw.
You may need either of the routers to round off the edges, or there might be a hole need to be drilled or a recess made in a piece of wood.
Conversely for such tasks, a fixed-base router and a plunge router are the two most common choices.
In this blog, we will talk about what is fixed-based routers and where are they used for.
This is what a fixed-based router is?
It’s no surprise that a fixed base router has a fixed base. By its name, you can already figure out what it is. You can lock or set the cutting depth of a fixed-based router, for example, if the depth is set to 1/4 inch, the bit will extend beyond the base of the router by 1/4 inch, resulting in a constant depth of 1/4 inches.
As stated above, you can set the cutting depth which means it has adjustable cutting depth. That depends on the type of project you want to use this tool for, read the manual for guidance on setting the depth cuts.
The fixed-based routers slightly differ from plunge routers.
It is not all about that fixed routers have a fixed-based because a plunge base router also has a fixed base, however, the real deal is that: a cutting bit of the plunge base router is housed inside the case of the router and recessed into a predetermined depth in the wood you are routing. While fixed-routers do not.
Coming back to fixed-based routers, so once you set the depth, it will remain constant regardless of the working path.
Due to its ability to remain constant throughout a job, the cutting bit depth ensured that the round edge was uniform across the entire surface regardless of the project, also it gives more precise control.
What do you use a fixed base router for?
Fixes bases routers are more commonly used for edgework such as routing architrave and skirting boards. There is no change in the router bit position because it remains the same at all times. Simply adjust the depth to your liking, and you will always get accurate results.
Moreover, it’s used for making wooden repeat patterns on wood.
You can learn more from this video.
Fixed-Base Router advantages and disadvantages
Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using fixed-router. Well, not every point is valid for everyone but still, I’ve written based on what the majority of carpenters will agree.
- For the beginner woodworker, it’s really simple to work for routine tasks.
- Easily portable and maneuverable and is lightweight which helps to make precise edges.
- Work with edges: and it’s effective.
- Fits great over a router table when under-mounted
- With the hands closer to the piece of wood being cut, it is easier to control and stabilize the router when moving it.
- Upon setting the depth of the cutting bit, its depth remains constant, resulting in a uniform cut no matter how uphill the surface is you’re tackling with.
- Compared to a plunge base router, it has fewer capabilities. Some working tasks are harder to achieve with fixed-based routers.
- The fixed position of the cutting bit makes it difficult to cut from the middle of a piece of wood
Why use a Fixed Base Router?
There could be so many reasons why should you use fixed-routers. I’ve picked the ones i found the most obvious reasons to explain it to you that make more sense.
An excellent control system
When working with a fixed-base router, it is easier to move the router over the workpiece, since you have a closer relationship with the workpiece which is ideal to get precise cuts.
With that in mind regarding the control and stability, you get with the fixed base router. It allows you to perform freehand edge work and use jigs.
As a rule of thumb, when you’re handling a routing application it’s unlikely that you will get the desired results all at once. Therefore, repeating is the thing you will be facing.
With the ability to set at a certain depth for a fixed base router,. The depth you select is how much you will cut; this depth will stay the same. Which allows you to do things over and over easily without setting up depth-required.
So if the task calls for using a router with interchangeable bases, for example,
With fixed routers, it becomes easy to set up a base in a router. It’s just a matter of securing the motor in the base as you pull it into the table.
Can You Plunge With a Fixed Base Router?
Fixed base routers can be used for plunge cuts as long as they are measured and marked correctly, and a fence is used on the router table.
They demand additional care that can be done while setting the depth for the cut, however, it is not recommended by professional woodworkers I’ve asked this question.
Because as a counterpoint, a fixed base router is also one of the strengths in plunge cuts – consistency of depth.
Well, the topic actually needs more words for explaining so let’s get into that and try to find out what’s the real deal is while using a fixed-base router for plunging.
You can rely upon a uniform cut because that depth, once set, remains constant. Straight lines will be maintained by the fence.
With the use of a router table and a fixed base router, this raised pattern can be achieved on a door.
By spending an additional amount on the table, your fixed base router will be more versatile.
For about the same money as a plunge router alone, both can be purchased for your tool and table inventory. In a project such as raised panel doors, using large bits requiring multiple passes to achieve the desired effect confirms the value of having a router table.
When working on these jobs, accuracy matters, since you may have to join pieces that were previously routed separately. In order for such a project to succeed, the depth of cut must be consistent.
The pieces may also have to be passed through multiple times for consistent cuts, so stability is important for good results. The more complicated the project, the more the likelihood of using a router table for use with your fixed base router increases.
In other words, the answer to the question is yes, a router table will make it easier for you to plunge with a fixed base router while protecting and enhancing its effectiveness.