Router table (woodworking)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A router table is a stationary woodworking machine in which a vertically orientated spindle protrudes from the machine table and can be spun at speeds typically between 3000 and 10,000 rpm. Cutter heads (router bits) may be mounted on the spindle. As the workpiece is fed into the machine, the cutters mould a profile into it. The machine normally features a vertical fence, against which the workpiece is guided to control the horizontal depth of cut.
Router tables exist in three varieties:
Router tables are used in one of three ways. In all cases, an accessory is used to direct the workpiece.
- A fence is used, with the router bit partially emerging from the fence. The workpiece is then moved against the fence, and the exposed portion of the router bit removes material from the workface.
- No fence is used. A template is affixed to the workpiece, and a router bit with a ball bearing guide is used. The ball bearing guide bears against the template, and the router bit removes material from the workpiece so as to make the workpiece the same shape as the template.
- A "pin router" accessory is used. A pin router accessory is an "over arm" that rises from one edge or corner of the router table, arcs over the table, and descends directly (coaxially) towards the spindle of the router. The end of the arm has a guide pin. A template (with an interior recess on the top face removed) is affixed to the workpiece, and the guide pin is lowered into this recess. The template is then moved against the pin, carrying the workpiece against the spinning router bit.
Router tables evolved as shop improvised tools. Individual woodworkers began taking routers, screwing them in an inverted position beneath a table, and using the routers' depth adjustment to raise the bit through a hole in the table surface.
Over time manufacturers began selling accessories (premade table tops, table legs, table inserts, fences, hold downs, vertical adjustment tools ("lifts"), etc.
Finally, manufacturers began selling complete packages, which ironically put them in the business of effectively selling wood shapers, the very tool that shop improvised router tables were created to stand in for.