What Is a Plunge Router?

Claudette Pendleton

A plunge router is a tool used for various wood-working projects. There are two particular types of routers on the market; the plunge router and the fixed, or what some would refer to as the standard, router. Both routers basically achieve the same results.

What Is a Plunge Router?

What is a Plunge Router?

However, depending on the job to be done, one would be more useful than the other.

The Difference Between a Plunge Router and a Fixed Router

Combination Plunge/Fixed Base Router

The plunge router is used for routed areas that begin in the middle of the wood, as opposed to starting at the end or edge of the wood. When cutting, the router is placed and kept flat onto the face of the wood. You can adjust the depth of the cut even while the router is on. This is very helpful when making several passes on the wood. Plunge routers generally consist of depth stops that allow for precise plunging of the router depth while the router is being used. They are useful for cutting dados, incised letters, mortises and stopped grooves.

When using a fixed router, the cut depth of the router is fixed and must be held at an angle. The router must be operated slowly as it cuts into the wood. Fixed routers are better routers to use whenever the cut and depth have to be precise. Fixed routers are also used when there is a need to attach the router to the table.

Some routers are constructed as combination fixed/plunge routers. This is beneficial when both routers are needed for a job. These combination routers are made with both a plunge base as well as a fixed base.

What to Look for in a Router

When looking to buy a router, note where the power switch is located. On some routers, the power switch is positioned on the two hand grips. With the power switch placed in this position, it adds to the safety of the product. Most router switches shut off automatically when the grip is released. However, the router needs to be equipped with an override feature when a router table is in use. Also find out the router's accuracy for measuring depths. For jobs that require precise measurements, this is very important. Some routers also come with speed control features. Depending on the project you are working on, having the speed control feature may come in handy. Routers generally consist of a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch sized shank. It is smarter to get the 1/2-inch sized shank because it produces larger pieces. When working on a project, routers produce a great deal of sawdust. However, there are some routers that come with dust removal equipment to allow you to clean up the sawdust after making a mess.

Check out this related video from Homesteady on Youtube.