Wood Router: Features of The Tool and its Scope

Wood Router: Features of The Tool and its Scope

From this article you can find out what features a wood router has: the main types of tools, their capabilities and technical parameters, as well as the necessary components for work. The text provides recommendations that will not only help determine the choice of a suitable hand milling cutter, but also effectively use it in practice.

Wood router: device and types of tools

Not only professional joiners are engaged in wood carving with manual milling. The capabilities of this tool are useful to furniture makers and craftsmen. The main purpose of the router is wood processing. Although many modern models are able to cope with other materials.

Consumers can buy a hand router for processing:

  • artificial stone;
  • plastic;
  • composite materials;
  • Plexiglas;
  • non-ferrous metals.

The scope of this tool extends to the manufacture of decorative products and furniture from wood, carpentry. Crafts created by manual milling cutter look very impressive. These unique products are widely used in everyday life. With the help of a milling cutter, craftsmen make beautiful picture frames, caskets, children’s toys, decorative shelves, etc.

With the help of a wood router, craftsmen make beautiful frames
Using the wood router, you can make wooden furniture, kitchen utensils, lining, skirting boards, decorative crafts and other products


What can be done with a wood router:

  • quarter sampling;
  • the formation of structural parts such as folds, grooves, spikes, slots;
  • profiling of the edge part (curly and straight);
  • the formation of seats for the installation of fittings and locking mechanisms on the doors;
  • decorative wood carving with a milling cutter with appropriate nozzles;
  • hole making;
  • fitting parts to be joined;
  • alignment of contours in a draft way.

Types of wood routers: classification of devices

To decide which router is best to buy for the home, you should familiarize yourself with the existing range of these devices. The choice of device depends on the type of proposed work, their complexity and volume. For example, the need to use a milling cutter in furniture production arises constantly, while in a home workshop such a tool will only be required from time to time.

The following types of wood routers:

  • top type;
  • edging;
  • strip.

Devices of the upper type can be fixed and submersible. The second option is universal, and therefore the most widely used. For the home workshop, the submersible design is best suited. This category of devices should be considered in more detail in order to decide which router to choose to perform certain tasks.

Note! Strip milling cutter is used to form grooves on the surface of the processed products. This device belongs to the category of a highly specialized tool that has a small number of functions.

edge wood router
The edge wood router is used for chamfering, rounding the edges, forming decorative grooves and also for cutting grooves for furniture hinges


When compared with other types of hand-held power tools, the milling cutter has the simplest design. No belts, gears or other components are used to transmit torque. Nozzles for a milling cutter are installed directly on a spindle (shaft of the electric motor). Due to this, a set of high revolutions is provided.

The body part of the electric router is called the “head”. It moves along the guide rods, which are rigidly fixed on the support platform, up and down. When the handle is pressed, the tool head drops down. If the pressure is relieved, the springs will again return the structure to its previous position.

A milling cutter is mounted on the spindle. To fix it, a collet clamp is used. When there is a smooth immersion of the head in a material or wood, the depth is regulated by a special emphasis. With further movement of the milling cutter in the horizontal direction, a groove is drilled using the sharp edges of the milling cutter.

Hand Milling Cutter
The milling cutter for a manual milling cutter is selected based on the type of material being processed and the type of operation

Which is better to buy a wood router: tips for choosing

When choosing a router for a home workshop, it is advisable to pay attention to the technical parameters of the devices.

The main selection criteria:

  • power level;
  • wood carving depth with a manual milling cutter (milling cutter stroke);
  • additional functionality;
  • spindle rotational speed;
  • price of a manual milling cutter.

Buying a wood router: which tool to choose according to power

The capabilities of the tool largely depend on the engine power level. The higher this indicator, the longer the mill can work continuously without overheating. In addition, devices with a high power level allow the use of cutters with the maximum possible length and diameter. However, it cannot be argued that the most powerful device will be considered the best. With the increase of this indicator, the size and weight of the tool increases.

Buying a wood router
Tool uptime depends on engine power


Given this pattern, the following types of milling machines are distinguished:

  1. Light – the weight of the structures is 2-3 kg, and the power does not exceed 750 watts.
  2. Medium – the power level varies between 750-1500 W, while the weight is 3-5 kg, for example, the Bosch 1400 ACE router.
  3. Heavy – the weight of structures exceeds 5 kg, and the power is in the range of 1500-2300 watts.

To perform milling operations on a regular basis, experts recommend selecting a tool with a power of at least 1.5 kW. Such a tool is able to cope with the performance of any professional tasks, however, such a dimensional and heavy construction requires considerable effort on the part of the operator. Especially if a beginner does the job of milling wood.

Helpful advice! When choosing a tool, it is very important to adhere to the golden mean. The power of the milling cutter should not be too high, but sufficient to complete the tasks. In this case, it is necessary to take into account the duration of the device without interruptions, as well as the possibility of processing products made from hardwood.

Medium wood router
Medium wood router have an engine power level between 750-1500 W and a weight of 3 to 5 kg

The choice of the optimal rotational speed of the spindle for manual milling on wood

One of the most important technical characteristics of the router is the rotational frequency of the spindle. The higher the speed at which the cutter rotates, the higher the surface quality after processing. If you need to get a very accurate result of working with a wood milling machine, it is enough to reduce the speed. Some models are designed for processing plastic surfaces. To exclude the possibility of melting of the material, it is necessary to prevent overheating of the working area. To do this, use the tool in low speed mode.

Most of the models have a rotational speed in the range of 20-30 thousand rpm. This is an average option. Consumers can purchase both slower milling machines – 10-20 thousand rpm., And faster models – up to 35. thousand rpm. Do not forget that the larger the diameter of the cutter, the smaller should be the angular velocity of its rotation. The fact is that the linear velocity of a point along the periphery of the circle is still quite high. Therefore, there is no need for excessive acceleration of the cutter, otherwise it can lead to burning of the tree.

Before you work as a milling machine, you need to consider the following nuances:

  • the size of the cutter to be used at the moment;
  • the density of the material from which the workpiece is made;
  • required processing depth.
Optimum spindle rotational speed selection
When working with a wood router, it is important to consider that the higher the speed at which the cutter is rotated, the higher the quality of processing of the element


Based on the foregoing, it is better to choose a tool that has a function for adjusting the speed. The functionality of the milling cutter depends on this. The tuning system can be smooth or stepwise (up to 8 switching levels).

Many manufacturers indicate recommended values ​​in the instructions that came with the tool, but having practical experience will be useful. Based on it, you can choose the optimal device for yourself.

How to choose a wood router for wood by depth of processing

The working stroke of the cutter is determined by the maximum depth at which it is able to immerse itself in the material. Light models of milling cutters can deepen the nozzle by 2-5 cm. The deepening level in powerful tools is 7-8 cm. The higher the stroke rate, the deeper the cutter can immerse into the material. Devices with a high rate allow you to process wooden workpieces of large thickness.

indicator of the maximum processing depth of the element
When buying a router, it is important to pay attention to the indicator of the maximum processing depth of the element

Note! It is not possible to cut a groove of full depth in one go. As a result, you can not only ruin the product, but also break the milling cutter. The harder the material to be processed, the less shall be the depth of the passage carried out at a time.

In one pass, you cannot make a groove whose depth exceeds the working length of the cutter. Some instrument models have a regulator with which you can fine-tune the depth of immersion, for example, Skil 1840 LA. This parameter is usually set with an accuracy of 0.1 mm.

How to choose a hand held router router: an overview of additional functions

When buying a router, you should pay attention to the presence of additional features and options that improve its technical or operational characteristics.

If the density of the material being processed increases or increases the speed of the milling cutter along the product, the number of revolutions may be reduced. In order to prevent this and keep the performance at a given level, it is enough to have a constant electronics system. It stabilizes the rotational speed of the spindle by adjusting the power of the electric motor. This feature will be useful to owners of professional appliances. Conventional devices do not need it.

The soft start system, as in the Makita RP1800F hand milling cutter, will allow for a set of engine speeds in smooth mode. This eliminates the likelihood that the equipment will make a sharp jerk during power-up. As a result, the tool service life is increased, since its nodal parts are not subjected to regular, albeit short-term overloads. The operation of the milling cutter becomes safe, and the likelihood of damage to the workpiece at the initial stage of processing is also eliminated.

The system of protection of a milling cutter on a tree against overloads will prevent breakage of the device if the temperature of the winding on an electric motor exceeds a critical level. Depending on the model of the device, it can manifest itself in different ways: in the form of a light indication, which serves as a signal, or an automatic function that turns off the power. As a rule, such a system is provided in professional milling machines, which are designed for continuous operation in intensive mode.

Tool protection function against accidental start
The function of protecting the tool from accidental start is presented in the need to simultaneously press the start and protection keys


Protection against accidental start is another useful feature. Regardless of the cost, most milling cutters are equipped with this option. There is a corresponding button on the tool body. The voltage supply to the motor winding will be carried out only if you press it simultaneously with the start key. As a result, the probability of unintentional switching on of the device is excluded.

Note! The protection button not only prevents unintentional starting, but also locks the trigger in the on position. This function will be useful when using a milling table for manual milling.

The choice of a wood router taking into account design features

When choosing a manual router, you need to pay attention to the quality of the support platform or sole. This element can be made of cast or stamped metal. Cast constructions have a clear geometry, so they fit perfectly to the work surface and provide high quality work. These tools include the Makita RP0900 manual wood router. It has a cast aluminum sole. Stamped platforms are equipped with inexpensive milling machines designed for domestic use.

Be sure to make sure that the lower plane of the platform is covered with a plastic overlay. Most often, this part is removable, which allows you to replace it with a new one when wear occurs. The size of the opening in the sole deserves attention. This hole limits the diameter of the cutters that can be mounted on the tool. It is not possible to install a large cutting nozzle in the sole with a small opening.

Since the head of the tool moves along the guide rods, which are placed vertically, it is very important that the movement of this element is easy and smooth. If the design has distortions and backlashes, the use of a milling cutter will be difficult. The same applies to the excess resistance that may arise in the process of moving the node vertically.

The depth of immersion of the cutter in the wood is controlled by an emphasis. It has the form of a metal rod that abuts against a platform on the platform and does not allow the head of the device to fall below a set level. To set the level of penetration, just move the thrust rod down or up. For this, a special screw is provided in the design.

Emphasis in the form of a metal core
The emphasis, in the form of a metal core, controls the immersion depth of the cutter in the tree


To perform several passes, gradually increasing the depth of the cutter, a multi-stage turret is required. It is a platform mounted on a platform and having several steps of different heights. This rests against the vertical rod, which limits the depth of passage of the cutter.

Note! In some cases, the turret does not have steps, but bolts. For example, the Interskol FM-67 / 2200E hand milling cutter has three adjustable screws and one fixed base. Thanks to this, the device simultaneously has both a coarse and fine-tuning depth.

Selection of accessories for hand milling

The milling cutter is used for rough fitting products. The accuracy of the workpieces depends on the quality of the tool and the experience of the operator. To achieve the desired result, additional devices are added to the milling cutter, which simplify the work with this device.

a large number of various operations
Using interchangeable cutters, you can perform a wide variety of operations.


No type of work can be done without removable cutting tools. Using them, you can perform a dovetail milling cutter, straight, rounded, T-shaped and other types of grooves and notches. There are many options for such nozzles.

By their purpose and design, they are combined into categories:

  • edging;
  • grooving;
  • figured;
  • combined.

Such a device as a parallel emphasis, it is also called lateral, is used to process the surface parallel to the edge of the wooden blank. Thanks to him, it becomes possible to move the tool at an equal distance from the edge. A pair of rigid metal rods and screws are used to fix the stop. The quality of the result depends on how firmly the design is installed. The material for the manufacture of the stop is stamped and cast metal. A removable plastic pad prevents this element from contacting the workpiece.

parallel emphasis
Using the parallel stop, you can move the router at an equal distance from the edge


The guide rail is another auxiliary element for milling in a straight line. In contrast to the parallel stop, this element allows threading at any angle with respect to the edge, as well as at any distance from it. The tire has the form of a profiled ruler, which is fixed on the workpiece using clamps. A special shoe is attached to the instrument. He guides the router, moving along the grooves of the tire.

The master uses the compass line for the milling cutter in order to perform radial line carving. It is indispensable in cases where it is required to make a round countertop. On the one hand, the compass ruler is fixed in the sole of the instrument with screws, and on the other, it is attached with a pin through the hole formed in the workpiece. It should be in the center of the circle.

Helpful advice! To keep the cut area clean during operation, it is advisable to use a vacuum cleaner that connects to the router using a nozzle.

Compass line for milling cutter
Ruler compass line used for radial thread

Choosing the best wood hand milling machine: price of popular models

For consumers who are wondering which wood router is better, prices are not the last thing, since the size of their personal budget can serve as a constraint for most buyers.

Rating of the best models with rates:

Instrument Model Power level, W Ranking position Price
Bosch GMF 1600 CE 1600 1 $477
Makita RP1800F 1800 2 $276
Hitachi M12V2 2000 3 $250
Skil 1840 LA 1300 4 $85
Bosch GKF 600 Professional 600 5 $155
Makita 3709 530 6 $75
Hammer FRZ710 PREMIUM 700 7 $107
DeWALT DWE 6005 600 8 $180
Makita PJ7000 710 9 $213
Bosch GFF 22 Professional 670 10 $519

Helpful advice! To increase the comfort of operation of the tool, it is advisable to buy a milling table for a wood router or to make it yourself. It will allow you to easily and quickly operate the device, without being distracted by the retention of the workpiece.

Choosing best hand router
Leader in the ranking of hand milling machines for wood Bosch GMF 1600 CE

How to make a milling table for a wood router yourself

Any master can independently make a table for a manual milling cutter, video materials and finished drawings on the network are enough for even a novice to cope with this task.

To work, you will need:

  • wooden blocks with a square section (4 pcs.);
  • plywood and chipboard;
  • fasteners (hinges, bolts, nuts, etc.);
  • jack;
  • metal profile;
  • 6 mm thick steel plate;
  • guides from aluminum;
  • movable carriage-emphasis, which will serve as a guide;
  • milling cutter.
Milling table for manual milling
A milling table for a wood router can be purchased complete with a tool or made by yourself

Manual table maker manual yourself

For the table, you definitely need a drawing with the designation of the position of the parts and their sizes. From bars and pieces of chipboard of the corresponding size, the supports are twisted, which will serve as the legs for the table. To increase the rigidity of the structure, you need to horizontally install the connecting panels of plywood. On the right side of the table, cut a hole where the start button on the router will be displayed.

For the manufacture of countertops, you need to take chipboard. This part must be lifting, so you need to install the hinges. You will also need to make an additional support base. The basis of the table for manual milling is best done from plywood sheet, 15 mm thick. Next, in the countertop, you need to cut a groove designed for the guides of the movable stop. A metal profile should be installed here. In order to conveniently move the workpiece along the table during operation, it is advisable to use a mobile carriage-emphasis. Instead, the guide from the saw is suitable.

To make a longitudinal stop, you need to take chipboard. To ensure the mobility of this element, perpendicular grooves should be cut in the upper part of the stop, after which it should be attached to the countertop using clamps. A small groove is cut out in the middle. It will be used to dispose of chips and other particles that form during the milling process.

Then you need to assemble a box of thin plywood with a hole designed to connect a vacuum cleaner through a hose. This machine will give chips and dust. The box is fixed behind the perpendicular stop. After that, a metal plate with a thickness of 6 mm is screwed to the countertop so that their levels coincide. Here the milling cutter will be installed.

Note! When fixing the plate, you need to carefully monitor so that its edges do not protrude above the countertop. Otherwise, wooden blanks will cling to them.

The tool is attached to the bottom of the plate with an aluminum sole. For fixing, you can use bolts, for which you first need to make holes. This fixing method is convenient for changing nozzles and saves milling depth. Using a car jack, you need to design a lift for the router. With it, you can control the height. It is necessary to remove the handles from the milling cutter and to fasten the aluminum guides in their place, which subsequently need to be connected to the jack.

How to work with a wood router

To learn how to work with a wood router on wood, it is advisable to study well the device of this tool and the purpose of each part. Some instrument parameters need to be configured. To adjust the milling depth, use the dial and knob. One step corresponds to 10 mm. In addition, you must immediately set the rotational speed of the cutter.

Before working with a wood milling machine, a beginner must get used to the tool and master its capabilities. It is advisable to start with small and medium revs. Although you should not forget that in this mode the quality of processing is significantly reduced. Therefore, the first samples must be performed in inconspicuous areas where errors can be masked.

In the initial stages it is not enough to learn how to work with a manual milling cutter. A novice master must adhere to security requirements. You need to clearly know where the start and stop button for the tool is located, as well as its lock. These elements are very important, because the safety and quality of work depends on them.

How to adjust rotational speed for working with a wood router

The setting of the tool depends on the characteristics of the material to be processed. The milling cutter copes with cutting composites, plywood and wood. Taking into account the characteristics of the material, the rotational speed of the device is selected. Most often, the technical documentation that comes with the tool already contains the necessary information.

Parameters for setting the speed:

Cutter Diameter, mm Processed material Speed ​​steps, mm

Hardwood (oak, beech)

12-20 3-4
22-40 1-2

Softwood (pine, spruce)

12-20 3-6
22-40 1-3


12-20 2-4
22-40 1-3
4-15 Plastic 2-3
16-40 1-2

Helpful advice! The network has a lot of information on working with a wood milling machine, video materials can be used as a visual aid in the absence of experience in setting up and operating the tool.

How to fix a nozzle before working with a milling cutter

Work with the milling cutter begins with the installation and fixing of the cutting nozzle. It is very important to comply with safety requirements. All actions are performed only when the cord is pulled out of the network.

Typically, the tool has marks that help set the cutter. If they are absent, the element is installed to a depth of not less than its own length. For each model of the router, technical documentation is attached, where the mechanism for the correct installation of cutting nozzles is described. There are no general rules for the tool, since each modification has its own design features.

Some models have a fairly simple structure, while others have a more advanced structure. On sale there are modifications equipped with a button that blocks the rotational movement of the shaft. The presence of this part greatly simplifies the process of installing the cutter.

In expensive models of the tool there are special cracks. Therefore, there is no single instruction. To install a milling cutter on a specific model, you can use the technical documentation provided by the manufacturer, or watch a video of working with a wood router on a tree on the Internet.

How is manual milling work

Using the milling cutter will be completely safe, and the result will be of high quality, provided that all safety requirements are met:

  • the tool must be sharp, otherwise the quality of processing will decrease and the engine will warm up;
  • Before starting work, the workpiece material must be well fixed;
  • Do not try to complete the task in one pass, as a result of this, the load on both the cutter and the tool as a whole increases greatly;
  • the cutter is replaced only on a de-energized device, it is not enough just to disconnect the device using the button, you need to pull the plug of its cord from the outlet.

Compliance with these requirements will ensure safety during operation. It is very important to feel the instrument in your hands and get used to it. If the milling cutter is accompanied by strong vibrations, you need to stop and find out the cause of this phenomenon. Sometimes it is enough to adjust the rotational speed, and in some cases it may be necessary to replace a dull nozzle. A novice master can find many video reviews, where experienced craftsmen show the process of performing individual parts and even complete products.


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