Trim Router Buyers’ Guide
A trim router can round out edges, clean veneers, cut joinery, and even carve out signs. It can also be used to cut hinge mortises, drill holes, and cut inlays. They might not have the brute force of standard wood routers, but trim routers have a special place in any workshop. It can do what a standard wood router can do, albeit with a little more finesse.
Fixed Base Vs Plunge Base
A fixed base trim router is commonly used for rounding out edges, shaping, and other general routing applications. This compact tool is lightweight, and many first-time users find it easier to maneuver compared to plunge routers.
A trim router with a plunge base, on the other hand, is commonly used for dovetailing, engraving, and cutting grooves. If you want greater versatility when it comes to adjusting depth or you want to make thorough cuts, then a plunge base router is ideal for you. If you’re new to woodworking, it might take a lot of practice before you can master this particular power tool.
In recent years, engineers have developed trim routers with motors that can be attached to a fixed base and plunge base. While these laminate trimmers are more expensive at the outset, the good news is that they will prove to be more cost-effective in the long run because of their interchangeable design.
Trim Router Power
Trim router motors typically produce 1 HP or less, but there are some that can deliver up to 1 3/4 horsepower. If you only work on light projects, then a starter trim router with 1 HP or less will suffice. But if you’re going to use it from 9 to 5, then it’s best to get a tool with a higher HP rating.
Horsepower is not the only important indicator of a tool’s performance. Revolutions per minute (RPM) under different load conditions and amp ratings are still the best indicators of a trim router’s power. Look for a laminate trimmer with a higher amp rating and RPM to get the most out of the tool.
A trim router with a variable speed lets you control the tool’s operating speed. Adjusting the feed rate is important, especially if you’re using a larger bit size or if you’re working on plastic, acrylic, and thinner/delicate workpieces. Running the router at a lower feed rate will not only extend the lifespan of your bit but also prevent the router from damaging the workpiece. Dialing it down a notch is better for your ears, too.
Routers are powerful machines that can be difficult to control if you’re new to woodworking. A trim router without a soft start can jolt in your hands the moment you turn it on, and that can be startling.
With a soft start laminate trimmer, the machine starts with a momentary pause before slowly accelerating to the desired speed. There’s no unpleasant jerk that can damage your workpiece or startle you the moment you turn it on.
Bit Change System
With some routers, changing the bit can take some time because you need two wrenches to remove a bit and install another. One wrench is used to hold the shaft, while the other is used to loosen or tighten the collet.
Routers with spindle lock, on the other hand, only require one wrench. This wrench is used to hold and tighten the collet after you push the bit into it. Check out this video for a quick demo on how to change a router’s bit.
Looking for additional tool reviews or home remodeling ideas? Then check out the Sebring Design Build blog!