A plunge router works like any other router. It offers several advantages over the traditional table router, however. Not only can it be moved around, giving much greater freedom for working, it can also be used much like a table router, turned upside down and plunging up from beneath. That versatility has made the plunge router especially popular with woodworkers. There are a variety of different bits available for the plunge router, making it capable of many tasks.
1. Cabinet Making
Cabinet making requires a fine hand for the trim. Where this would once have been performed by hand with chisels, a plunge router can handle the job easily. It’s simple to set the depth on the router, and to guide it around the wood to make the necessary cuts for the trim. It does take skill to be able to do this properly, but practice makes perfect, and with enough of it, you can make beautiful cabinets with trim using a plunge router.
Making molding is a common task for routers, and the plunge router can do it well, as it can be moved along a piece of wood to make the cuts, which offers the user more control over the action, and the chance for a fancier design. Alternatively, the router can be turned upside down and the wood run over it, as with a table router.
For creating something like a wooden fruit bowl, you can use the router to create the bowl itself, as well as the stand. With a plunge router, by working around inside a circle, you can create the depth of the bowl and have it ready for finishing.
In addition to working freehand, a plunge router can also be clamped to the wood to allow you to work more exactly. When the project requires exact measurements, this can be a great advantage, and the variety of bits for the router opens up the possibilities of use. As plunge depth with a plunge router can extend up to 3 1/2 inches, you can work with thick wood. Similarly, the plunge stop prevents you from removing too much wood.
The portability of the plunge router makes it ideal for edging, especially when used with the side fence, which prevents mistakes. As the side fence can be minutely adjusted, it ensures the job can be done properly the first time. The plunge router requires two hands to guide it, so it’s easy to have very careful control of the tool as you work. As the depth stop is on one of the handles, there’s no fumbling involved.
By plunging the router into the material, rather than having a static router and plunging the material, you have much greater control over the process, since you’re in charge of the tool. It’s a tool that can take some time to master fully. Once you have, the possibilities for use are largely endless. You’ll certainly become a convert to the plunge router.