5 Great DIY Reasons to Own a Router

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5 Great DIY Reasons to Own a Router

Many do-it yourselfers think of a router as a tool for advanced woodworking, but a router is a great tool for a variety of DIY tasks. Here are just a few things you can do with a router.

Create Decorative Profiles
Create Decorative Profiles Image If you’ve ever admired the decorative edge on a table top, picture frame, or cabinet door, you may have wished that you could dress up your projects the same way. Especially if you’re just starting out, though, you probably thought it would be really hard to create those decorative profiles. The process is actually easy if you have a router. In fact, this is pretty much what a router was originally designed to do.

Create Decorative Profiles Image You’ll find dozens decorative profile router bits available, so all you have to do is select one that you like. Routing the profile is easy because these bits have a bearing that follows the edge of your workpiece as you rout. You can create profiles using your router hand-held, which is handy for large projects like a table top. If you’re working with smaller pieces, such as a frame or a drawer front, you can create the profile with your router mounted in a router table, such as the Kreg Precision Benchtop Router Table.

Add Wood Edging Easily
Add Wood Edging Easily

Plywood is a great material for DIY projects like bookcases and built-ins. One drawback with plywood, though, is that the edges aren’t attractive, and really need to be covered up. The best way to do this is by adding solid-wood edging. It’s easy to add wood edging using a Kreg Jig®, but usually the solid wood will be slightly thicker than the plywood.

To trim the edging flush, all you need is a router and a flush-cutting bit. This type of bit is straight and has a bearing at the bottom that rides on the face of your plywood as you rout. That way, the edging gets trimmed exactly flush with the face. When that’s done, you can leave the edging as is, or add a decorative profile.

Make Your Own Countertops header
Make Your Own Countertops Have you checked out the cost of new kitchen countertops lately? If so, you may still be in shock. You can create your own countertops easily and economically, though, using sheet goods like plywood or water-resistant MDF and topping it with plastic laminate (often referred to by the brand name Formica). These days you’ll find plastic laminate in lots of colors and patterns, and with looks that realistically mimic the appearance of real stone.

The trick to building great-looking countertops is to cut the laminate slightly oversize, so that it overhangs the edges. Then use your router and a flush-trim bit once again to trim the laminate flush. You can then add wood edging on the countertops, or cover them with laminate, as well.

Make Pieces Perfect with Patterns header
Make Pieces Perfect with Patterns Sometimes projects may require you to make multiple pieces that are exactly the same. That’s easy if the pieces have straight edges, but can be a real challenge if the pieces are curved or have a more complex shape.

If you have a router, though, making multiple identical pieces is easy. Start by creating a pattern that’s shaped like all the pieces you need to make. A great material for this is 1/4"-thick hardboard. It’s easy to cut using a jigsaw and then sand to the exact shape you want.

After that, just cut your project parts slightly oversize (about 1/8" in each direction), and then attach your template with a few pieces of double-faced carpet tape. Then mount a pattern bit in your router. It’s like the flush-trim bit discussed above, but has the bearing located above the cutting edges. That way, the bearing follows your pattern as you rout the part to match the shape exactly. Pop the pattern off and place it on your next piece, and you can quickly create multiple pieces that will all match exactly.

Do More with Doors
Do More with Doors img One hallmark of fine furniture and cabinetry has always been frame-and-panel doors with decorative raised panels. If you own a Kreg Jig® you’ll eventually realize (or you already have) that building the frames for the doors is easy. But how do you make the panels?

Once again, the DIY tool of choice for making raised panels is the router. To do this, though, you’ll definitely want to be very comfortable using your router, and you need a router table. Then you can use raised panel bits, which are essentially oversize versions of the profile bits we discussed first. With them, you can create raised panels by routing an edge treatment that matches your style.

Do More with Doors

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From Kreg and Woodsmith Magazine
2013 August Home Publishing

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