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As a beginner to the world of woodworking, you really need to sit down and decide on which tools you should buy and how much you can spend. One of the main tools that you need is something called a wood router. The best models are easy to use and come with a powerful motor that can produce at least 8,000 revolutions per minute.
Beginners do not necessarily need as many features or as much power as advanced woodworkers do, but we went out and found a solid tool that will serve you well both today, and after you gain more experience. Our choice for the best wood router for beginners is the Bosch Colt Palm Grip Wood Router. Also called the 1617EVSPK, which is its model number, this is an affordable router that gives you plenty of power.
In a Rush? Here is Our Top Choice
What Can You Do with a Router?
When you first start doing woodworking projects, you might hesitate before buying a router because you want to know what you can actually do with it.
Many woodworkers like these tools because they can use one to get the completely flat and smooth edges that they want when creating molding pieces. You can use the tool to get flat edges on a piece of furniture, too.
Routers will also help you create the grooves in a piece of wood that lets you make shelves that easily fit together. Not only can you create grooves that are perfectly smooth, but you can use the tool to clean out those grooves before connecting two pieces of wood together.
Have you ever wanted to recreate a piece of wood for a new project?
You can use a router to carefully create a pattern and then use that pattern to make a new piece. A good example of this type of project is one that requires fixing a wood table.
You might have a table with a broken or otherwise damaged top. With a router, you can put the old surface on top of a new piece of wood and trace around the edges to make a brand new top that looks exactly like the old one. You can also use the tool to trace a pattern made from cardboard or another material.
Cutting and making edges is really the most common use for a router though. You can clamp a piece of wood down onto any table or surface and run the router along the sides of that wood to create the edges that you want. As long as you have a steady hand, you shouldn't have any problems getting the smooth edges that you need.
Top Model for Beginners
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router
The best model for beginners that we found is the 1617EVSPK from Bosch. Thanks to its 12-amp motor and its variable speed design, you can use this one at a variety of different speeds. While it produces up to 25,000 RPMs, you can also use it at a lower setting and produce just 8,000 RPMs.
Those cutting molding pieces and working on certain projects will like that this model comes with its own edging tool.
Made from aluminum, this tool adjusts to let you get the depth that you want or need. You can simply place the edging tool against the edge of the board and start cutting without worrying about the router leaving behind any jagged or rough spots.
We also like that Bosch gives you a hard plastic case that holds both the edging tool and the router as well as the included wrench, which lets you make adjustments to the tool. As the 1617EVSPK weighs a little less than 18.2 pounds, it helps reduce fatigue in your hands and lets you cut as long as you need.
Designed for use with a single hand, this router has a rounded top that lets you keep your hand in a comfortable position as you cut. You can reach the depth adjustment feature and all other parts while keeping your hand on the tool too. It even has a soft start system that keeps the router from jumping out of your hands when you turn it on.
Whether shopping for yourself or another beginner to the world of woodworking, the Bosch 1617EVSPK is the best wood router on the market.
Projects for Beginners
Let's take a look at some of the woodworking projects that are suitable for beginners such as creating a sign. All you need for this project is a router and a piece of wood. You can move the tool around that piece of wood to cut out the letters and numbers that you need.
As routers leave behind smooth edges, you may not need to sand the wood once you cut out the pieces. You can apply a coat of wood stain to the pieces or apply your favorite color of paint. This is a great way to make address numbers for the front of your home or a sign for an upcoming party.
A cutting board is another fun project that beginners can do. You'll want to pick out a solid type of wood that can withstand daily or weekly use such as cherry or maple. The basic design features a rectangular board with a rounded handle on one end.
With your router, you can cut a small hole right through the handle for hanging the cutting board in your kitchen. You'll also want to use the tool to cut a small channel roughly one-inch away from the edge of the board, which catches any liquids that come off the meats that you cut. Once you feel more comfortable with this type of project, you can make cutting boards that you give as gifts.
Routers are also great for making picture frames and mirrors. As long as you have some thin pieces of wood, you can use the tool to create beveled edges and then glue or nail the pieces of wood together. When making a picture frame, you can simply add a paper or wood backing and a piece of glass to the front. For mirrors, you can skip the backing and add a piece of mirrored glass to the frame.
It may take some time before you feel completely comfortable with a router, but you can experiment and use the tool in your own workshop. Once you feel confident in your skills, you can tackle all these projects and many others.
Shopping for a Beginner's Tool – Things to Consider
As we stated above, beginners typically don't need as much power as experts do. We'll go over some of the more important features that beginners need to help you find a good router. You can use this information to decide if the Bosch model we found is the best one for you.
Plunge vs. Fixed Base
The first feature you need to look at is the base of the tool. You can choose a fixed base model or one that comes with a plunge base. A plunge base lets you make vertical cuts, while a fixed base only works around the edges or on top of the wood.
The Bosch tool that we picked for beginners has a fixed base, which makes it good for those with less experience. With a fixed base, you can simply run the tool around the edge of the wood to make shallow or deep cuts. A plunge base will require a little more work and experimentation to use.
We also recommend that beginners look for models that come with a variable speed motor. When you use one of these tools, you need to have more control. This keeps you from making mistakes or using such a high speed that you cut right through a piece of wood.
Variable speed motors run at both a higher and a lower speed. You can adjust that speed with a simple flip of a switch or with the way you hold and use the tool. We recommend choosing one with a low speed of at least 8,000 RPMs and a high speed of at least 15,000 RPMs.
Many beginners benefit from routers that come with an edging tool, too. This type of tool looks like a small and flat piece of metal that attaches to the bottom of the router. When cutting, you can place the router directly on top of the wood and line the edging tool up against the edge of the board.
As you move the tool, it runs right along that wood to create a smooth and even edge. This takes some of the guesswork out of creating edges and allows you to finish your project faster.
Ease of Use
The most important thing to consider when choosing a router is how easily you can actually use it. We liked that the Bosch model is suitable for beginners, but it will grow with you as your skills develop. You can use this tool with just one hand, as well because you can reach all switches and features with the hand that you place on top of the router.