Plunge Vs. Fixed Base Router


Routers of all kinds are among the most used tools in the modern woodworking shop. The router is the most agile of all woodworking tools that are used on a daily basis. In most wood shops, the woodworking enthusiast will have several routers, ranging from a plunge router to a fix based router to a stationary router attached to a router table. Some woodworking enthusiast may have more routers than any other woodworking tools in their collection.

Fixed Base Router Basics

  • Understanding the basic features and mechanics of the fixed base router allows the woodworking enthusiast to know the woodworking projects for which this router will work best. The fixed base router is, in the simplest terms, an electric motor with a base attached for stability, allowing the woodworker to control the cut. Once the bit depth is determined, the base of a fixed base router locks into place and the router is turned on for the cut. Some router bits work specifically with fixed-base routers only.

Plunge Router Basics

  • Plunge routers are somewhat different from fixed base routers. With a plunge router, you can start the motor and lower the bit into the wood with great ease. The plunge router is spring-loaded, sitting on top of plunge posts. This allows the woodworker to place the base of the plunge router directly over the place to start the cut, and then lower or plunge the router into the wood. The adjustable depth rod keeps the router bit from plunging too deep into the wood.

Fixed Base Router Cuts

  • The fixed base router is the best choice for specific types of cuts. The fixed based router, because of its low profile and light weight, makes edge routing a breeze compared to a plunge router. The handles of the fixed base router are set close to the base, giving the woodworker great control to keep the router snug against the edge of the board for a straight cut. Fixed base routers are also the first choice for large routing projects.

Plunge Router Cuts

  • The plunge router works best for custom router jobs. When adjusted correctly, the plunge router allows the wood enthusiast to cut a beautiful mortise groove. Plunge routers are also the router of choice when designing custom wood signs. The wood sign crafter draws the letters onto the wood, then uses the plunge router to rout the letters into the wood sign base.

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  • Photo Credit yellow router on white background image by Ivanov from
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