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October 21, 2014

Plunge vs Fixed Base Router

Plunge and fixed base routers both have a place in the workshop, and each one is best suited to specific routing tasks. These days, with the introduction of router combo kits you don’t need to buy one of each, but you still need to know what to use each one for.

Basically, use a plunge router when you want to rout in the middle of the workpiece or when making a stopped cut that doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the workpiece e.g. a mortise; use a fixed base router when you are not making a stopped cut and routing the edge of the workpiece.

In addition the very fine depth adjustment that is possible with a fixed base makes it the best choice for fine tolerance work such as cutting dovetails with a dovetail jig.

The video below runs through the basics of both fixed and plunge base routers and shows you when to use them.

The router that is used in the video is the new Bosch MRC23EVSK which is the first router combo to have the power switch mounted on the handles. This means you can keep both hands on the router when switching on and off, which is safer and gives better control.

You can also see from the video just how easy it is to switch from one base to the other in a matter of seconds. Unless you really need the power of something like the Porter Cable 7518 for all day long, heavy duty routing, then 2-1/4 HP router combination kits really are a no brainer.

You can read our full review at Bosch MRC23EVSK review