How to Use a Trim Router

What You'll Need
Trim router
Assorted router bits
Carpenters square
Straight ruler
Work bench

There are many instances where knowing how to use a trim router will come in handy. These smaller routers work excellently for routing smaller round-over edges, chamfering sharp edges and providing cut-outs for hinges and other inlay work. Due to their lightweight but durable construction, trim routers are portable and easy to use. Additionally, their one horsepower motors produce little noise yet provide great power. When it comes to cost, trim routers provide an excellent bargain as many can be bought for less than $100.

Step 1, Router Preparation

As with almost all machine tools, it is important to spend time adjusting a trim router. The height adjustment is usually the only adjustment that must be made and is controlled by rotating a thumb screw left or right. Another alternate version of trim router adjustment is the use of a quick release lever to adjust the bit depth setting desired.

Before purchasing a trim router, it would also be wise to consider the ease with which router bits can be changed. Be aware that, although some trim routers offer a feature that makes bit changing easy, on some trim routers the base actually needs to be removed to facilitate changing bits.

Step 2, Changing Router Bits

Whether a trim router is equipped with a stationary or changeable base, changing router bits can be accomplished simply and quickly through the use of either a set of wrenches or a single wrench with a locking spindle.

Step 3, Trim Router Applications

Depending on the router bit used, trim routers can be used to round-over edges, leaving a smooth curved edge on trim pieces of wood. They can also be used to make V-grooves in wood, or beaded edges on shelf trimming. With the correct bit and application, small moldings can be made quickly and easily. Trim routers can be used for “climbing or anti-climbing” cuts without tear-out occurring.

Using a straight edge router bit, trim routers can trim edging pieces on the ends of plywood. Cut a piece of trim slightly thicker than the plywood being used, glue it on the edge of a piece of plywood, and trim it smoothly with a trim router.

Step 4, Routing Hinge Mortises

Trim routers are perfect for use in cutting out hinge mortises and smaller mortises for tendon joinery. Most of these machines come with a guide for these specialized applications. Alternatively, jigs can be fashioned which will lend greater flexibility to this unique and versatile machine.

A simple method is to place the hinge on the side of the door and outline it with a sharp pencil. Adjust the depth of cut for the straight edge bit which will match the thickness of the hinge leaf. Carefully rout out the wood within the lines drawn by the sharp pencil.

Using a sharp chisel and mallet and clean up the rest of the waste wood from the routered-out hinge mortise. Dry fit the hinge to insure a tight and secure fit. Apply screws and screw hinge firmly into the door.