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Gotta-have Router Accessories

Handheld helpers Create perfect circles and ovals

Oval/circle-routing jig
Large jig, no. 27712 (midsize routers), $90; small jig, no. 55819 (compact routers), $70
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware
800-279-4441, rockler.com


With this jig, you can rout precise shapes that need only light sanding along the edges. Start by screwing the jig to the bottom face of the workpiece (where the screw holes won’t be noticed on the finished project). To rout circles, simply secure one of the two dovetailed sliders in the center of the jig’s grooves with the router set for the radius you want, and then rout in incremental depths until done. For ovals, set the two sliders for the maximum travel in their axes, and then rout. The sliders glide back and forth in the jig as you rout the elliptical shape. The large jig we tested allows for ovals with a maximum of 8" between the long and short axes and a minimum of 312 ". You also can rout circles from 914 " to 52" in diameter. On the small jig, you can rout circles up to 24" in diameter and ovals 6×11" to as large as 19×24". Both come predrilled for many common routers.

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Be an efficient copycat

10-piece guide bushing set
no. 144625, $45.50
Woodcraft
800-225-1153, woodcraft.com


Guide bushings, also known as template guides or rub collars, make it possible to rout using a jig or pattern to create a copy on your workpiece of a specific template. Choose a bushing larger than your bit, make a template that accounts for the offset between the bit and bushing, secure the template to the workpiece, and then guide the bushing along the template to rout the identical pattern onto the workpiece. This kit provides eight sizes of bushings (516 ", 38 ", 716 ", 12 ", 58 ", 34 ", 5164 ", and 1" outside diameters) that fit the 138 " stepped opening on most router subbases. It also includes two locking rings.

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Dust can’t beat this shroud

Universal dust-free router hood
no. AXH000001, $35
Oneida Air Systems
800-732-4065, oneida-air.com


You’ll find a ton of aftermarket dust-collection attachments for routers, but in our experience, this one tops them all. It corrals the chips with upper and lower shrouds where your shop vacuum can capture them. The top shroud (with the port) swivels to prevent a stiff vac hose from steering the router. The port’s 112 " outside diameter and 114 " inside diameter means you’ll need a hose that size or an adapter (not available from Oneida). This accessory’s upper and lower plates—predrilled to fit many common routers—replace the subbase on your router.

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Add reach for deep routing

Collet extension
no. 115-070, $29.90
Infinity Cutting Tools
877-872-2487, infinitytools.com


Sometimes, such as when routing out trays or flattening a wide slab with a shop-made jig, a router bit just needs more cutting depth. This collet extension adds 214 " of reach. To use it, simply chuck it into your router’s 12 " collet, and then secure any 12 "-shank bit in the collet. We experienced no runout or additional vibration when using this accessory.

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Nonslip pad adds grip

16×24" nonslip router pad
no. 123633, $16.23
Woodcraft


Every shop should have at least one of these: a spongy, rubbery pad that prevents workpieces from slipping while routing, and protects surfaces from scratches. It also works great at holding workpieces for sanding.

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Support your local router

Offset router plate
Available in two versions for midsize routers (predrilled 3-hole pattern and undrilled), $31; and in six versions predrilled for different trim/compact routers, $25.

Trim/compact router plate
Predrilled for five different routers, $22
Woodhaven
800-344-6657, woodhaven.com

Small routers provide finesse and dexterity as one-hand-use tools, but sometimes it’s nice to have the steadiness only two hands can provide. These oversize subbase plates stabilize small routers, ensuring even cutting depth and consistency. Choose from a two-handle version for trimmers and compact routers, or a single-handle offset model for two different sizes of routers. The rigid phenolic plates stay flat without flexing, and they come predrilled for the most common router models.

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No-play jig for flutes

Fluting jig
no. 28636, $70
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware


This jig makes routing perfectly straight and evenly spaced flutes a breeze. (Okay, you have to do a little math to determine the spacing.) After mounting your router—it’s predrilled for common midsize models—lay out the flutes on the workpiece and on the jig’s erasable  template, and then rout to the desired depth. From there, it’s a simple step-and-repeat process for each flute. Because the jig traps the workpiece between its two rails, you can’t help but rout straight, parallel grooves in boards up to 912 " wide, for flutes spaced over 8" of that width.

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Plunge with perfect placement 

On Point laser-guided offset base
no. 9098, $59.95
MLCS Router Bits & Woodworking Products
800-533-9298, mlcswoodworking.com


Besides the benefits of an offset base, On Point’s crosshair lasers pinpoint the bit center for plunge-routing jobs that require precise placement, such as creating workbench dogholes or marble recesses in a Chinese-checker board. Or, switch on the LED lights for amazing bit visibility. (Two AA batteries are included.) Attach its dual-bearing guide to rout around a workpiece’s perimeter or make flutes parallel to the edge. The base comes predrilled to fit some common plunge routers.

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Make bit changes easier and faster

Quick-release router collet
Available in four versions, $48–$60; 14 " collet reducer, $13.
Eliminator Chuck
703-644-4188, eliminatorchuck.com


If you’re tired of battling with your router’s collet, wrenches, or spindle lock, then switch to an Eliminator Chuck. With this collet replacement, you insert the bit, and then tighten a socket screw with a hex wrench to engage a camlike mechanism that snugs the bit in place. It holds well without slipping, releases bits just as easily, adds 34 " to the spindle length, and runs smoothly without vibration.

TOPS FOR TABLE ROUTING

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Set bit heights with precision

Bit setup bars
no. PRS3400, $45
Kreg Tool
800-447-8638, kregtool.com


This set of bit-height gauges features the most common fractional sizes (18 ", 316 ", 14 ", 516 ", 38 ", 716 ", 12 ") in bit-straddling aluminum bars. Each bar also has a post at the same dimension, giving you the ability to check depths on the router table and workpiece. And, at 1/4" thick, they stand without falling over as you adjust bit height. You can also buy a metric version (3mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 9mm, 11mm, 12mm).

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A safer way to trigger power

Magnetic auxiliary power switch
no. 9077, $39.95
MLCS Router Bits & Woodworking Products


We love auxiliary switches that make it possible to power up routers without having to reach beneath the table. And this one’s magnetic switch breaks the circuit to the router in the event of a power outage, preventing accidental startups when the power comes back on.

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Secure small parts for safety

Small-piece holder
no. 57896, $55
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware


This jig clamps small parts for worry-free routing, and the handles keep your fingers well away from the bit. A quick-release button makes large adjustments fast and easy, and a knurled knob tightens the abrasive-lined clamps around the workpiece.

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Take dust downtown

Clean Sweep dust-collection cabinet
no. CSMLR-SINGLE, $99.95
Incra
888-804-6272, incra.com


Table-mounted routers typically spew chips and dust in two directions: sideways above the table and downward into the opening around the bit. You can capture much of the sideways debris with a fence-mounted dust port. And Incra’s Clean Sweep housing does a great job of trapping the down-below debris so a dust collector, hooked to the 4" port at the bottom, can suck it all away. A door (removed in photo) gives you access to the router should you need it. Clean Sweep mounts to any wood or phenolic router-table top.

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Fence stops provide critical endpoints

Fence flip-stops
no. PRS7850, $25 each
Kreg Tool


If you’re routing stopped grooves, you’ll need a stop at each end of travel, and nothing works better than a flip-stop. They’re easy to install and position, and flip out of the way when not needed without having to reset for step-and-repeat operations. We like these from Kreg Tool because they slide easily in a T-slot and stay locked without deflecting. They’ll fit a fence that’s at least 314 " tall (the length of the arm) with a top T-slot centered 34 " from the fence’s front face. (If your fence doesn’t match these specs, you might have to buy a flip-stop from the fence’s manufacturer.)

ROUTER-TABLE JOINERY JIGS

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Add strength (and pizzazz) to miters

Spline-slotting jig
no. 9537, $89.95
MLCS Router Bits & Woodworking Products


This intuitive jig slides smoothly in the miter slot, and the movable supports capture your project securely. Use a dovetail, straight, or spiral bit to rout the slots, then make splines to glue in place. It’s spot-on, safe, and easy. For projects too large to fit between the supports, simply remove one and register against the other.

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Make quick and easy box joints

Box-joint jig
no. 59032, $80 (bits not included)
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware


This jig makes possible a precise-fit box in less than 15 minutes (including setup). To use it, first secure the jig over the bit and registered in the miter slot. Then, position the spacer bar—choose from 14 ", 38 ", and 12 "—the same distance from the bit as the bar itself, and lock the jig in place. Hold the workpieces against the sled and step-and-repeat rout to a completed box joint. You can use straight bits with this jig, but we get best results using an upcut spiral bit.

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Cope rails with confidence

Coping sled
no. 52149, $60
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware


We’ve used a lot of coping sleds to make cope-and-stick doors (also known as rail-and-stile doors), and this one’s our favorite because of its problem-free performance and fair price. Made of rigid phenolic that doesn’t flex under clamping pressure, the sled holds your door rails securely as you rout the cope cuts on their ends. A replaceable screw-on backer board prevents tear-out as the bit exits the cut. And a clear acrylic “visor” guides the sled against the fence for perfect depth of cut. 

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