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Plunge base (A) (no. 05J65.01)
Edge guide with 6" rails (B) (no. 05J65.03)
Edge-guide microadjuster (C) (no. 05J65.05)
12" rails (no. 05N29.06)
Complete kit (no. 05J65.07), (includes both rail sizes)
This robust aluminum base threads directly onto the tool. (It fits most rotary tools.) Once installed, it works great for routing field cuts (no exit point along an edge or end), such as inlays, stopped grooves, and letters or numbers. The base has 1 1⁄4 " of plunge travel with a depth-stop rod, and a 1" bit opening with great visibility. The edge guide tracks the bit parallel to an edge, and its optional microadjuster helps fine-tune bit position.
Lee Valley, 800-871-8158, leevalley.com
Precision router base
Precision router base (no. 5260)
Edge guide (no. 4324)
This fixed base threads on in the same way as the plunge base. After installing a bit, you simply set the cutting depth by adjusting the knurled posts, and begin routing. Sold primarily to luthiers, this largely aluminum base works perfectly for routing fine details or inlays. Instead of plunging the bit into the wood, simply rest one edge against the workpiece and angle the bit in. The optional edge guide has an adjustable bearing for routing along an edge—such as inlaying stringing around a guitar body—but with only 5⁄8 " of lateral movement, it’s limited.
Stewart-MacDonald, 800-848-2273, stewmac.com
Shaper/router table (no. 231)
Here’s a great first router table, especially if you’re not yet familiar with routers. You thread the rotary tool into this base (mounted to a workbench or larger wood blank you can clamp to a bench), and start working. With its tiny table and fence, this workstation has limitations, but if you work with small parts, it can be a good (and inexpensive) gateway to table routing.
Dremel, 800-437-3635, dremel.com
Circle cutter/edge guide
Circle cutter/edge guide (no. 678-01)
This jig’s greatest value is in helping you cut perfect circles 3⁄4 –12" in diameter. It comes with a 1⁄8 " downcut spiral bit, ideal for cutting holes and round channels without tear-out. This jig also has 6" of reach as an edge guide, but because it’s so lightweight and the mounted tool is top-heavy, you can easily wiggle the tool and mess up a straight-routed line. Practice in scrap stock to get a feel for it.
Dremel, 800-437-3635, dremel.com
Best “baby” bits
Stewart-MacDonald carbide downcut spiral bits, photo above, (for tear-out-free routing and long-lasting sharp edges) with 1⁄8 " shanks, five sizes from 1⁄32 " to 1⁄8 ".
Don’t forget the sanding!
Sanding wheels won’t make your rotary tool work more like a router, but we find them indispensable for cleaning and smoothing tight details. We especially like them when working with natural-edge slabs, for sanding in and around small protruding burly spikes, voids, splits, and bark inclusions. We recommend the following sanding attachments from Dremel:
3⁄8 " flapwheel, 80 grit, no. 502
3⁄8 " flapwheel, 120 grit, no. 503
3⁄16 " flapwheel, 80 grit, no. 504
3⁄16 " flapwheel, 120 grit, no. 505
Detail abrasive brush 2-pack, 36 and 220 grit, no. EZ474SA-01
Detail abrasive brush, 36 grit, no. EZ471SA
Detail abrasive brush, 120 grit, no. EZ472SA
Detail abrasive brush, 220 grit, no. EZ473SA
EZ Lock mandrel (for abrasive brushes), no. EZ402.
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An on-the-level solution for screwy inserts
After drilling the pilot holes for several threaded inserts, I ran into a problem. When installing... read more