Author: Graham Smith
Graham is the Founder of Hot Tea Workshop. He lives in a small London flat with limited space. His need for multi-purpose furniture was the inspiration for the London Table and sparked his interest in small space living and tiny homes.

Toolbox Talk: Makita DRT50 Router

We recently added a new piece of kit to the Hot Tea Workshop, it’s the Makita DRT50 Cordless Router Trimmer. So what does it do and how do we use it?

Routers are used to hollow out an area of wood or cut fancy edges, patterns and grooves.

We use the routers to add curves to the edge of the tabletop (sharp edges get damaged easily and can really hurt if you knock them). We also use it to create the recess for fitting the name badge to each table.

One of only a handful of cordless routers available , it makes it easy to move around the table without being tied to a socket. You wouldnt believe how many times we knock objects (especially mugs of tea) off the workbench when you have an electric tool with a cable.

It weighs about 2kg with a nicely balanced battery on top (and Yes, we sometimes forget to recharge the battery overnight – everyone has done it at some time).

The balance is important when cutting small edges. It’s easy for the router to slip away and get out of control. Sometimes the router controls you, rather than the other way round. The soft start ensures you get to grips and control the cut from the beginning.

The tricky bit

The tricky bit is changing the bit (the bit is the sharp rotating head). There are different bit heads depending on the result you want to achieve (see photo of Router Bits).

It has variable speed. Why variable? The correct speed depends on the type of wood and the type of bit. There is an element of trial and error, but the general rule of thumb is ‘the larger the bit, the lower the speed’.

Spinning too high can burn the wood, too slow will leave a rough cut, ragged edge.

We set it to 12,000 rpm for bits that are 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) to 3.5 inches (8.89 cm), and 24,000 rpm for bits that are up to 1 inch (2.54 cm). Changing the bit interrupts the flow of work but it has to be done.

Gauging the depth of the cut requires a keen eye and more than a little experience. We record the depth of the cut that works for each routed piece – although there are a lot of variables so it’s not an exact science.

Sounds silly, but the most helpful part is the light. It illuminates the area you are cutting. We dont work down a mine, but when you place any tool over a work area it cuts out the natural light.

Specifications

• Battery Type: Lithium-ion
• Voltage: 18 v
• Collet Capacity: 3/8″ and 1/4″
• Noise sound pressure: 78 dB(A)
• Plunge Capacity (Trimmer): 0 – 40 mm
• Plunge Capacity (Plunge): 0 – 35 mm
• No Load Speed: 10,000 – 30,000 rpm
• Vibration K factor: 1.5 m/sec²
• Vibration: Cutting: MDF4.5 m/sec²
• Vibration no load: 2.5 m/sec²
• Net weight: 2.1 kg