Tool review – router base

A router base that floats on air

By Rick Campbell

Router base

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If you’ve ever trimmed plastic laminate with a router, you know how easy it is to scratch the material when tiny particles get caught between the base plate and the surface. When this happens, your choices are to live with the results or to start over.

Now there’s a way to reduce the chance of scratching. The innovative new Air-Glide Router Base from Betterley Industries enables your router to float on a thin cushion of air. By eliminating friction between the router and the work surface, you greatly reduce the occurrence of scratches and noticeably improve control over the entire cutting process.

It works by forcing a continuous stream of air from a compressor through tiny holes in the bottom of the plate, much like the system that keeps the puck aloft on the surface of an air hockey table. The kit comes complete with a three-piece base that replaces the bottom plate on your existing router and a 10′ air hose that connects to a standard 85-PSI air compressor, which you supply. Mounting hardware is provided by the manufacturer.

The bottom plate that’s shipped with the unit can accommodate bits with a maximum diameter of 1 3/16″, but optional plates are available with openings that can extend this range to a diameter of 2 5/8″. You can mount the system on most major brands of routers in less than 10 minutes, but some models may require you to modify the plate by drilling additional holes. Before you place your order, check if the system is compatible with your router.

Although this unit was designed for the laminate and solid-surface countertop industry, it’s worth considering if you work with a lot of prefinished materials, such as melamine or acrylic plastics. The kit will set you back about $179. Visit or call 800-871-7516.

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