Stupid newbie question on Routers

I'm renovating a vintage 1950 house, and just bought a router (a trim router, to be specific). I don't have any bits for it yet. Now here is my stupid question:
How do I use it? Pictures or a video clip would be nice.
I mean I know what you can do with a router, but it's not obvious from looking at it exactly how it works. And should I have gotten a plunge router instead? The onlt thing I can think of at the moment that I really want to do with it is rouer out a little bit of wood on my cabinet hinges because my new cabinet hinges leave an air gap slightly larger than the old ones did.
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See patwarner.com. I have a couple of his videos. They're great. Did it come with a manual?

Depends. Trim routers are *usually* used for flush trimming things like laminate counter tops. Their small size makes them easy to handle, but they often lack the power to do major wood-hogging-out things.

Probably a good use for a trim router. Practice on some scrap first. Remember you really can put wood *back* if you grind it away. I'd suspect that most others would take a chisel to this task.
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I realize that, but I bet with a little practice with my trim router I can do a much nicer job (and quicker too) with a router. If I end up doing all my kitchen cabinet doors than you really don't want to use a chisel.
Perhaps I should post some pictures of some of the doors I'm trying to fix and see what you guys advise I do. It's not just the kitchen cabinet doors, I've also got interior doors I need to fix also. I should probably post some pictures of those to see if you think I should reuse or replace the frames.
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On 19 Feb 2004 06:46:15 -0800, scott snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Childfree Scott) wrote:

unless you are either using a template or have lotsa skill with that router AND are using round cornered hinges you'll have to clean up with a chisel anyway.
sometimes I start with the router, sometimes not....     Bridger
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The world of routers is a mysterious, cult filled world. Its incredible what you can do with the beasts. A bare router out of the box with a common straight bit doesn't do much. You need guides and templates and fancy bits to really milk the value out of these things. A router table or at least a static mounting board opens up another world. My first router "table" was a piece of plywood drilled to fit my router and clamped between two saw horses. I used it to make zero tolerance throat plates for my table saw.
To the point of your quest - get a book on routers. If you can afford it, get some videos. I love videos because you can see things in motion that just are not clear in still photographs. Pat Warner is one of the well known authors on routers. I have a book by Patrick Spielman that is also good. It does a good job of explaining the very basics of a particular approach, then gets into specifics with practical cost effective approaches ($700 dovetail jigs are not always needed!).
I open up the book occasionally and just read. Invariably, I get this Eureka experience "I didn't know you could do that with a router". Its caused me to run to the shop late at night and just stare at my router to better understand what the book said.
A fixed base router is great for table use and some hand held use. But for lots of hand held uses, a plunger is much more flexible. Rather than spending more money on a plunger, you might first consider setting up a basic router table.
Bob

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What threw me on using a router was figuring out how to stop the router from going somewhere I didn't want it to go. Finally backed into realizing the rotation of the bit CAN pull the router away from the guide if the direction of router feed is wrong. I use the "right hand rule" to remember which direction the router should move. If there is a guide clamped to the wood that will be behind the cut the router should move from left to right against the guide. Thumb of right hand pointing down to emulate the bit has fingers that curl clockwise. Bit cutter should enter new wood when cutting and this accomplishes that. Cutters biting into new wood will hold router base against the guide. Hope this makes sense. Be cautious and DON'T try to make too deep a cut but make several shallow cuts instead, about 1/8" per pass. Protect hearing!
On 18 Feb 2004 06:26:13 -0800, scott snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Childfree Scott) wrote:

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Hey Scott, Check out www.routerworkshop.com They also have a show on PBS. Over a 150 episodes starring only the router (of course there are a few humans involved ;) The schedule is on the website. Good luck with the reno's. Tony

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Childfree Scott wrote:

You can also look at the New Yankee Workshop - Norm uses a router on almost every project.
After that, check out the book "Router Joinery Workshop" - the opening chapters on building a few simple jigs and a simple router table are excellent!
Chris
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