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A plunge router is a must when it comes to sophisticated jigs, such as the WoodRat  and the FMT by Leigh (see photo, above). The plunge router is ideally suited for stringing and delicate inlay work, often called captured inlay, because the plunge mechanism allows a smooth entrance and exit from the cut.
Woodworking expert Sandor Nagyszalanczy "draws" his two shop router selections, two classic handheld routers welcome in any workshop.
But if I had to choose only two models from the vast ranks of these versatile portables, I’d pick my Elu model 3337 plunge router and PORTER-CABLE 310 trim router. Just set the router over the template, turn it on, plunge the bit to the preset depth and rout.
This is one operation you definitely want to get right the first time, and a plunge router is the surest way to get the job done well. It’s sized just right for my grip, so I have good control when tackling a delicate task, such as routing a sign or decorative plaque, jobs made even easier when the 310’s motor is mounted in my favorite accessory: The MicroFence plunge router base.
Lacking a link is available as another option ago I bought a reconditioned Porter Cable natural beauty plunge router uses and utility. There’s no better way to mill stopped grooves and flutes than by using a plunge router.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the excitement I felt on the day I bought my first router, a shiny, all cast-aluminum Rockwell Speedmatic D-handle.

Compact, but boasting a lot of power, the Porter-Cable 310 handheld router features a MicroFence plunge router base and quick settings for bit depth. These jigs cut mortises, tenons, dovetails and a whole lot more, but they simply can’t perform all their operations without the use of a plunge router.
Just push your finger to disengage the lock lever and the spring-loaded mechanism retracts the housing, lifting the bit into the safety of the router base.
The Swiss-Made Elu 3337 Router may be off the market, but it still is a welcome addition to any wood shop.
Speaking of size and weight, my other router pick is a bit of a pit bull: PORTER-CABLE’s 310 trim model is more potent than its smallish stature portends.
A plunge router automatically surrounds and protects your expensive bits when it’s not in use. You don’t have to tip a spinning bit into the work as you would with a fixed-base router. Routing chores, such as mortising, stopped dados and inlay pattern work, are safer and easier to perform using a plunge router. Although neither is currently in production, these two noble routers are my “deserted island” selections because I use them more often than any of the other routers I have on hand. Now, several decades later, an embarrassment of router riches graces my power tool cabinet (I’ve often fantasized about how cool it would be to have one router for each bit!).

For stable, edge-referenced routing, the Elu comes with the largest, sturdiest fence on the planet. Some die-hard users of fixed-base models may argue that a fixed-base router can do everything that a plunge router can do, but they don’t realize what a great, unique tool the plunge router is. Here are eight things a plunge router can do with ease that present a challenge for a fixed-base model. The reason is that the 310 is compact and easy to maneuver, yet it packs more punch than other trim routers I’ve used.
The depth of cut can be preset, allowing you to position the router over the work and plunge the bit to an exact depth. The plastic bowtie inlay template, shown above, would probably have a few battle scars if a fixed base router had been used. With the router set on the start block, plunge the bit to the preset depth and press the lock lever as you make the cut along the length of the board.

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