I dont agree with much that you said Tom..Teaching blind people to use a router..Hope your liability insurance is paid up.
If you are building furntiure like i do most of the time., the router table gets most of the work. The last project i did ( Deacons Bench) The side and top rails i mortise them to except the curved splats..That was it for handheld work. The rest was on the table.
I know many furniture makers and they either have industrial shapers or router tables..Handheld template work is only if you cannot do it on a table.
Nobody can tell me using a router table is more dangerous than using a handheld router.." Think about what you are saying.
Do you watch the Router workshop...I have yet seen them use a router handheld.There is no reason for them too.
If you want to round a Table top., its easier and safer " and " You get a better job laying the top on a flat surface of the router table and rounding the 4 edges.
I just do different kind of woodworking then you do..If i was making signs then i would do more handheld work.
I am sure Emmie's husband is not going into the furniture business and is only looking for a router for the weekend woodworking in the back shed.
Like you I was also in the cabinetmaking business fo a great number of years and like most router users in my time we did put it under the table as I was brought up with the spindle moulder as one of our main machinery. (Similar to router table in a smaller way). I would say that in that time we did not have the router as part of our tool kit(I'm going back a few years as you will understand)
Therefore when I got my first router It was placed under the table. Since then I suppose I was like everyone else and that was where it stayed,. It was during my cabinetmaking years I was engaged to refitting executive jets with small cabinets and therefore it was necessary to learn new techniques to complete the many intricate work involved in making such small cabinets. I taught myself the use of the template guides with the router, as at that time there was no written material available for me to follow.
I have seen over the years the advantages of the guides and before I retired I used to conduct Router workshops for a number of years.
What I am saying there are alternative methods of using the router and please do not say that the only way is to put it in the table for 95% of the time. There are other methods that are available.
With regards to safety the usual people who may have lost a finger or part thereoff in the workshop when I was doing my apprenticeship were the users of the spindle moulder.
All I ask Hickory is you give the template guides a go and think of the hobbiest who may be reading the forum and guide them on to enjoy their routing projects. That is what I have tried to do introduce interesting projects that require the use of the router in thew plunge mode that are not capable of being done in the router table.
Obviously you are a professional woodworker and there is no doubt that the average "woodie" logged on to this forum would not be able to do the work that you do in your business If there were maybe you and I would have gone out of business sooner.
All I ask is that you do not say there is only one way to use the router and that is in the router table.
Your comments re the the "Router workshops" no I have not seen them but I am sure they must have used the router handheld to complete some of the project that I have seen when visiting their site.
Personally I would also disagree with Bob and Rick when they say 90% of the work should be done in the router table, but that is their opinion and who am I to argue, they have been conducting that TV series for a long time. I am only a lonely person on the other side of the world that found great value in the use of the template guides. I must confess that I will continue to try and show that there is a need to learn new skills with the router with the use of the guides.
My apology to all for taking up the space but I am concerned with safety with the router and the use of the guides will help. I would be interested in anyone else who may wish to comment and I am always open for assistance if I can help in any way