When I first started wanting to buy a router, I went out and bought some books on routers to give me an idea of what I could do with them, what to look for in a router, and also some jigs that would let me use them effectively.
Well, at the time, The New Router Handbook (Patrick Spielman, 1993, Sterling, ISBN 978-0806905181) was the book of choice that was recommended reading. I picked up a copy and was absorbed by the world of routers, what they could do, what makes a good router table, and pretty much everything I was looking for. The only real problem was that the “buying guide” section of the book was not much use: the hardware mentioned was outdated, and could not be readily purchased. And the black-and-white photography gives the book an old feel compared to today’s slick publishing standards. Regardless, I got enough information from the book to get my first router, and I am still very pleased with my purchase of the router. This book gave me many skills that I still use today.
But times roll on, and in the meantime many more books have been written on the subject. The current “cream of the crop” in router books is Woodworking with the Router: Revised & Updated - Professional Router Techniques and Jigs Any Woodworker Can Use (Bill Hylton, upd 2006, Readers Digest, ISBN 978-0762108008). This book is chock fully of information for everyone, from beginner to advanced, and even includes a large number of jig designs. His motto seems to be “build it, don’t buy it”, which is part of the fun with woodworking, and the plans included let you do just that. All you should need to buy is the router and the bits themselves (and this book, of course).
Overall, I’d say Hylton’s book is the most relevant router handbook today. Who knows, I may have to revisit this topic in the future. but for now, one book is all you really need to get you started. Besides, why do too much reading? Wouldn’t you rather be in the workshop making sawdust?
-- Dekker - http://www.WoodworkDetails.com/