How to Use a Router

This article shows how to use a best router table safely and offers some tips to stay safe and produce a quality piece of work. When using a router, or any power tool, always exercise safe practices. It is important to keep in mind that routers are powerful tools and can be dangerous. When using a router, always stay focused on what you are doing, and respect the tool being used.

safety guidelines:

Always use a sharp router bit. Dull router bits can not only affect the quality of the workpiece but can also be very dangerous.

Dull router bits put more stress on the router and usually end up burning the wood. Using dull router bits can also catch the wood and cause the router to twist out of your hands.

Always make sure the work is clamped down securely. Wood clamps made specifically for this can be purchased.

Feed the router from left to right so that the cutting edge meets the wood first.

Use shallow passes, going deeper into the wood with each pass. making to deep of a pass can burn the wood, or even cause the router to twist out of one’s hands.

Don’t ever push the router. allow the router to move through the wood more slowly. feeding the router too quickly can cause the wood to burn, splinter, or chip.

Tips and Tricks

Fasten a piece of wood the same thickness of the workpiece to the router table or bench so that it can serve as a support for the router. This will prevent the router from wobbling while you make the cuts.
Use an edge guide whenever possible.
Watch for knots warps and nails in the wood you are routing.
Never use a router on wet wood.

There are different techniques that can be tried when using a router. Different techniques may work better for different types of router bits being used and different types of desired cuts.

Edge Profiles:

When routing edge profiles make sure your workpiece is clamped down securely by using a wood clamp.

Move the router in a counter-clockwise motion around the outside of the workpiece. When cutting the inside of a piece, cut clockwise. (You should also cut clockwise around the top right corner of the piece and the bottom left corner of the piece and then go around the entire piece counter-clockwise. This will prevent splintering at the corners.)

Make shallow passes with the Edge Bit, going deeper with each pass. It may be a good idea to test the router on a piece of scrap wood to see just how shallow to make each pass. Different woods may chip easier, and for certain pieces you may need to take more shallow passes than others.

*Keep in mind that when cutting a piece with an edge trim bit, the piece needs to be sanded before routing.

Dado Cuts:

Dado cuts make grooves in wood. Dado cuts can be made in wood using a router with a straight router bit and a router jig or a t-square. Choose straight router bits that will create the desired groove width. Test the router bit by using the router on a scrap piece of wood to ensure it will make the desired cut. Then clamp the t-square to the work piece and make the desired cuts.

Route on the right side of the t-square or jig so that the router pushes against the securely clamped jig instead of away from it. This will ensure straight even dado cuts.