How to Use a Router Table for Woodworking Beginners

When using a wood router, hold onto both grips when operating it. Always plan a cut to keep it in the way when the router leaves the wood and starts cutting. Make various shallow passes rather than a single deep pass. Don protecting equipment. Do not use jewelry or loose clothing when operating any powerful cutting tool, such as a fixed-base router.

This lead explains the scaling, operation, and safety concerns you should follow when learning how to use a router tool for cutting a part of the wood.

The first step to using a router table or any tool is to use personal protective equipment (PPE). It covers eye protection, hearing protection, and a quality respirator to shield our lungs.

It’s also essential to work safely and follow all of the manufacturer’s directions for your router and router table.

1. Pick a Router Bit

Pick a router bit

We’ll need to pick a bit with the sketch for the variety of cuts we want to make. The drawing is the shape of the cutting edge.

Bits can range from the exact cutting bit used for cutting a notch to decorative bits like cove and ogee with a guide bearing or pilot bearing. The pilot bearing supports the edge of the workpiece.

It’s important to pick a bit with the correct size shank for our router. The leg is the end of the bit that is kept in place by the collet. The collet is what has the bit in the router. 

The shank requires to fit in the collet of our router. Router collets either accept a  ½ inch shank or a ¼ inch shank. Some routers have demountable collets that can support both ¼ inch shank and ½ inch shank bits. 

We should go with a ½ inch bit if we have an option. ½ inch bits provide less vibration and make smoother cuts than ¼ inch bits.

Related: Best Router tables

2. Operating a Router

operating a router

Running a router along a board to cut at lightning speeds will get the job done faster. Nevertheless, the job won’t be as much as it would have been if you knew your time cutting.

  • Maintain the router slowly so that you’re just feeling light to reduced resistance as you work. It lets the router use its power, speed, and energy to deliver you the best possible results on the piece. 
  • Do shallow passes and resist the urge to cut in a single pass. Making a deep cut will do one of three things: Snap the bit off at the shank, blister the bit, char the wood, or give you a different volume. If you’re cutting a groove, set up the cut and then modify the bit so it’s cutting someplace around 1/4-inch deep. Make the cut, lower the bit and repeat until you’ve needed a groove the desired depth. 
  • Force-feeding stock past the bit means the bit involves wood fewer times per cutting pass, omitting a rougher surface. It also offers vibration that goes lines, called chatter marks, along with the routed surface. 
  • If you are routing the edge of a board with a bit that has a bearing, set the bit to the final depth of cut and leave it there. It’s impossible to guide the router in a straight line as you cut a base on these first couple of passes so that the border will be a bit wavy. When you begin routing, keep the router bearing from the edge so that the bit is only cutting about one-third or one-fourth of its final width. Rout the edge, then leave the path in almost half the distance to the edge and repeat. The last key, in which you guide the pilot along the board’s edge, will clean up any problems.

Related: Router and Table Combo

3. Changing the Router Bits

Changing a router Bit

Always unplug the router before replacing it a bit.

Include the bit until the cutting edge affects the collet, then pull the bit out around an ⅛ inch and finger tighten the collet. It’s essential to allow an ⅛ inch of range between the bit and the collet. 

The collet pulls the bit in as the locking nut is toughened. The bit may not fully remove if the cutter is regarding the collet. It means the bit could come free and fly out of the router. This is dangerous.

Router bits heat up fast. Heat produces expansion. The range between the bit and the collet will also allow for growth.

4. Set the Fence

Set router fence

A while back, I took some furniture-making classes. One of the students in the class asked, “how do you square the fence on the router table?” Bob said the router fence does not require to be accurately parallel to the bit for most cuts. It seemed crazy! When we use a table saw, or miter saw, we always need the fence parallel to the blade.

The contrast is a flat blade versus an around a bit. Bob said the essential thing is to fix the fence the proper distance away from the bit, and the bit will do the rest work.

Placing the fence will depend on the sort of bit we’re using.

Accurate Cutting Bits

First, set the fence from the front. Unplug the router. Put a ruler beyond the center of the bit. Next, rotate the cutting point of the bit towards the fence. Set the wall, so it’s the desired range. Then squeeze the wall and cut a test piece.

Need to adjust? First, describe a pencil line with the fence on the router table. Then, release just the left end of the wall. This allows the wall to pivot either closer to the bit or free away from the bit. Adjust the fence and tighten the fence. Produce a different cut on a test bit and settle again if necessary.

Piloted Bits

For bits with pilot bearing or guide bearing, we’ll place an accurate edge across the fence. Then we’ll set the fence until there’s the closeness of a piece of paper between the bearing of the bit and the straightedge. Then squeeze the fence and cut a test piece.

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