How to use wood routers? You’ve just been given a wood router as a gift, or you’ve decided to purchase one for your home workshop. You have no idea how to use it!
A wood router can be a powerful tool in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, but it can also be dangerous if used incorrectly.
This guide by Edon Lazaj will show you how to safely and correctly use a wood router for all of your routing needs. We will show you how to use a wood router for common projects like edge-forming, jointing and rabbeting.
Introduction to wood router
What Is a Wood Router?
A wood router is a handheld power tool used to shape and finish wood. Routers are used to create decorative edges, moldings, and joinery on wood projects.
There are two main types of routers: plunge routers and fixed-base routers. Plunge routers have a bit that can be extended or retracted, while fixed-base routers keep the bit extended at all times.
Here are some basic terms associated with wood routers:
- Bit: The blade that cuts the wood. Bits come in many different sizes and shapes to create different edge profiles.
- Base: The bottom part of the router that sits against the workpiece.
- Collet: The part of the router that holds the bit in place.
- Depth stop: A device that sets the maximum depth of cut for the router bit.
Ten Basic Router Bits to Know
- Straight bit: The most basic router bit. Used for making straight cuts and rabbets (cuts along the edge of a workpiece).
- Flush trim bit: A variation of the straight bit. The bearing is flush with the cutting edge, allowing it to follow an existing edge.
- Dado bit: Creates wide, flat-bottomed grooves in wood.
- Rabbeting bit: For cutting rabbets (cuts along the edge of a workpiece).
- Roundover bit: For creating smooth, rounded edges.
- Ogee bit: For creating an “S” shaped edge profile.
- Chamfer bit: For creating angled cuts (usually 45 degrees).
- Piloted bit: Has a guide (pilot) at the end of the bit to help control the cut. Used for making precise, straight cuts.
- Pattern bit: A piloted bit with a ball bearing guide. Used for following templates or patterns.
- Core box bit: Used for making round, hollowed out areas in wood (such as a recessed panel).
There are many different types of router bits available to create different edge profiles. The most common bits are listed above, but there are also more specialized bits available depending on the project you are working on.
Install Router Bits Properly
A proper edge profile requires that the router bit be installed correctly in the router.
- Start by loosening the collet nut with the wrench that came with your router.
- Insert the router bit into the collet so that the cutting edge is facing downwards.
- Tighten the collet nut until it is snug, but don’t over tighten it or you may damage the bit.
- Once the bit is installed, use the depth adjustment knob to set the depth of cut. Be sure to adjust slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the bit or workpiece.
Selecting Proper Router Bit Speeds
The speed of the router bit is important to consider when making cuts. The general rule is that the larger the diameter of the bit, the slower the speed should be.
- Bits with diameters under 1/4 inch can be run at speeds up to 20,000 RPM.
- Bits with diameters between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch should be run at speeds between 10,000 and 15,000 RPM.
- Bits with diameters over 1/2 inch should be run at speeds below 10,000 RPM.
Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific router bit to ensure proper speed is being used.
Shank Router Bits: 1/2-inch vs. 1/4-inch
Router bits come in two different shank sizes: 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch. The size you need will depend on the router you are using.
- If you are using a 1/2-inch router, you will need to use bits with a 1/2-inch shank.
- If you are using a 1/4-inch router, you can use either 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch bits.
Using a bit with a larger shank than your router can handle is dangerous and could damage both the bit and the router.
Next, we will show you the proper manner of using a router.
The Proper Manner of Utilizing a Router
Make your way to the Right
The biggest mistake novice woodworkers make is advancing the router in the wrong direction. You should always start the router on the right side of the workpiece and move it towards the left. This will ensure that the chips are thrown away from you and not towards you. If you start the router on the left side of the workpiece and move it towards the right, the chips will be thrown towards you and could potentially hit you in the face. This is a dangerous situation that can easily be avoided by simply following this one rule: always start the router on the right side of the workpiece and move it towards the left.
Take the role of Co-Pilot
One of the best and safest ways to begin routing is to use router bits fitted with ball-bearing pilots. These bits have a small ball bearing on the tip that helps guide the bit as it cuts. This is a great way to get started because it takes the guesswork out of routing. Once you get more experience, you can move on to using router bits without ball-bearing pilots.
Take the Tour with a Guide
Once you’ve mastered basic routing techniques, create a precise milling machine by equipping your router with a guide. A guide is simply a straight edge that attaches to the base of the router and helps you make perfectly straight cuts. This is a great way to make dadoes, grooves, and other types of precise cuts.
Invert it so that it’s facing you
Mounting your router upside down in a router table greatly expands the tool’s capabilities. This allows you to use larger bits and perform more advanced routing operations. It also makes it easier to control the router, which is important when making precision cuts.
Get in Here to Claim Your Door Prize!
Building traditional frame-and-panel cabinet doors is virtually impossible without a router. By using a rabbeting bit in your router, you can quickly and easily create the groove that accepts the panel. You can also use your router to create the raised edge around the perimeter of the door, known as the “stile-and-rail” style door.
There are few wood joints as strong or as beautiful as a dovetail. But cutting them by hand is a time-consuming and difficult task. Fortunately, there are router bits available that will quickly and easily cut perfect dovetails.
How to Use a Woodworking Router Properly in 6 Easy Steps
Making Perfect Edges
Cutting a clean and smooth edge on your workpiece is one of the most basic, yet important tasks you will perform in the woodshop. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but using a router is by far the quickest and easiest method.
Crafting a Sophisticated Moulding Profile
One of the most popular uses for a router is creating custom moulding profiles. By using a combination of different router bits, you can create virtually any moulding profile you can imagine.
Making Short Work of Dadoes
A dado is a wide, shallow groove cut into a piece of wood. It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as holding shelves in place or providing a housing for electrical wiring.
Creating Neat Rabbets With a Carve
Rabbets are another type of groove, but they are much narrower and deeper than dadoes. They are commonly used for joining two pieces of wood together, such as when making cabinet doors.
Creating and Recreating Patterns
If you need to create multiple copies of the same shape or design, a router is the perfect tool for the job. By using a template, you can quickly and easily reproduce the same shape over and over again.
Recessing Door Hinges
Most doors are held in place by recessed hinges. This type of hinge is installed in a shallow recess cut into the door, which gives the door a clean and finished look.
8 steps in a project
Routing on the Edge
One of the most common uses for a router is edge work. This simply refers to any time you need to cut an edge on a piece of wood. The most common type of edge work is cutting rabbets and dadoes, but you can also use a router to create raised edges, chamfered edges, and more.
Here are a few tips for edge work:
- Use a sharp bit. A dull bit will cause the router to tear out the wood, resulting in a poor-quality cut.
- Set the depth of cut before you begin. This is important because it determine how deep the router will cut into the wood.
- Use a fence. A fence is simply a piece of wood that is attached to the router base and helps guide the router as it cuts. This is especially important when making precision cuts.
- Take shallow cuts. It’s better to take several shallow cuts than one deep cut. This will help prevent the router from bogging down and will result in a cleaner, smoother cut.
To prevent the fire from spreading, make deep cuts in stages
Start by making a series of shallow cuts, increasing the depth of each cut until you reach the desired depth. This will help prevent the router from bogging down and will result in a cleaner, smoother cut.
Narrow Stock With An Edge Routing
Routing a smooth, clean edge profile on narrow pieces of wood is tricky. The router has a tendency to tip over, especially when the bit is extended out beyond the base. The best way to prevent this from happening is to use a guide bushing.
A guide bushing is simply a small, cylindrical ring that fits around the router bit and helps to stabilize it. This will allow you to make more precise cuts and will help prevent the router from tipping over.
To use a guide bushing, first attach it to the router base. Then, position the router so that the bit is aligned with the edge of the workpiece. Slowly lower the router until the guide bushing comes into contact with the wood.
Once the guide bushing is in place, you can begin routing. Remember to take shallow cuts and increase the depth gradually.
Cut dadoes with the use of a jig
Dadoes (or grooves) are the cleanest, strongest way to join two pieces of wood together. But cutting them can be tricky, especially if you’re working with narrow stock. The best way to cut a dado is with the use of a jig.
A dado jig is simply a guide that attaches to the router base and helps to stabilize the router as it cuts. This will allow you to make more precise cuts and will help prevent the router from tipping over.
To use a dado jig, first attach it to the router base. Then, position the router so that the bit is aligned with the edge of the workpiece. Slowly lower the router until the guide comes into contact with the wood.
Once the guide is in place, you can begin routing. Remember to take shallow cuts and increase the depth gradually.
Instructions for Making a Rabbet Joint on a Table Saw
Rabbet joints are one of the most common and versatile joints used in woodworking. They’re strong, easy to make, and can be used in a variety of applications.
There are many different ways to cut rabbets, but the easiest way is with a table saw. With a few simple steps, you can easily cut rabbets on both the edge and end of a workpiece.
First, adjust the fence so that it’s flush with the side of the blade. Next, position the workpiece so that the blade is aligned with the desired rabbet depth. Slowly feed the workpiece into the blade, keeping it level as it passes through.
As you near the end of the cut, tilt the workpiece slightly to prevent the blade from binding. Finally, use a chisel or hand plane to clean up any rough edges.
With these tips, you can easily cut rabbets on both the edge and end of a workpiece.
The Rabbets, Including the Rabbets Bits
Rabbet bits are one of the most versatile and commonly used bits in woodworking. They’re perfect for a variety of applications, including cutting dadoes, rabbets, and groove joints.
There are many different types of rabbet bits, but the two most common are the straight bit and the plunge router bit.
No matter which type of rabbet bit you choose, the basic process for using it is the same.
First, attach the bit to the router and tighten the chuck. Next, position the router so that the bit is aligned with the edge of the workpiece. Slowly lower the router until the bit comes into contact with the wood.
Once the bit is in place, you can begin routing. Remember to take shallow cuts and increase the depth gradually.
Create Perfection in Your Patterns
Patterns allow you to make multiple copies of nearly any shape with a router and a bottom-bearing flush trim router bit. But to get perfect results, it’s important to follow a few simple tips.
First, make sure the original pattern is flat and free of any defects. Any imperfections in the original will be amplified in the copies.
Next, use a sharp bit and take light cuts. This will help prevent tear-out and produce a cleaner edge.
Finally, take your time and be patient. Rushing the job will only result in mistakes.
With these tips, you can easily create perfect copies of nearly any shape with a router and a bottom-bearing flush trim router bit.
Router with a Bit of Wit
Wood routers have router bits that come in two types, carbide-tipped and high-speed steel. The router bits are also classified according to their function or the type of cut that they make.
The most common types of router bits are:
- Straight bits – used for making cuts along the grain of the wood
- Flush trim bits – used for trimming an overhanging edge flush with the surface of the workpiece
- Dado bits – used for cutting dadoes or groove joints
- Rabbet bits – used for cutting rabbets or rebate joints
To use a router bit, first attach it to the router and tighten the chuck. Next, position the router so that the bit is aligned with the edge of the workpiece. Slowly lower the router until the bit comes into contact with the wood.
Once the bit is in place, you can begin routing. Remember to take shallow cuts and increase the depth gradually.
Purchasing Advice for Woodworking Routers
When purchasing a router, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
The size of the router
You will need to decide if you want a compact router or a full-size router. Compact routers are smaller and easier to maneuver, but they have less power than full-size routers.
The type of motor
Router motors come in two different types: AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). AC motors are more common, but they tend to be louder than DC motors. DC motors are more expensive, but they run cooler and are more efficient.
The speed control
Many routers come with variable speed controls that allow you to adjust the speed of the router bit to match the material you are working with. This is a useful feature to have, but it is not essential.
The depth adjustment
A depth adjustment knob allows you to set the depth of cut for the router bit. This is an important feature to have if you want to be able to create consistent, accurate cuts.
The edge guide
An edge guide is a attachment that helps you route in a straight line. This is a useful feature, but it is not essential.
The dust collection
Many routers come with some type of dust collection system to help keep your work area clean. This is a nice feature to have, but it is not essential.
Now that you know what to look for when purchasing a router, you can start shopping around and find the perfect router for your woodworking projects.
F.A.Q how to use routers
How do you use a router step by step?
First, attach the router bit to the router and tighten the chuck. Next, position the router so that the bit is aligned with the edge of the workpiece. Slowly lower the router until the bit comes into contact with the wood. Once the bit is in place, you can begin routing. Remember to take shallow cuts and increase the depth gradually.
When should you use a router?
Routers are most commonly used for cutting dadoes, rabbets, and other joints. They can also be used for trimming an overhanging edge flush with the surface of the workpiece.
How do you use a router by hand?
To use a router by hand, first attach the router bit to the router and tighten the chuck. Next, position the router so that the bit is aligned with the edge of the workpiece. Slowly lower the router until the bit comes into contact with the wood.
What are the main uses of a router?
The main use of a router is to cut dadoes, rabbets, and other joints. Routers can also be used for trimming an overhanging edge flush with the surface of the workpiece.
Wood routers are versatile tools that can be used for a variety of projects. In order to get the most out of your wood router, it is important to understand the different types of bits and how they can be used. We hope this article has provided you with the information you need to start using your wood router like a pro. Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know in the comments below!