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Expert Techniques for Using a Router Table – Complete Beginner Guide

A router table is the most valuable tool in a woodworking workshop. It has various critical applications, whether it shapes the edges, grooves, or makes raised panels. Fixing the router to a table will make your work hundred-folds easy. Here we will make you familiar with the workings of the router table.

What is a Router Table Used for?

The handheld router is the most valued tool for a woodworking expert. A router doesn’t need to be fixed with a table. But a router table makes your work easier and quicker at times. It makes it more versatile. It gives you a good grip over the wooden piece and helps in providing better work, especially with small pieces.

The handheld router is attached upside down in a router table, and the bit is extended through a hole in the table’s surface. Being the router upside down, the bit spins anticlockwise. The material is then made to slide on the surface against the bit to be cut.
To make a router table, fix the handheld router underneath the table with the help of bolts. Make sure the bolts are tightly fixed. If not tight, the wooden piece can pop out and injure the user. Just these simple adjustments can make your hands free and enable you to control the wood, fence, and control the cut.

Router Table Uses / Benefits

There are many essential woodworking tools used, and router tables are one. The question that can pop up in your mind is, Is it essential to buy a router table? Yes, it is worth buying as it can do the work of other tools as well. Keeping a router table will keep other tools free, and you can use them for other works.

Working on small, narrow, or long pieces will be very difficult with a handheld router, and a router table will make it extremely easy and quick. Making stopped cuts, grooves and dadoes will also be very easy.

If you are short on money, an extension wing router table, basically a handheld router mounted to a table saw, will do the work. Like this, you will save your money and not make space for a new tool.

Types of the Router Table

There are three types: Benchtop, Free-standing, and Extension wing router tables.

  • Benchtop: Benchtop router tables have the most demand. These have short legs and are designed to be kept on a platform to reach the working height. For a small workspace, they are the best option. Being small in size once the job is done, it can be used as a table or kept in a corner.
  • Free-standing: Unlike small benchtop router tables, free-standing router tables are large and must be assigned a place in your workspace. These are best if you have a large workspace.
  • Extension Wing: You can add a router to your table saw if you have a table saw and lack space. The only downside is fewer options in the market, so you may need to make one yourself.

Making a router table by yourself can have certain advantages, like choosing how tall, short, big, or small your table has to be. However, buying a pre-build router table would be better.

How to Use a Router Table?

Router bits rotate at a very high speed, and the operator must be fully aware. Before setting up the router, always remember to unplug the device and over the bit. Always wear safety gear like safety glasses and headgear. Use a push stick to slide the wood on the surface, so your fingers do not get injured. Make sure to operate the machine from right to left. Let’s see the step-by-step guide on how to use a routing table.

  1. The very first thing is to level the surface. There can be unnecessary cuts or a halt in work if the insert is below or around the surrounding table. Many commercial router tables come with set screws to level the surface.
  2. The next step is to adjust the depth of the cut. For this, you can either clamp the blocks and then raise the bit until it touches the surface, or you can measure the depth and then adjust the setting.
  3. Setting up the fence is very important for the operator’s safety. Measure the distance between the fence and the bit. The distance from one end of the bit will be halved.
  4. The gap behind the bit can break the edge of your wood. If it is a commercial router table, insert a close-fitting ring and slide the fence until the ring and the fence come in contact.

Things you Can do With a Router Table

  • Working on Small or Narrow Pieces: It will be hard to work on small and narrow pieces with a handheld router; however, it can be quickly done with a router table. But make sure to use a push stick to slide the stick and keep your fingers away.
  • Making the Same Cut Multiple Times: You will have to repeat the same process multiple times with a handheld router. However, in a router table, stack the pieces at once, and the work will be done in one go.
  • Making Raised Panel Doors: Making designs on a door will be extremely difficult, and if done, the end work would be too shabby. However, the raised panels can be made accurately and quickly with a router table.
  • Stopped Cuts: Making cuts that do not cover the entire length of the material with a handheld router is challenging and time-consuming. With some adjustments in the router table, the stopped cuts can be made accurately and hastily.

Safety Tips and Tricks While Using Router Tables

  • Unlike other tools, where the angle of the fence is the most important, the feed direction is the key in the router table. The material is directed from the opposite side of the bit spin. Pushing the material in the same direction as the spin will repulse the piece away, causing a loss of control.
  • The router table can also help in joining the materials. Compared to a table saw, completing the work may take some time.
  • Other works like rabbets, dadoes, and grooves can also be done with the help of a router table, and the table saw can be used for other works.

Final Thoughts

The router table will be a perfect addition to your workspace. With some simple adjustments, it would do the work of other tools and help you overcome future challenges. We hope you got a frame on the perfect procedure regarding router table usage from the above information.

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