A wood router is a versatile tool in the modern world of woodworking. Any woodworker is familiar with the unlimited uses of the wood router tool. But using one for a perfect finish is not an ice walk. You have to get a minimum perception of the wood router machine and its routing tools for hassle-free work. To pave a perfect way for your woodworking journey, learn how to use a wood router.
What is a Wood Router?
A wood router is a simple flat base tool with a fast-rotating spindle. The spindle spins extremely fast, nearing the speed of almost 27000 rpm. It is used to customize wood router designs, dadoes, and styles by cutting designs and shaping edges in woodworking (mainly cabinetry). Due to its fast speed, many beginners are intimidated by this tool. However, the following guide will help any basic beginner pro the wood routing game.
Things Required to Use a Wood Router
The foremost thing you need to use a wood router itself. There are various routers available in the market. You can buy any router which suits your budget and the project you want to make. There are two main types of routers in woodworking:
- Plunge Router– Plunge routers can alter their depth in between cuts by pushing down or adjusting the bit’s depth without turning off the router. It is more like a handheld wood router which movement is much more controlled and starts in the middle of a cut.
- Fixed Base Router– You can adjust it by sliding it up or down in its base. It cannot be adjusted between cuts but is much easier to work with. It makes finer changes and edge shapes.
All wood routers are designed to rotate sharp bits at high speeds. There are hundreds of top-rated wood router bits available under different manufacturers. They range from simple round bits (curving a roundabout) to the most complex bits used to make kitchen cabinet doors. These various types of router bits come with either a quarter-inch or a half-inch shank.
The piece holds the router bit into the router. Generally, they come in two different sizes, a half-inch (which can hold half-inch bits and even quarter-inch bits) and a quarter-inch. Quarter-inch collets are somewhat tricky to use in router projects for beginners.
If its not a small one your router may have to be mounted on a table or a workbench. The table already has holes to fix the router and clamp it to the table. It can even hold your workpiece and keep it mounted on the table.
Sandpaper to file the edges of the material. It ensures clean edges and proper finishing. It also prevents splintering.
Safety glasses and ear protection like plugs or headphones.
How to Use a Wood Router?
Step-1 : Fitting a Router Bit
- Disconnect the power cord.
- Turn the wood router upside down.
- Press the spindle lock button while you loosen the collet nut.
- Place the bit three-quarters of the way into the collet.
- Keep the spindle-lock button pressed while you tighten the collet nut firmly.
Step-2 : Adjusting Router Depth
- Ensure the small rod within the depth gauge extends by about 3 mm.
- Rotate the turret so that its highest position clicks into place right under the depth gauge.
- Loosen the knob to drop the gauge onto the depth stop turret.
- Loosen the locking lever.
- Push the tool down until the router bit touches the workpiece.
- Tighten the locking lever.(This sets the routing depth to 0 mm)
Step-3 : Fixing the depth of router
- Raise the depth gauge to the desired routing depth and tighten the knob.
- Loosen the locking lever and guide the tool back up again.
- You can increase the routing depth by 5 or 10 mm with the depth stop turret.
Step-4 : Routing
- Check the instruction manual to find the right routing speed.
- Connect to a vacuum cleaner or a dust port.
- Connect the power cord to a power source.
- Pull the trigger to switch on the wood router
- Slowly push the tool down until the depth gauge reaches the depth stop turret.
- Tighten the locking lever.
- Guide the wood router along the workpiece.
Tips to Follow While Using a Wood Routers
- Make sure the router is upside down. If you are a beginner, you might turn it on facing upwards, which can be dangerous.
- Next thing you need to know is that the router spins the bit in a clockwise direction, so when you are feeding the router through the material, you should be pushing against the bit rotation, making a push cut.’
- Suppose you want to round an edge around a rectangular piece of wood material because the bit’s rotation is clockwise. In that case, it naturally wants to pull the router in a direction going from right to left.
- If you want to route in the opposite direction, go against the bit rotation moving from left to right.
- Sometimes, when dealing with difficult wood grain, cutting clockwise, known as a ‘climb cut,’ is advisable.
- Always re-adjust the routing depth after changing the router bit.
- Always evaluate the routing action first on a piece of wood scrap material. This way, you will decrease the chances of error.
- Some wood routers are supplied with an adaptor plate, which allows you to copy a template. These accessories ensure optimum accuracy.
Things to Avoid While Using a Wood Router
- Prevent Routing in Opposite Direction: When you are running wood through your router table, always go from the right side of your router to the left side of your router. When your router is upside down, the blade is spinning clockwise. So, if you feed the wood from the opposite direction, the wood will fly out.
- Avoid Cutting Too Much: Do not cut too much at a time. Use multiple passes. Work your way up to make the desired groove or cut.
- Unplug the router in between adjustments.
- Make sure all the parts are clamped and appropriately fitted.
- Secure your material to the workbench or a routing table via clamps. A friction mat can be used to ensure that the material or the project stays in its place.
- Splintering should be avoided by regular sanding and smooth transitions.
- A wood router spins extremely fast and is dangerous; therefore, proper gear is required.
- Tie your hair tightly to avoid any dangerous accidents
- Wear well fitted and comfortable clothes
- Use safety goggles as a lot of dust is generated while routing.
- Routing can be loud; use ear gear.
- Protect your hands. Wear gloves and keep your fingers away from the rotating bit.
To conclude, a wood router is a highly versatile tool known for woodworking. It goes extremely fast. The little and several types of adjustments can be confusing for beginners. All the prerequisites for routing must be available beforehand to start wood router projects even for beginners. Routing can be used to make and design customized groves and cuts in the wood. By following the step-by-step procedure, your router will be working in no time. However, always keep a few tricks and tips in mind and never route without following safety norms.