9 Wood Router Tips and Tricks for Using Safely

A router is a power tool most users find handy for their carpentry workshop. But routing on a block of wood is not an easy job at all. It’s because the router’s erratic spinning becomes somewhat unsafe for unconscious users. To ensure precautionary safety measures for carpentry, here are some router tips and tricks to follow. 

Secure Placement of Wood Pieces

Whether you use a router free-hand or mounting on a router table, it is necessary to secure the wood piece on the table. If you rout on a workbench, make sure you’ve clamped down the workpiece to the table so that it doesn’t shift or move. On the router table, you’ll notice the bench dogs. Use them for narrow boards sticking with end vise.

However, it may be an exception while you are going to make cabinetry or heavy furniture. In that case, the large workpieces will be thick enough to control the shifting of the swipe of the router.

Safety of Your Hands

Be cautious whether you are going to endanger your hands for woodworking. Never use your fingers to clear off the router bits. The dizzying sharp carbide bit tip may let a quick swipe over the fingers, causing an accident. In that case, allow the router to stop completely, and then use hand gloves for further processing.

When it is freehand routing, never hold the workpieces barehanded. You can use a push block or push stick that will allow the workpiece to pass the bits. This method is not for routing freehands only but for large workpieces as well.

It is a wise option to use a feather board for safety measures. Feather boards allow workpieces to pass through the blades/bits sticking against the fence. It is an excellent kit to help users routing handsfree. The bonus point is that the featherboards protect not only your hands but also ensures precision cuts, keeping the workpiece in place.

Power Off for Bit Adjustment

Don’t be hasty for any adjustment of your router tool. It’ll be a risky attempt if you don’t unplug the router. Always keep in mind to disconnect the power, even if it becomes urgent to change bits or adjust the fence.

A router is a power tool, you know, and it uses sharp bits mounted on the table. Any sudden misconduct may cause a disaster in your life.

The good news is that most routers come with on/off switches. This switch is there for ease of use. It is also a safe option for users to switch off the router when it gets plugged in again.

Confirm if you’ve settled down the attachments like clamps, collet, and bits perfectly and only then you’ll be free to run it back.

Placement of Bits into Chuck

The standard bit size is 1/4-inch though; 1/2-inch bits are also available. Whatever the size is, make sure there’s no damage or visible faulty lines on bits. Also, make sure the bits sit on the collet properly.

If everything is okay, insert the bit into the collet for bit adjustment. Observation found that the bits get loosen during routing if it gets too close to the collet. So, it’ll be wise to pull it 1/16 inches up from the collet.

Again, over-tightening the collet nut may be an obstacle to smooth operation. Don’t sweep the shank exceedingly when you use a short bit. Always maintain ¾ length of the shank in the collet.

Never use the drill bits though they may have standard sizes to fit your router collets.

Paths of Precise Plunge Action

The depth gauges are good options, but if you want, you can use two more easy and quick options to set cutting depth.

Firstly, you can use a drill bit thickness to set a depth of a plunge router. What you need to do is to set the router on the bench to set the bit. Be sure the bit has touched the benchtop. Locking that in the right place, slightly release the depth rod and squeeze a drill bit. When you are done tightening the rod, slightly release the plunge mechanism. You are now ready to go.

Again, you can simply do it using spacers. Keep your plunge router on two 1/4″ spacers and fix the router bit until it reaches the benchtop. Then tighten up the stop rod lowering the plunger. That’s it.

The Right Direction of Routing

When you start routing, carefully look into the direction the bit is revolving – clockwise or reversing? It is safe to feed the workpieces against the rotation of the router bit. When you rout over the edge of a cabinet freehand, always move it to the right direction from the left.

“The Climb Cutting” is a risky wood routing method. This process follows the direction the bits rotate. You know, router bits have sharp edges, and they revolve fast. So, routing over the bit direction is dangerous. Anytime, it may lead you to lose control over your router.

But it may be smooth if you use a power feeder on the router table to propel the wood piece throughout the cut. There are features enriched router table today to help you for a smooth routing experience.

The Router May Break By Force

Are you crazy?! Rout by force to make sure they ruin your cuts. So, never do that. Usually, larger bit sizes require a powerful router, and small bits are perfect for lighter turns.

You might notice that the wood is scorching somehow. It may be the bits are not sharp enough. You can change the bit or sharpen it for smooth cutting.

If you detect unusual vibration, it may be the bit has broken down or damage. Inspect it and change the bit if it happens. Never force to operate in such conditions.

Router Bit Sizes

The bit size plays a vital role in routing over particles. Different types of routers out there serve diversified purposes. Simple edge cutting requires small bits when large-size bits cut better over wood for cabinetry. For the large-size bits, it’s better to set up the router on a router table.

A ½-inch shank is perfect for a large-size bit. Usually, the plunge router that generates 18,000 RPMs suits 1-inch to 2-inch bit while 2-inch or 2 – 1/2-inch bits fit 16,000 RPMs. In that case, a variable speed router is better since it allows users to control the speed.

Use of Fence on a Router Table

Wrong use of routers may ruin a project or even damage your router as well. If you use it with a flush-trim bit and create extra pressure when edge-banding, it may break the shelf.

So, the wise thing is to use your router on a router table. The fence on a table may give you extra protection for your hands and ensure precise cuts.

Always try to use a router fence on a table when you are going to use plunge cuts.

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