Routers are potentially dangerous but quite useful tools if handled with caution. A bit of handiness goes a long way when using a router, and without the proper knowledge of skill, the handling of a router should not be undertaken.
What you’ll need
- Work gloves
- Dust mask
- Router bits
- Safety goggles
- Sand paper
- Pick the bit you want to use and install it. Always use a sharp bit as dull edges create more work.
- Clamp the work securely. Place a rubber pad under your wood to prevent it from slipping.
- Fasten a piece of wood the same thickness as the work piece to your bench, using it to support the router and prevent wobbling, which can ruin work.
- Feed the router from left to right so the cutting edge of the bit meets the wood first.
- A deep pass can bind, burn the wood or twist the tool in your hands, so make a series of shallow passes, gradually extending the bit.
- Do not push the router as it causes the engine to slow. This in turn slows the blade creating chips and splinters. This can also possibly burn the wood as well.
- Use and edge guide whenever possible. Freehand cutting requires patience, steady hands and practice.
- Start the motor and lower the spinning blade into the work when routing somewhere other than on an edge.
Tips and warnings
- Familiarise yourself with your router by reading the owner’s manual carefully and heeding all safety precautions.
- Keep the receipt with the manual and other paperwork. Send in the warranty card soon after getting the router.
- Wear goggles, gloves and dust mask while operating a router.
- Never use a router on wet wood.
- Watch for knots, warps and nails in the wood.
- Always test your cuts on a similar scrap of wood to confirm proper cutting depth. If the wood burns, sneak up on the final cut depth by making three consecutively deeper cuts; removing a little wood at a time will prevent burns.
- Sand wood edges smooth before routing with edge-trimming bits. Any flaw that the bearing meets in the edges will be transferred to the new profile.