Working with Routers

Routers are powered by electric motors of high speed, from about 18,000 to 30,000 rpm. They have a collet which can accomodate many different types of bits. A partial list of bits and the cuts that can be made would include:

  • Straight Double-Flute Bit: dadoes, grooves and general stock removal
  • Straight Stagger Tooth Bit: plunge-cut dadoes, slots. grooves
  • Dovetail Groove Bit: joint grooves for drawers, cabinets, shelves
  • V-Groove Bit: detail cuts for frames, lettering and signs
  • Hinge Butt Bit: rabbets, dadoes, hinge mortises, plunge cuts
  • Core Box Bit: ornamentation, fluting and reeding of surfaces
  • Rabbeting Bit: stepped edges for drawer and cabinet joints
  • Beading Bit: decorative edges for frames, molding and tables
  • Cove Bit: decorative edges and drop-leaf joints
  • Chamfer Bit: square angles for moldings and concealed edges
  • Four-Flute Laminate Bit: for trimming laminated countertops

Setting Up Cuts

The depth of the router cut can be set by adjusting the depth stop screw on the router body.

To get an accurately placed cut, the router should be guided, using either an edge guide attached to it's base, a cutting template, a piloted bit, or blocks of wood clamped to either side for narrow peices of work.

When working with a new router or bit, try to get in some practice on scrap wood to get the feel of the best speed and pressure to use, paying attention to the sound coming from the router's motor- you should hear only a slight lessening of the motor speed when cutting wood.

Move your router from your left to the right for straight cuts, and for exterior shape cuts, move in a counterclockwise direction around the work peice.


Porter Cable 690LR Router
Lever release feature lets you make quick and easy height adjustments, even when table mounted.

Porter Cable 690LR Router Porter Cable 690LR Router

Router Safety

It is important to follow safety when working with routers. They are electrical and extremely sharp. Make certain that the area you are working is clear of debris and that you can easily access the emergency cut-off switch on the router. Never plug a router into an outlet with other equipment because you can cause an overload on the breaker.

There is a great deal of wood shavings and chips that fly from routers. Be certain that you wear safety goggles to protect your eyes. If you have allergies you will also want to wear a dust mask to reduce the chances of breathing in flying dust.

Renting Routers

Routers come with many different accessories. In fact there are many different types of routers depending on the particular home improvement job you are working on that moment. Many homeowners rent routers until they have used routers for an extended period of time and determine which ones they will utilize the most. Renting routers can save on the expense of equipment and enable you to learn more about the equipment.

Another advantage to renting routers is that you can get a feel for the different brands, styles and how each one operates. This enables you to make the best choice when you decide to purchase routers for your own equipment collection. You will know what type of routers you use most frequently and which accessories would be most beneficial to your projects.

Palm Router

A palm router is an excellent tool for experienced woodworking experts. You can do a variety of cuts and precision work with a palm router without having to use a router table or lift. These are excellent for cutting out door frames, window frames or making precision cuts for cabinetry pieces.

Coving Routers

Do you have bathroom projects? Coving routers are terrific for backsplashes and shower stalls. These are optimum for coving 90 degree angles for those home projects that require precision cuts such as these. They are also excellent for tiling projects that require the 90 degree angles as well. You can even accessorize these routers with a dust suction hose to help with clean up and reduce dust exposure during the home project.

Flushing Routers

Flushing routers are terrific for creating flush surfaces and flush joints. You can easily create the smooth and flush joints that you need without tearing or splintering the wood. This is ideal for cabinetry projects and other projects that require flush surfaces. You can also use these cut edging for laminate surfaces without damaging the laminate in the process.