How To Use A Wood Router For Beginners (5 Easy Steps)

Wood routers are handy tools for small-scale and large-scale projects alike. You can use them quickly and with terrific results for functional as well as decorative tasks.

Wood routers are portable and versatile power tools used for making holes or grooves, precise holes, and finished edges. If you’re into cabinetry or decorations, this tool is definitely for you.

But you have to learn how to use your wood router first.

Continue reading to find that out and also how to stay safe!

What Can I Do With A Wood Router?

Wood routers are handy practical tools. You can use them to:

  • Cut immaculately smooth edges, whether straight or curved
  • Replicate those cuts on several workpieces
  • Stylish crown moulding for intricate decorations
  • Beaded patterns for your doors or furniture
  • Cut dados – invisible support shelves for your cabinets or books
  • Cut rabbets – groove cuts for door or casement window jambs
  • Intricate patterns or grooves to create original pieces of furniture
  • Door hinges

How To Use A Wood Router

Wood routers are easy to use:

1. Choose The Right Tool

You have to choose the right wood router for your project and skill level. Most beginners don’t know whether they should pick a plunge or fixed router, so here’s the deal:

Fixed routers allow you to select the cut’s depth before starting that cut.

Also, this depth stays fixed.

Conversely, plunge routers allow you to change the cut’s depth while you’re working. That’s a real help if you want to start your cut from the middle of a workpiece and then increase or decrease the depth.

Hint: Plunge routers have the fixed depth option too.

2. Choose The Right Bit Profile

Once you’ve chosen the right tool, it’s time to pick the correct bit profile:

  • Cove bits: best for rounded profiles
  • Straight-cutting dado bits: square channels in the middle of your workpiece
  • Ogee bits: S-shaped profile
  • Roundover bits: round shape into a square edge of your workpiece

3. Set Up The Router Bit

Make sure to set up the router bit correctly to minimise the risk of injury and ensure it doesn’t ruin your work. Here’s how you do it:

  • Make sure the router is clean and sharp.
  • Place three-quarters of the shank inside the collet.
  • Secure the router bit completely in the collet before turning the router on.

4. Avoid Splintering Wood

Hardwood such as oak splinters quickly. You can avoid that by:

  • Ensuring the router bit is clean and sharp
  • Cutting along the grain, not against it
  • Cutting several passes instead of trying to cut your workpiece in one go at full depth

5. Cut Left To Right

When using a wood router, the tendency is to go along the wood in the same direction as the rotation. That’s a mistake most newbies make.

Instead, try to go the other way around. You’ll notice you can control the router better for extra precise cuts.

How To Use A Wood Router Safely

If you’re a beginner, here’s how to use a wood router safely:

  • Use the right safety gear (glasses, ear muffs).
  • Secure the router bit correctly in the collet.
  • Choose the right speed according to the bit you’re using.
  • Practice with some scrap wood first until you master the correct technique.

Further reading: Best Router Table

Best Wood Router on the UK market



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