Routers are the most versatile tool in your woodworking workshop, and it makes perfect cuts that are impossible with hand. However, using routers with the most efficiency requires a router table to fit in. A router table helps you to precise-cut your designs and modeling. Without a table, a router cannot do 80% of the things it could do for you.
You need a router table to make it work for you on crucial projects. Getting to know and using a router table the right way is a difficult job if you are a beginner. I’m going to get you through the things you should know before starting your journey with your router table.
How to Use a Wood Router Table – Easy Steps
Before you start to use a router with or without a table, you need to take safety precautions. The most crucial safety precautions of woodworking apply here, never compromise your safety while working.
Get Safety glasses to protect your eyes from wood dust, hearing protection for excessive sound, and a mask. The mask is crucially important to keep your lungs safe from dust.
Use an automatic vacuum to suck in the dust from the cut-out. Put on proper clothing, Avoid alcohol before you use any power tools, and read the manual before getting on it. Get the best woodworking router within your budget that comes with safety measurements and a vacuum chamber.
Attaching The Router on the Table
When you attach your router to the table, add a Base Plate first. The base plate should match the screwing holes to the router, or you will have to make new drills later on.
Get the right base plate if you are attaching the router to a table that hasn’t come together. get the measurement of the width of the base plate and Cut out the tabletop with that width.
The plate should make a smooth finish to the surface and shouldn’t make a bump anywhere around. Now attach the router on the opposite side of the base plate and insert the whole setup into the cut-out. screw the base plate accordingly using the screws that it came with.
Use a Starting Pin
Using a starting pin on the router table to pivot the smaller pieces of wood is way safer and efficient. If the workpiece is difficult to hold on steady and route, using a starting bit will help you get it right. The pin could come in different shapes and designs with different angles to the bit.
Usually, they come with a screw hole, 2-3 inches away from the bit, or even right on the bit. Freehand routing will be perfect if you use a starting pin, it will work like a fence or a cross-zig and guide you.
Route Identical Pieces
Producing identical workpieces with a router may seem like an impossible task. But if you follow a simple hack, it will be a way easier process. All you have to do is get a long flat bit that has the length of the width of workpieces together and the top should be a bearing-guide. Put the two workpieces together and cut them all holding them steady.
Align the two workpieces together making sure the original piece on top. Make sure the bearing guide is aligning the top piece. It will help you get an identical piece guiding the second one to route accordingly.
Use the Fence Correctly
One of the biggest advantages of having a table for your router is that it has a fence to help you. The fence guides you to feed the workpiece correctly and make straight routing for better finishing. It also helps you when you are routing a piece that has 2-3 inches deep grooves.
Deeper grooves make the piece tumble if working freehand and eliminate the perfection on the edges. the fence helps you to eliminate the chance of getting wrong-cut grooves and produces a fine cut.
Use a Multifunctional Sled
A sled helps you route the workpiece perfectly and helps you keep your fingers safe from the bit. You can find or make different sleds for different shapes of workpieces. However, getting a multifunctional sled or making one will help you get the best use of the piece.
Multifunctional sleds help you route circular pieces, small cut-outs, and other complicated pieces that have multiple curves. You can easily route the workpieces with narrow and long ends like coping rails for cabinet doors or cutting tenons.
Cutting Grooves in the Workpiece
Routers are the perfect choice to cut-out grooves on the surface of the workpiece. However, you will need a height-adjustable router table or the router itself. You can make the raiser yourself or get a ready-made one. Either way, make sure you have the right tools to handle the grooves.
Some of the tables offer you to lift up the router base and adjust the height of the router. Others may offer you to adjust the router height from the bottom of the table. Both of them are okay if you’ve got the process of using the right bits in the router.
Use a Router Table as a Jointer
If you’re short on space or love to spend less by getting multi-functional tools, use the router table as a jointer. It will save you both time and space by turning into a Jointing Table just with some adjustments.
You can do this if you have a fence with two separate handles only. Clamp a plastic laminate on the left side of the fence and sand it to make it smooth.
Use a ruler to align the cutting edge with the laminate with the bit of your router. Set the bit high enough to cover the whole piece to trim it with a single pass.
Using a router table along with the router helps you boost your workflow to a great extent. Using it allows you to focus on the workpiece fully without handling the router at the same time. It’s especially useful when it comes to end-grain routing, lock miter and finger joints, and so on. It helps you add designs to the edges with so many options for the bit type and shape.
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