One of the most versatile pieces of woodworking equipment is a router. In fact, this piece of equipment can do a lot more than just cutting grooves. Along with the typical grooves, dovetails, and edging, the wood router can do many other things. In this article, we are going to give you a few tips on how to use a router, the typical cuts you should know, and give you a few surprising wood router uses. By the end of this article, we hope you understand just how much you can get from this one simple yet useful piece of woodworking gear.
What Does a Wood Router Tool Do?
Before we explore the different wood router uses, let’s look into basic facts about this piece of equipment. A wood router cuts shapes on the edges of wood boards such as a rounded edge on a table. It can also make grooves as you see on raised panel doors or wall wainscoting. The router tool spins the bit over 20,000 RPMs. Different bits are available to create different types of designs.
Types of Routers for Woodworking
There are two types of routers for woodworking available. One router has a fixed base. The second type has a plunge base. A few models allow you to switch between the two.
There are advantages to each type of wood router. For example, the fixed based router is great for edging wood. It works well for projects on site and is known as a good all-purpose router. Whereas the plunge router is useful when using a template or you need to cut into the middle of the wood.
Different Router Tool Bits
- Straight and Spiral Router Bits – Straight router bits come in a variety of sizes. Spiral router bits provide a smoother edge. Use straight bits for template routing and spiral bits for plunge-cutting.
- Joinery Router Bits – Joinery bits include dovetail bits, chamfer bits, and rabbeting bits. They are used to make a flat-bottom groove with sloping sides. They are best used with a jig to cut dovetail joints in drawers.
- Slot Cutting Router Bits – These make a small slot in the woodwork. Use these when cutting trenches, grooves, and panel slots in cabinetry.
- Flush Trim Router Bits – These are available in downcut and upcut styles. Used in making trims laminates and veneers. It also works well for clean template work.
- Edge Router Bits – These decorative bits include cove and ogee bits. They create a recess along the edge of the board. These router bits are ideal for windowsills, shelves, and chair rails.
Tips to Use a Router
If you are new to woodworking there are a few tips that you should know that will allow you to use your wood router to its fullest potential. The first is to understand the proper way to advance your router. Often new woodworkers will go in the wrong direction, making control of the router difficult.
The way you avoid this is to make sure that you are moving the router in the opposite direction of the bit rotation. This may take a little practice but once you get it, the router will glide through your work. So before beginning just make sure you are doing this, and you will have better control of your router.
In fact, when you begin routing you may want to start by using router bits that have built-in ball-bearing pilots. You can use these guides to help you keep your router on the mark and assist with better control. There are also edge guides you can attack as well. Decide which method is the best for you and until you feel comfortable controlling your router by hand use what you can to ensure peak performance.
Typical Uses for a Router
We are going to be discussing some things that you may not know you can do with your router, but first what is a router typically used for? Here are 3 of the most typical uses for a wood router.
- Straight Groove – This is one of the most if not the most common use. Grooves are in almost every piece of woodworking, especially furniture.
- Edging – Routers are often used to edge fine and intricate details in woodwork.
- Template – Making templates is yet another common use of a wood router.
4 Additional Things You Can do with a Router
It’s easy to use your wood router for the tasks it was designed to do but think about getting more from one tool. How much money and time could that save you? You would be surprised by the things that your wood router could do for you. Here are just four of the tasks you may be shocked to find out that one tool can do for you.
1. Mortise and Tenon Joint
When looking to craft mortise and tenon joint connections at a right angle, the wood router can easily and neatly complete this task.
2. Hole Enlargement
Finding out that the hole you have just made is not quite large enough can be frustrating. All you need is two bits (rabbeting and flush trim) in whatever size will work and then make an internal rabbet that will be easy to enlarge with the other bit.
Using an outer partnered with a guide can make trimming excess overhang trim easy to remove.
When you are looking to join pieces of furniture or framing, you can use a wood router for this as well. You will need a template and a special bit.
There are many other uses that may surprise you, but these are the most surprising. Now that you have some creative ideas and ways you can use your wood router you can elevate your woodworking ability.
Getting the most out of every tool in your woodshop is a highly efficient and performance-enhancing ability to have. So, knowing that you can use your wood router for multiple purposes is a great start.
In the information above, we have covered 4 wood router tool uses. Hopefully, It adds a bit of a challenge and changes to your regular woodworking projects. It is fun to try something new, and with the ideas in this article, you now have 4 new methods you can add to your woodworking skills.