A Guide in Detail for Some Router Techniques

As we all know, knowledge is power when it comes to any subject. Wood working is no exception and every wood worker clearly understands the importance of mastering some routing techniques. Once you know the tricks and techniques to use in your wood routing, there is no limit to what you can do with your wood router. Below is detailed for some router techniques that can be used for successful wood routing;

Know your Router and What it can do

There are basically two types of wood routers, namely fixed and plunge base. While using a fixed base router, the bit is always in a fixed position once it has been fitted in and the base is locked. With the plunge router, the router bit can be plunged in and out of the material once it has been locked in the router.

It easier to make bit changes on fixed base routers than it is on plunge base. This is because the base on a fixed base router is easily removable. It is also much easier to make micro-adjusting bit height on a fixed base router. This may explain why the fixed base is preferred for dovetail jigs or on router tables. The plunge base on the hand can easily be plunged in and out of the work piece. They make excellent for cuts for projects that require distinct starts and stops. These include dadoes and mortises.

Bit Installation

Before making any bit changes in your router ensure the router is unplugged. You can also make router bit changing so much easier by removing the router base while you are removing or connecting the router bits.

To properly install the router bit on the router, set the bit to about 2/3 of the shank inside the collet and ensure it is tightened. You can also use bits that have ball-bearing pilots. This will eliminate the need for edge guides or straight edge fence.

Secure the Work piece

The piece of work should be properly secured since you do not want to chase the work material across the shop. You should secure it onto a work bench and clamp the material into the right place. However, at times the clamp may get in the way of the router and may require repositioning. You can also use a router mat so as to provide a non-skid surface. That way you can be able to work around all the edges without experiencing any kind of interference. If the mat loses its grip you should rinse it under water so as to remove dust and restore some grab.

Be Protected

Do not even think of plugging in the router until you have the right eye and ear protection. A wood router is quite loud and can cause permanent damage to your ears if you are not well protected. Eye protection is always good when working on any tool since particles may slip into your eyes when you are not protected.

Follow the Right Direction

For your safety and router efficiency, you have to move in the right direction when working with your wood router. The right procedure to follow when routing the outer edge of a board is to go counterclockwise. By following the right direction you will be able to prevent the wood router from getting away from you and avoid climb cutting. Follow the clockwise direction when routing the inner edge of a frame.

The general rule is to always move the router against the bit rotation. This way the router will cut the work and give you complete control over the power tool.

Begin at the Correct Spot

You should always follow the right sequence when routing any work piece. If you are routing the four edges of a board, begin on the end grain, then cut the long grain, followed by the end grain, and finally finish on the long grain.

Turning the Router Upside Down

You can expand the capabilities of a wood router by turning it upside down. This will make the routing process easier and safer since the tool is well-secured and the bit clearly visible. The use of handheld routers makes it challenging to see the work piece clearly and it is almost impossible to handle smaller parts when the router is handheld. You can easily handle smaller parts such as stopped groove cutting and use large-diameter bits when you have a router table.

Use of Templates

One of the most popular techniques that wood workers use is template guiding or use of guide bushing. This simply refers to a steel collar that is mounted on the base of the router. The template allows the user to easily and quickly cut any particular size and shape. Template edges should always be well-sanded until they are perfectly smooth. This will help avoid the transfer of any imperfections to the piece of work.

The guide bushing should always be pressed tightly to the edge of the template. With guide bushings, you can perform some tasks such as cutting curved or irregular shapes and cut precisely mortises and hinges. Guide bushings can be bought individually or as a multi-piece set.

Cutting Dovetails

Dovetails are the most beautiful wood joints in woodworking. With dovetail-shaped tails, the wood worker can snugly fit in wedge-shaped pins and securely lock two boards.  Wood workers use dovetail joints when building jewellery boxes, drawers, and blanket chests. While cutting dovetail joints, make the process simple and more precise by using a dovetail template. This is much easier than doing it freehand.


With these detail for some router techniques applied properly, you make your wood routing fun and exciting. A proper understanding of the use of your power tool is a plus when it comes to woodworking. Try out various routing techniques from time to time and you will realise within no time that you can do virtually anything with your tool. Irrespective of whether you just started as a hobbyist or you are already a professional, there is always something new to learn when it comes to routing.

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