The versatility and usefulness of the router table makes it an important tool in woodworking. It helps the woodworker implement even the most complex manipulations during wood routing. The wood router has to be kept in perfect condition so as to extend its life and achieve the best results when working on your projects.
However, mostly woodworkers overlook this because they have the perception that the best wood router table requires zero maintenance. According to the experts, every woodworker should learn how to maintain their router table within the first 3 to 4 months when they buy it. They should then begin the procedure every six months after that.
It is quite easy to work with any particular size of wood piece when you use a router table. This is almost impossible with other workshop tools. Furthermore, it is challenging to manipulate some wood types using a handheld router but with a router table you can manipulate it easily.
The router table also gives the woodworker full control of the piece of work. You can set up the router on the table so that it operates mechanically on its own and your job will only be feeding the wood into the router. With the handheld you can never do this. Furthermore, you can use a router table to carry out some complex functions such as edge trimming, creating slots, and handling of the functions of an edge jointer.
Maintaining the Router Table
To keep your router table in good working condition you have to continually carry out routine maintenance. Below are some recommended maintenance practices;
You should remove the fence and any other piece of wood from the router table then use a vacuum cleaner to remove sawdust from the surface. You should also take a damp cloth with some little water and wipe out the router table surface by applying an outwards motion. While doing this, ensure water does not go into the router bit. You can then take a dry cloth and use it to clean the base plate’s upper surface. Once done, replace the fence.
Router Bit and Base Plate
The router bit being the most engaged part of the machine tends to clog as a result of dust build-up. The base plate will also wear and tear, and therefore these two should be well-maintained. In order to do this, follow these simple steps;
- Take the base plate and put it in the router. Try to push it slightly and observe if it moves in any particular direction.
- You can now reconnect the router bit and the collet.
- Use industrial lubricating oil to apply it gently over the router bit’s entire surface. You can then wipe away any excess oil and leave the bit for some time.
- You should also check out for any signs of wear and tear on the router bit and where necessary replace the bit.
- Wipe out any sawdust and grime from the router bit and take off the collet.
- Take a leaf vacuum or vacuum cleaner and clear out any sawdust from the router’s mouth and the outer surfaces.
- Remove the router table fence and take away any piece of wood from the table.
- Take out the base plate and detach the power cable.
- Dismantle the cutting bit assembly.
- Evaluate whether the plate and the table are in one plane or not. You can use a leveling tool to do this. If it is not level, use an allen wrench to rectify the problem.
- Raise the base plate and check out for any sawdust. If present, use the vacuum to clean it out.
- Reconnect the base plate.
Maintenance of the Fence
Router table fences come in two types: the split and the solid fence. The split fence is the most popular among woodworkers. To maintain the fence, follow these simple steps;
- Put back the fasteners and replace the wood pieces on the rail.
- If the edges have extensive tear and wear, use a saw or router to smooth out the edges. You can only do this once or twice and if you continue to do it, the height of the piece of wood will change tremendously and affect the operation of the fasteners. Ultimately you may have to replace the wood pieces.
- Take out the pieces of fence and check out the edges for any wear and tear. Since these pieces are easily replaceable there is no need to panic if you see some signs of wear and tear.
- Detach the fasteners and use standard oil or grease to lubricate them. Then place them in the rail groove and try to run them across to ensure there is a smooth movement. If you get any resistance or unsteadiness, replace the fasteners.
- If you experience any of these conditions, use the fasteners to unscrew the pieces.
- Remove any sawdust from the router fence on the side that faces the cutting bit.
- Try to push the two pieces of the split fence until they come into contact. There should be no space between them. Otherwise, you may have to change the pieces.
- Try to push the pieces far away from each other and listen keenly for any unsteadiness, wobbling or any kind of resistance.
- You can then place the pieces in their original position on each of the side of the router bit.
The router table is essential to every woodworker. It should be kept it in good working condition for you to be able to carry out your projects without any unanticipated faults. Before you contact the repairman, ensure you have done some checks on your equipment first and correct the problems if you can.
Even though every router table has a unique layout, different fence configuration, and different holes, the fence and table are generally made using the same material. Therefore, the maintenance procedure above applies to most router tables. You can avoid unnecessary expenses by following these simple steps.