A router is a hand tool or power tool that a worker uses to rout (hollow out) an area in relatively hard material like wood or plastic. Routing is a shaping process that produces finished edges and shapes. Some materials that are difficult to shape with other processes, (such as fiber-glass, Kevlar, and graphite) can be shaped and finished neatly via various routing techniques. Apart from finished edges and shaping, cutaways, holes, and contours can also be shaped using routers

Handheld router basics

Trim Routers

Small and light weight

Regular Routers

Powerful motor for large jobs

Router Table

A handheld router on its own may not be so great when working with certain boards and trying to get the smoothest results or the perfect shapes. Also, some work-pieces are too small to work on with a hand-held router but can easily be attained with the help of a router table. With the router mounted securely in a table, both of your hands are free for maximum workpiece control during the cut. That extra control makes some routing operations much easier. It also allows you to do some things you couldn't safely do with a handheld router.

Benchtop model

The most portable kind, sits on a workbench during use

Compact model

For hobby purposes and come in foldable designs

Cabinet model

Equipped with the most required features

1. Routers are one of the most versatile tools

2. Beginner skills and expert techniques

3. Router jigs help you get more out of your router

4. Routers are always going to spin clockwise. When fitted upside down on to a router table they will spin counter clock wise

5. Read the direction of grains on the wood. Helps you plan so that you don't tear out

6. Insert SaFety pins on the router table. You can support your job on the safety pin

7. Conventional routing or push cut is when you push your job against your router bit vs climb cut

8. Do you cutting in multiple passes. Else it may cause splintering, rough cuts on end grain or burning of wood

9. Micro and macro plunge adjustment

10. Freehand routing vs fixed routing

11. edge guides and fences

12. Bearing guided (you might use it free hand) and non bearding guided bits (for which you will use a fence or and edge guide)

13. Quarter inch collet or an eighth inch collet

14. Rounding bits, straight bits (spiral up and down cut) , Champer 45 degrees bit and Flush trim bits

15. Bushings

DO NOT use this machine unless you have been instructed in its safe use and operation and have been given permission

All power tools are inherently dangerous. Does that mean we should forgo power tools in favor of hand tools? You have to pay attention and be informed. No tool is safe in the hands of someone who is not paying attention to what they’re doing. Operator error is the number one cause of accidents in the shop. We have to be responsible for ourselves. Everything has a level of risk associated with it. How we choose to face that risk speaks volumes about our personalities

Safety Measures

Tip #1 Unplug the tool

This might sound like a no-brainer, but the truth is it is very commonly ignored. Anytime you are adjusting the router, changing a bit, or otherwise not in the active process of running a router operation, it should be unplugged from the wall. This is honestly a wise tip for any power tool. Turning the switch off is not enough. If you’re struggling to tighten a nut and you grasp the router in the wrong way you could turn it on, likely resulting in serious injury.

Tip #2 Wear Ear and Eye Protection

Routers throw a lot of material and are very loud. Anything over 85db is considered to be dangerous and could cause long term hearing problems. Its highly recommended you get a good set of high decibel hearing protection and wear them in your shop when running power tools

Tip #3 Push Stick or Push Pad or Push Block

The purpose of a push stick is to help the user safely maneuver a workpiece, keeping it flat against a machine table or fence while it is being cut

Tip #4 Take multiple passes

One of the best router table safety tips you can follow is to take multiple passes. Taking out a lot of material in one pass makes the router work harder. It makes you press harder. Neither of these are good ideas. Smaller, lighter passes are much safer. And this isn’t just a safety top either. More, smaller passes will result in less burning and less sanding

The 'feed rate' and 'router bit speed' is another very important factor. The larger your bit is, the slower you want it spinning. The sound the router and workpiece gives off is a good indication if the feed rate is too high or low. The material will tell you if you are working it too hard, so the feed rate can be backed off a little, or the depth of cut can be reduced to compensate. A good rule to follow would be, don’t over work your tool and cutter, do several cuts to get to the required depth, this may take a bit longer, but will place less strain on the tool and the cutter.

Method 1:

Pass 1: First use big bearing

Pass 2: Then use small bearing

Method 2: Using different sizes of bearings

Starting pins for router table

  • You can't use starting pins and fence at the same time.
  • You have to choose which starting pin hole to use. There could be 2 or 4 holes on the router table.
  • After the start, for the rest of the cut, you might have the work piece come off (move away from) the starting pin. At least keep the piece against (touching) the bearing of the router bit

Router feed direction

Feed a piece of timber the wrong way off a router table, and it can become a projectile. When using a router handheld, the router can quickly and easily get away from the user, causing possible damage to the workpiece and injury to the user. The introduction of a fence or bearing, combined with the right feed direction, aids in using a router safely


Additional Resources

Whether the router is handheld or mounted in a table, the router or bit needs to be guided. This is done using a fence on a table, and for handheld use, bits with bearings are generally used.

Features in routers

Router bits

Miter slot

As noted above, the lion's share of router table operations involve guiding the stock past the cutter by keeping it pressed against the table's fence. But, sooner or later, you're going to face a task better accomplished with a miter gauge – cutting a dado across a long, narrow piece of stock, for example. So, obviously, you'll need a router table outfitted with a miter slo


An Accurate, Easy-to-Position Fence In most router table operations, you'll control the cut by keeping your workpiece pressed against the fence as you advance it past the bit. So you want a fence that is up to the task.

There's quite a range in the quality and functionality of router table fences. The simplest fence might consist of nothing more than a straight piece of lumber clamped to the surface of the table. At the other end of the spectrum are precision after-market fence systems with incremental positioning mechanisms and other advanced features. In between you can find some very good fences, all of which share the same important qualities: They're straight, square and rigid; they're easy to position and have a good adjustment range; and they won't shift when locked down.