Routers make joinery and edge profiling super-easy, but that convenience can come at a price if you don’t know how to handle this tool properly. Router tearout can easily turn a beautiful board into a scarred nightmare if you don’t follow best practices. Tearout generally occurs in two situations. The first happens when routing end grain; as the workpiece approaches the end of the cut, the bit will tend to chip out as your workpiece clears the bit. Another common situation is on edge grain, when you’re routing against the grain.
Making cope and stick doors is a great project to show off the benefits of a mounting your router in a router table, in particular when coping the ends of the top and bottom rails. Using just a pair of cope and stick router bits and a coping sled you can create beautiful paneled doors time after time.
Take a look at some of the routing videos below. There’s some great advice on getting the basics right – how to correctly insert a router bit, how to keep it clean for the best possible cuts and how best to secure your workpiece as you rout it. Then we move on to more advanced topics like cutting mortises with a plunge router, making cope and stick cabinet doors and how to make a use a pattern routing jig.
Increase your router table skills with these advanced techniques. Learn how to easily rout multiple curved workpieces like drawer fronts with a simple shop-made template jig as well as how to build a safe bit guard to use when you’re not using the router table fence.
Not all router tables are outfitted with miter gauge slots, particularly shop-built router tables. This can be a problem when cross-grain routing narrow stock. In the video below you can learn how to construct a backer block to secure the workpiece while leaving plenty of room between your fingers and the router bit for tricky end-grain cuts. The block provides excellent support, and—thanks to the skewed handle—the jig’s base is pressed into the fence by the user.
You’ve just bought your first router, and you’re itching to use it. But, high-tech as it is, with all the features that you chose so carefully, it can’t do a thing without router bits. But which bits should you buy? If you haven’t used a router before, the options can be confusing – and expensive. Watch the video to find out what you need to know to make informed choices, so you don’t waste money on router bits you don’t need.
The mortise-and-tenon joint is the true workhorse of solid wood woodworking, but can be a challenge to make well without specialist machinery. Loose or floating tenons are a remarkably useful variation on the traditional mortise-and-tenon and are much easier to make. And of course, when we say loose tenons we don’t mean tenons that don’t fit well! Watch the video to find out what they are and how to make them.
One of the best ways to cut complex patterns or multiple identical parts is to use a pattern router bit and a template. Pattern routing is a way to produce accurate and complex shapes accurately and repeatedly every time. Learn how to set up your router to use pattern cutting router bits.
Installing a router bit correctly requires more than just tightening a collet nut. A router’s collet is designed to draw the tool’s bit in towards the motor. Allowing the bit’s shank to bottom out inside the tool can result in a bit that works its way out of the collet while spinning at high speed. Not only can this ruin a beautiful workpiece, it can spark a safety disaster.
When it comes to routing, the ability to secure your workpiece is the key to safety and accuracy. But how do you clamp a workpiece while leaving a top or edge unobstructed for your router’s path of travel? The fact is, there are an endless variety of ways to lock down workpieces on a benchtop—from benchdogs and bench vises, to clever tricks involving tape, handscrews, and conventional clamps.