How to Use a Wood Router's Depth Adjustment

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In order to adjust the depth of a wood router, use a tool to make turns that will drop and raise the bit. Discover how to use the locking lever of a router when adjusting the depth with help from a furniture-making student in this free video on woodworking and wood routers.

Part of the Video Series: Wood Routers
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Video Transcript

When using a router, one thing you have to adjust is the depth of cut. Usually it has to do with either the shape of the bit or how far you want to go into the edge of your wood. I'll be showing it on a table router and with a plunge router. For the demonstration on the router table, using a Chamfer bit, you take your piece of wood, line it up with the bit, with this particular table you do your depth adjustment with the on top the table instead of from underneath using this tool right here which goes into the keyed slot. Turning it to the left drops down, turn to the right raises it. So what I do is I raise it while holding the piece of wood up to the bit. Once you have it adjusted to the right height, you can go ahead and make your pass with the router. With the plunge router the depth adjustment is made with the plate that's on rails and it has a spring in it to apply tension. You push it down, get it moving it in place, the bit comes out of the bottom of this plate, push it down to your desired depth and then it has a locking lever on the back, which holds it in place. Once again, you push the router down, once it's in place you lock it with the lever, then you can check it from the underside, comparing it to a piece of wood to see if it is at the right depth. There are other situations where you might need to change the depth in a different way. One, where you are not just comparing it to the edge of a board, is this bit here. This bit can be used to put a groove around the inside of a piece of wood. A lot of times it's used on a box where a person needs to float a panel, inside a frame. But this particular bit is best used on a router table. Now I'm going to show you how to adjust this by drawing a line on your board at the depth of cut that you prefer. Then what you do is you adjust the height of the bit to where it comes right to the bottom of your line. With this bit you need to be using a fence on the router table. Once you've adjusted the fence to the proper distance from the edge of the board, in to where you want your cut, you can make your pass. Often the depth of cut is too deep to make in one pass, so what you have to do is do it in several depths up until you get to the point where your depth of cut is at the proper point.

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