How to Operate a Wood Router

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When using a wood router, it is important to work with the rotation of the machine in order to make a precise cut. Learn to properly operate a wood router tool with help from a custom furniture maker in this free video on woodworking tools.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dave Trull at the Trull Gallery, custom furniture shop in St. Petersburg, Florida, and we'll show you how to operate a wood router. The first thing we're going to do, is we're going to select our bit and here I've got just a simple quarter round or round over bit, and we're going to install it in our router. And what I'm going to do, is I slide it into my collet, I don't set it all the way down. If you go all the way down like that, there is a fair chance that there's some milling, an undersized milling, right at the tip of that shaft. And that's enough, that as we're working, it can actually cause, the vibration can cause a chuck to loosen a little because it can't grab it as tightly. So we're going to pull it up, maybe an eighth of a quarter of an inch. And then we're going to get it to lock that down. And you want it, you know, tight, you don't want it too tight that you're never going to get that off. The next thing we're going to do, is we're going to set our depth of cut and this is a plunge router. So that we can set our depth of cut by simply plunging down and when we lock it in place, that's going to determine how deep our cut is. So in this case, I'm going to go ahead and set it up, so we can get a full quarter round on our piece. We don't want to go too deep, and get that extra lip. So in the case of a plunge router, there's a series of detents, and by having the shaft touch one of the detents as a stop, we set where we want to go. We can lock it place and now we have a repeatable depth of cut. We can bring it up and know that every time we bring it down to lock it in place, it's at the same level. If we were doing this whole piece, both sides and ends, I might clamp it in the middle in one end, work my way around. Move one of the clamps, keep going, move this clamp again, that way I can get around the whole thing. You can also work on a router table and the advantage that a router table gives you is, the router's held in place and you can move your stock around. So we've got everything set up to make our cut, we can go ahead and plug our router in, get on our glasses in here, in protection. And we want to remember when we're making our cuts, to work with the rotation of the machine. So we're going to work the piece in front of us, from right to left. So when we make our cut, we're going to start on this side, we're going to work from left to right, working with the rotation of the cutter. And what that will do for us, it allows to work at our own speed. If you were to work the other, from right to left, that's called the Climbing Cut. The router will actually want to take off at a pretty high rate of speed and it can cause some tear out and actually become dangerous, if you're not careful of what you're doing. So we go ahead and we'll set up, get our depth locked in place. And we've gone ahead and we've eased that edge. So you can see here, and it's probably hard to see on camera but we've got a quarter round with just a small, small line. Really with routers, your imagination is the only thing that's going to hold you back. Really fun tool to use, one of my favorites. What I just tell people is, practice with it, use it whenever you can and you just keep finding more and more things you can do with it, it's a great all around tool. So that's how to use a wood router, I'm Dave Trull at the Trull Gallery, the fine art of furniture making.

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