How to Make a Slotted Groove With a Router Bit

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Use routers for crown molding, dovetail joints and many other applications.
Use routers for crown molding, dovetail joints and many other applications. (Image: router bit s image by Michael Cornelius from Fotolia.com)

A router is a tool for rounding edges off of wood and performing slot or groove cuts. A router can be used as a hand-controlled tool to guide cuts along an edge, or it can be fastened in a router table to make grooves and slots in wood. With a few precautions and a proper setup of equipment, the process of cutting slots with a router can be fairly easy. Using your router to make crown molding or tongue and groove paneling can save you money as well. Pre-cut boards cost much more in hardware stores and lumber yards. Not only will having the knowledge of this process help you save money, but it will add a lot of room for creativity when designing your projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Router table with fence
  • Carving bit
  • Wood
  • 2 push sticks
  • Safety glasses

Choose a carving bit that suits your project. Making crown molding will require a different bit than one used to perform another task, such as making tongue and groove paneling. Set the router bit at 1/4-inch for the first cut, and then continue to increase the height by 1/4-inch for every cut after until you reach your desired depth.

Set your router table's fence at a distance from the router that suits your project's needs. The fence acts as a guide so that your cuts stay straight. If you are trying to make a 30-inch slot that is 1/2 inch wide in a board that has the dimensions of 1 inch by 4 inches by 30 inches, and you want the slot to be centered, the fence should be set 1 3/4 inches from the router bit.

Put on safety glasses, turn the router on and run your board across the bit. Use two push sticks, one in each hand, to push the board across the router. Take care that your hands never come close to the spinning bit. To make a deep cut, run the board across multiple times.

Always use push sticks when using routers, table saws and other power tools. A push stick can be a 1-inch-by-1inch-by-8-inch pine board or can be purchased prefabricated at most hardware stores. See the second link in Resources for directions on how to build your own push stick as well.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses when using a router and other workshop tools.

References

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