Beginner Wood Router Tips

Here are the Basics of Using a Wood Router

Man using wood router
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A wood router is a very versatile power tool for applying basic or complex edge profiles on a piece of stock. However, a router can do a lot more than that. With some practice, the router can be used to perform a wide variety of woodworking tasks that might otherwise be done by hand.

If you're just a beginner woodworker getting started in your craft and don't have much experience with safely using either a stationary or plunge router, this is a great place to start with the basics.

  • 01 of 06

    What is a Wood Router?

    Wood router cutting dovetail
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    A wood router is a high-speed rotary tool with a collet on the end of the motor's shaft for connecting various router bits onto the motor. By using various bits, the woodworker can apply an almost limitless number of profiles onto the edge of a board. Many router kits include a single motor that can be interchanged between a pair of bases for versatility. In this article, learn the differences between stationary and plunge bases, and when to use either type.

  • 02 of 06

    Ten Basic Router Bit Profiles

    Man using wood router
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    While there are literally hundreds of different types of router bits, when one considers all of the shapes, shank sizes, bearing tips and other options. However, there are ten basic router bit shapes, or profiles, which, when used in combination, can shape a great many complex edge profiles. If you're just starting out and don't know what router bits profiles you'll need, these ten would be a great start.

  • 03 of 06

    How to Install Router Bits Properly

    Woodworking router
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    A proper edge profile requires the bit to turn smoothly as it is being applied to the edge of the stock. The first step to ensuring that the bit turns smoothly is to make sure that the bit is installed properly in the router's collet. Here are some tips to installing router bits properly, no matter what shank size bit you're using.

  • 04 of 06

    Selecting Proper Router Bit Speeds

    Router in use
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    A router's motor can rotate the spinning bit at speeds of up to 25,000 rpm, which is more than 400 rotations per second. Most routers have the ability to adjust the motor's speed, as you certainly wouldn't want to use such high speeds with every bit and every routing application. How do you know at what speed to set the motor for any given router bit? The chart and instructions in this article will help guide you.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    1/2-inch vs. 1/4-inch Shank Router Bits

    Wood router in use
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    If you take a long hard look at the router bit selection at any fine woodworking supplier, you'll find that the bits are available in two different sizes of shafts, or shanks, that fit into the collet of a router. When you're beginning to outfit your shop with router bits, should you buy 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch shank bits? Is one size better than the other? Learn the answers in this woodworking tip.

  • 06 of 06

    Woodworking Router Buying Guide

    Dewalt router

    When you're ready to invest in your first router, do you know what features you should look for? Should you buy a plunge router to start? Or maybe a stationary base router? How about a 2-1/4 HP combo kit with both bases? Do you know what models are worth your investment and which may not fit your needs? Will you need to use your router in a router table, and if so, what router models offer above-the-table depth adjustments? Which router represents the best value for the money? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this woodworking router buying guide.