Woodworking Tips for Your Router

A man using a wood router
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With a router and a few bits, you can apply hundreds of various shapes to the edges of a piece of stock. Most router bits are versatile enough that they can be used fully or partially to help form complex profiles. In these articles, learn how to get the most out of your fixed base or plunge router.

  • 01 of 10


    Carpenter using a wood router
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    The router is a mainstay power tool of the modern wood shop. Many woodworkers will have two or three different routers of varying horsepower levels or bases. Whether you prefer a fixed-base router or a plunge router, there are a number of features you should consider when purchasing a router for your shop. This woodworking article will give you some guidelines to consider.

  • 02 of 10

    The 10 Basic Router Bit Profiles

    Both fixed-base routers​​​​​ and plunge routers have a collet that can hold a variety of router bits. With a single bit or a combination of a few bits, a variety of edge profiles can be applied to a board. In this article, learn about the ten most versatile router bits that you should have readily available for your routers.

  • 03 of 10

    How to Properly Install Router Bits

    While various router bits are able to apply a wide variety of shapes to the edge of a piece of stock, the router bits will not cut properly if they are not installed into the collet of the router correctly. An incorrectly installed bit can vibrate excessively (called chatter) that will yield a rough profile at best but could be quite dangerous at worst. By properly installing your router bits, you will go a long way toward using your router more safely and efficiently.

  • 04 of 10

    Partial Profile Router Cuts

    While there are a wide variety of router bit profiles available for you to use with your router, by applying partial profiles in combination with two or more bits, you can create a nearly unlimited variety of profiles onto the edge of a board. In this woodworking tip, learn some tips for applying partial profile router cuts to create varied profile shapes.

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  • 05 of 10

    Straight and Spiral Router Bits

    When looking at certain router bit profiles, you may find a variety of bits to make the same cut. For instance, to make a straight cut, you may find updraft or downdraft spiral cutting bits or a variety of straight cutting bits with one or more straight flutes. All will make the same cut, but do you know the advantages of each? In this article, learn the difference between a straight-cutting bit and a spiral-cutting bit.

  • 06 of 10

    Avoiding Wood Splintering With a Router

    Some strongly grained woods such as oak can easily splinter when routing. How can one avoid having such routing splinters occur? Learn some woodworking tips and techniques for avoiding splinters when routing. Use of some of these woodworking ideas may help reduce the routing splinters that can occur when routing oak or other strongly grained woods.

  • 07 of 10

    1/4-Inch vs. 1/2-Inch Shank Bits

    Most router bits come in either a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch shank. Many routers come with a collet for each type of shank, allowing the router to use either type. Since many router bit profiles are available in either shank, which should you choose to use on your woodworking projects? Learn the advantages of both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch shank bits so that you can choose the one best for your particular needs.

  • 08 of 10

    How to Reduce Router Tear-Out

    One of the most common problems that woodworkers encounter is when the wood tears while applying a profile with a router bit. While it's nearly impossible to eliminate the possibility of a tear-out, by taking certain precautions, you can reduce the frequency with which they occur. Learn some woodworking tips for dealing with tear-out when using your router.

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  • 09 of 10

    Dovetail Joints

    While dovetail joints have been cut by hand for many decades by woodworkers to join boards, in recent years using a router with a jig has become a much more popular (and exact) method for cutting matching pins and tails of a dovetail joint. In this series of articles, ​learn all about dovetail jigs and how to cut them using a router and a jig.

  • 10 of 10

    Replace a Router's Power Switch

    Routers are designed to be quite durable. One of the most common problems that can occur with your router is if the on/off switch wears out and needs to be replaced. It is a very simple procedure that can be completed in just a few minutes. Learn how to replace the switch in your router quickly and easily.