Setting Up and Working with a Router Table

Routers are very important woodworking tools. It becomes more versatile when it is mounted on a table. Working with a router and router table makes cutting, routing, edging and other works that can be done with a router quite easier and more accurate. However, working with a router mounted one a table can be very risk as it exposes the operator to injury. The router bit spins at a very high speed. It can tear any part of the body when it comes in contact with it. Besides, given the speed at which it spins, it can fling your workpiece out of the table exposing you and people around to injury. Thus, to reduce the possibility of having injury, it is very important for the router to be properly set up and mounted on the router table. Here are tips to help you get started

Setting up your router

The cutting part of a router is the bit and it is available in different sizes and types. The two major sizes are 1/4 inch and 1/2 bits.  So, the first thing that you should decide on is the size of the router that you will require. Some routers are designed to use both sizes of bits. You have to use the bit suitable for your router. But it is not enough to use the right size and type of the bit. You have to also ensure that it is properly fitted into the router. The part of the router that holds the bit is the collet. You should ensure that is well fitted into the collet. Tighten the bit firmly. But don’t over tighten it otherwise, you risk damaging your router. Just tighten it to prevent any movement.

The fence is the next part to set up. The fence comes handy when using a router table. Handheld routers do not have fences. The fence does not need to be parallel to the bit. The quality of the cuts to be obtained will not be affected whether the fence is parallel to the bit or not. This is because it is the bit that does the cutting. You only need to ensure that your fence is properly adjusted in line with the bit. If you have a mitre gauge, bear in mind that you should not use it on your table insofar as the fence is fitted. You can use it if the fence is not fitted. In place of a mitre gauge, a wooden push block is used. But you should make sure that you use the right size. Normally, a push block of between 6 and 8 inches length and thickness of 3/4 inch is ok. You push cross grain pieces and smaller pieces on the router table using the push block. In order to obtain cuts that are perfectly squared on shorter workpiece, the corners of your push block should be 90 degrees.

The height of the bit is another set up concern that you ensure that it is properly done. Some router tables come with height controls. It is from this feature that the height of the bit is set. In place of height controls, some routers comes with router lift to be fitted to the table. The bit height can also be adjusted from this. You test run the router with a workpiece once your fence and bit height are properly adjusted. If everything is ok, you can now start working with your router.

It is important that you take note of the direction of the bit when running your workpiece through the router mounted on a table. You run the workpiece against the bit from right to left since the bit spins in anti-clockwise direction. Running the workpiece from left to right can result in the flinging of the workpiece by the router and you may be wounded if this happens. As a rule of the thumb, feed router with the wood from a direction opposition to the direction of the spinning of the bit.

Router Table Safety Dos and Don’ts

Safety is very important when routing with your router mounted on a router table. As it is the case with other power tools, router table requires careful handling because a slightest mistake can result in serious injury. The router bits for example are very small but they spin at a very high speed and thus requires you to be fully attentive as serious accidents can occur as a result of inattention. If you have a router table, here are some safety dos and don’ts that you should take into consideration.

Begin by reading the user manual

Many people overlook the user manual of their router table or any other power tool. The truth is that the user manual is an important safety tool. Most of the manufacturers provide useful information and safety tips for the products in the user manual. These safety tips and other pieces of useful information provided by router tables review and comparison website and are created out of experiments and experience of the previous users. So, it is important that you read the user manual before you work with your router table. Besides, don’t think that because you have handled a router table before, there is nothing new again to learn with any other product. You should bear in mind that each product is unique and has its unique dos and don’ts. So, if you purchase even the best router table or you are using a router table for the first time, it is important that you read the user manual because it is from there that you will find out important description of its features.

Stay closer to the kill switch of the machine

It is important that you stay within an easy reach to the kill switch of the machine as you work with your router table moving around it. This is because it is your first port of call when the machine malfunctions. If the kill switch is within an easy reach from where you are, it will be easy for you to switch it off when there is any issue with the machine. In this way, you protect the machine from further damage and also prevent the occurrence of injury.

Avoid working with loose clothing

It is important that you put on safety wear when working with a router table but your safety clothing will become dangerous if it is dangling. So, do not wear any loose clothing or dangling jewelry as it can hook up to the spinning bit which can give you a serious injury or damage your clothing or jewelry.

Don’t over your work

You can imagine the seriousness of the injury that you will sustain if the spinning bit gets to you. The bit is able to cut through wood which is harder than your skin and so, if it gets at you, it will give you a serious and deep cut. This is why you should avoid leaning over your workpiece to prevent any possibility of such thing occurring. If you want to see your workpiece, it is advisable that you put off your machine.

Securing your wood

When you are cutting, it is important that you secure the wood firmly. This is because, the spinning wood can dangerously shoot it out when it gets in contact with it and it is not firmly secured. You don’t need to be told how dangerous flying woods are.

Other safety tips are

Ensure that the router is unplugged when you are changing the bit.

Put on hearing protection and safety glasses when routing.

Keep your fingers away from the bit by using feather boards to push sticks.