Setting Up and Working with a Router Table

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.