Get the Most Out of Your Router - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Know Your Tools: Get the most out of your router.  

Get the Most Out of Your Router


Photo by Rob Brown
Illustration by Len Churchill


Set Your Speed
Adjust router speed for the type of material and the size of the router bit being used. Typically, the larger the bit, the slower the speed. Consult a router speed chart if in doubt.

Learn to Climb Cut
Reduce tear-out by moving the router in the opposite direction of normal feed. On a router table only climbcut when using a jig or power feeder.
Purchase Quality Bits As Needed
While bit sets may seem economical, many include bits you will seldom use. Buy bits when you need them, and select premium quality bits – they cost more, but they give better results and last longer than economy bits.
Turn it Upside-Down
A router table makes it easier and safer to use the router – particularly for small, narrow stock. You can do more precise routing, with better dust management. Build your own or buy a fully decked-out router table.
Invest in Jigs
Purchase or make jigs for freehand routing and for use on a router table. There are jigs for routing circles and arcs, inlays, mortises, and dovetails, and for shaping complex convex and concave surfaces.



With a stationary (aka fixed-base) router, the cutting depth remains constant while the router is in use. With a plunge router you can move the motor and router bit assembly up and down while the router is in use. A combination router consists of a motor and interchangeable stationary and plunge bases. Either style of router can be had in one of three motor sizes: up to 1 HP for compact (aka trim, laminate, or palm) routers; between 1 and 2-1/2 HP for mid-sized routers; and 3 HP and larger for production routers. Features that you’ll want with any router include soft start, electronic feedback circuitry, easy-to-use micro-adjust depth control, spindle lock, and interchangeable sub-bases. For mid-sized and production routers look for models that have both 1/4" and 1/2" collets.

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