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Router Guideline and Safety ~ Woodworking Resources

Tip 5


 Router Guideline Safety


Because router bits come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, we often wonder at what speed the router needs to turn or the size of bit shank we should use.  Following are answers to some of the more common questions.



Should I use router bits with 1/2" or 1/4" shank?

Whenever possible, use router bits with 1/2" shanks.  They will provide better stability with less vibration and in the long run, the cutter will last longer.  During the installation of the router bit, make sure that 90-95% of the shank is inside the collet.  A good rule of thumb is to fully insert the bit in the collet and then pull it back less than 1/8 of an inch.  



Do I really need a router table?

            In some case you don't need or can't use a router table.  However, it is generally a good idea to have a router table and it should be used whenever possible.  In addition, bit manufacturers recommend that a router table should be used, especially when using bits with the larger diameter cutters.



How important is the router speed, feed speed and making multiple passes?

            Router speed is very important when it comes to working with large diameter router bits.  Dropping the router speed will be safer and will produce better results.  In addition, making more than one pass will also improve the final result.  As for the work piece, feed it steadily against the bit.  Don't force the material through…listen to the router noise and let the bit cuter do the work. Make a habit of testing with scrap lumber of the same species. 


In the end, keep in mind to always follow your router manufacturer's recommendations and to wear safety goggles.



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