Looking to set up your own router and table for woodworking? Well, before you complete that first workpiece, you’re definitely going to want to check out the options and information that we have right here. There are so many options out there.
Wood routers, plunge routers, miter gauges, handheld routers, jigs, fixed-base routers, lock miters, CNC router tables, benchtop router tables… the list is endless. Therefore, it’s going to be a whole lot easier if you know what you’re doing and what you need before you even have to do it, right? So, take a look at how we can help you figure out what you’re doing and get a great woodworking project each and every time.
Without further delay, here are some recommendations when Setting Up and Using a Router Table
Change the Depth
If your router bit doesn’t quite fit the way you want it to you may want to look at improving it yourself. You can do this with an O-ring on the bit shank, which will help you to tighten up the nut and get a good fit overall. You can find these just about anywhere and you’ll have no problem getting your router system set up so that it will work to the proper depth.
Watch the Veneer
If you’re trimming something you really want to be careful that you don’t get too much off. That requires you to put the bearing depth of your bit below the edge you’re trying to trim. If you’re not careful you could end up shaving off a piece of the veneer of your wood and putting the bit underneath the area can definitely make a big difference.
Incremental Routing Helps
Trimming excess material by using a saw before you start using a router at all is definitely going to help you in the long run. You can trace out what you want to accomplish and then start slowly using your router to get the right cuts. Using this process is going to help you refrain from straining your router bits quite as much and it’s going to save you a whole lot of time.
Leave Some to Clean it Up
You want to make sure you leave a tiny bit of extra surface that you can cut off because you’ll have a little bit of burn and chatter marks left when you think you’re done. If you don’t leave a little extra to slowly rout off you’re definitely going to have those marks in your end product. If you use some tape or business cards to help through the routing and then take them off at the last pass through you’ll get a great, smooth edge that doesn’t have the burn marks.
Raise the Material Instead of the Bit
If you have a hard time changing the depth of your router you can easily put in a few thin pieces of wood to make sure that your material is where you need it to be. You can use this to make things simpler on yourself, but keep in mind the right level for your bit as well as for the material that you’re going to be using so you don’t end up with even more problems in the long run.
Simplify Your Measuring
If you want to measure out your depth a whole lot more accurately than with a measuring tape you can definitely use setup bars. These are machined bars that are generally made with brass and allow you to set the depth of each of your bits perfectly. They have different depths to them so you can easily get the right fit, and you can pick up the pieces super easy as well.
Make sure you unfold your hinges and put your router on one side of each of the hinges. Carefully lower your bit to the bench and you’ll be at the ideal depth for anything that you want. It’s definitely important to keep an eye on your hinges and your bit to make sure that you don’t overextend anything or get too far into the wood underneath your hinges, which can cause you more damage on your project.
Set the Center
It’s extremely important to set up the center of your bit properly so you don’t have to worry about your joints fitting improperly or unevenly. You want to make sure you have a centering cone to help you with the process of getting everything lined up and ready to go. Most routers will come with a centering cone, but just in case it doesn’t you’ll be able to purchase one easily as well. This will keep the sub base and spindle properly aligned for whatever you may want to do, without a lot of effort on your part.
Keep Your Fence Lined Up
You want to get a good fit for your fence so that it’s perfectly straight and you won’t end up with any angles. The best way to do this is line up your fence as close to straight as you can simply by looking at it and getting it straight.
Tighten up one side as tight as it gets and then set a steel ruler up next to the fence. You’ll want to start moving the other end to get it lined up with exactly where you want it to be and to make sure that it’s perfectly straight. This may require a little bit of adjusting as you go but it will be worth it and you’ll have a straight fence.
Set the Zero
You want to make sure that you have a line for your table as well as your zero reference on your scale. All of this is going to help you get set up with exactly where you need to start and it’s going to keep you from overshooting as well. This is important for getting a good fit and making sure that you’re ready to go no matter what you need to do next. Any project you want to work on is going to be a whole lot easier if you’re able to set up your zero line before you even start. Just put in the effort once and you won’t have to do it again for any project.
If a visual aid is most helpful to you, here is a video of one of our favorite woodworkers on YouTube. He goes through a standard procedure on setting up the various components of your Router Table. These tips help mainstream your projects and make it more simplistic to work with.