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Working with routers and router tables is often one of the most frightening tools for new users and often one of the most mis-understood by more seasoned woodworkers. Part of the reason for the fear and misunderstanding is that this tool is pretty unique ... the router spins at speeds that makes one think it could easily lift-off the workroom floor and if you are not careful, it can ruin a piece of wood on you pretty quickly or fling it out of your hand before you know what happened.
The truth is, working with routers and router tables is not really not that daunting when you have a baisic knowledge of the tool and an understanding on some of it's principals of operation. The first thing that anyone using a router will do is to decide on what bit they want to use. Many of todays routers like Bosche, DeWalt, Makita and Freud will use both 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch shank router bits and will include both 1/4 inch and 1/2 in collets with the tool. The collet is the name for the chuck or bit holder for the router. When installing any bit in a router, it is important that it be seated properly. This means pushing bit all the way into the collet as far is it will go, then drawing back out about 1/32 of an inch. This draw back is to allow for heat expansion. Router bits can heat up pretty quickly while cutting through wood and they need a small bit of area to expand into at the bottom of the collet. Next the bit needs to be tightened firmly. This does not mean you need to crank the nut so tightly you damage the machine, but it does need to be tight enough that the bit will not spin inside the collet or have any chance of coming out.
Once the bit is installed and the router is seated in the router table, the next thing to look at is the fence ...