Wood Routers can do many things that no other woodworking tool can do and with the vast array of bit available for them, they can often do the same thing but in different ways which makes them even more versatile, but wood routers are still a mystery to some woodworkers so in this article I will cover some unique tricks you can do with your router both in and out of the router table.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/P1Bt7y_u3rE
First off, let us look at the mysterious "turret" step thing they have ...
The purpose of the turret is to work with the height or depth gauge that is located directly above the turret. The 2 of them work together to help the operator set an appropriate depth for the router bit to sink into the wood for things like rabbets, dados, and other similar cuts. They are super simple to use when you know-how, and once you do, you will ALWAYS use them.
After your bit is installed and tightened, bottom the bit out in the router until it just touches the surface it is sitting on and lock it in that position. Next, find a measuring bar or even a drill bit of the appropriate size for the depth you want to make ... set the turret in a position that the depth gauge can contact it, then put your measuring bar or drill bit between the depth gauge bar and the turret ... tighten down the depth bar and now your router is set for the correct depth you want.
Note: Measuring bars are available from the Woodworkweb Amazon link found HERE
Cutting Super Accurate Dados
Once you have installed a straight bit into your router you will need to make measuring stick exactly the same width as the router bit. You can measure the bit or you can run a short dado and measure that, then plane down or run through your table saw, a stick that is exactly the same width as the diameter of your straight bit. Now before you make your first cut, know where the path of the router bit will go and make sure that is where you want it ... and again before you cut the path for your finished dado, know where that path is going to go because you will be making 2 cuts to get a perfect dado.
First, use the measuring stick you just made ... then run the final cut using your shelf of whatever the wood is that you want to fit in that dado. Your final cut will be a perfect fit for your wood inset.
Trimming Veneers (and rough/live edge woods)
One of the challenges for veneering, especially wide projects where 2 or more veneers sheets need to glued beside one another so they look like one piece. Getting the edges perfect is hard, but using a wood router, sandwiched between 2 sheets of MDF and using one as an edge guide for either a pattern bit or a flush-trim bit, will give your veneers a perfect edge for using veneer tape to attach them together, then finally gluing them on your carcass.
This same method works great for trimming rough edges or even live edge boards where the edges are damaged or just not very pretty and you need to make them straight and flat.
Planing on a Wood Router Table
Not commonly done, but when you have smaller pieces that just won't go through a workshop wood planer, sometimes a router table with a straight bit will do the job better. If you have a split fence on your router table, I always recommend taking it off and replacing it with a solid, straight - flat board, angle iron or anything else that is straight and flat and not split. I always worry what using a split fence for planing on a router table can get you into trouble by having split fence misaligned.
This is another easy job, but you need to remember that now you are going to be feeding wood in the BACK of the router bit so you need to feed on the opposite side that you normally would when you are using the front of the router bit. Now you are using the BACK of the router bit with the fence behind so you need to feed wood appropriately.
Regardless of where you put the fence, remember that you must ALWAYS feed wood INTO the cutting edge of the router bit, so know what direction your bit is spinning and do not feed it in from the back ... just like you would never feed wood in from the back of your table saw, so should you never feed wood in from the back of a spinning router bit.
And those are 3, often misunderstood tricks of using a router to get some very accurate and fine cuts ... and save yourself a ton of time too.
Copyright Colin Knecht