Routing Techniques

by Tom Hankelberry

Routing techniques for carpenters and cabinet builders Routers and shapers are simple machines and are uncomplicated to use. Alignment, adjustment, maintenance, and technique are all straightforward. You don't have to be a practiced expert to use either machine with precision. Just take care and be patient. However, it isn't quite as simple as turning on a machine and feeding the wood into the cutter. Any tool, no matter how simple, is designed to be used in a specific manner and within specific limits. There are a few basic routing and shaping principles that you must keep in mind as you work.

Each time you use a router, you have a unique choice: Do you pass the work across the tool or the tool across the work? If you use a shaper, this choice is made for you. The tool is stationary and you must feed the work. But the router can be either portable or stationary depending on whether or not you mount a tool in a jig.
Choose whichever seems easier and safer — generally the easier the operation is to perform, the safer it will be. If the workpiece is small enough to handle comfortably, mount the router in a jig and feed the work past the bit. If the board is large and heavy, take advantage of the router's portability and move the tool over the board.

A 5AFETY Reminder If a workpiece is very small, your hands may come too close to the router bit as you cut it. In this case, you have two choices: You can rout the work with a portable router, using a commercially
available foam rubber "routing pad" to hold the work; or you can rout a portion of a larger workpiece and cut a small piece from it.

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