How To Use Router Bits

The router is an indispensable tool for any serious woodworker. It is mainly used to hollow out wood. Routers are very versatile tools used in molding wood, creating trims, and more. Router bits are attached to the router to create a specific type of design. These attachments come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Here is how you can use a routers bit in woodworking.

  • Choose the router bit according to your woodworking needs. Router bits come in different shapes and sizes. Some can rout your wood in a straight fashion. Others cut a notch (rabbet) on the wood’s edge. There are routers bits for special applications. Select from the many types available.
  • Clamp the wood. If you have a hand-powered router, you need to clamp down the wood so it won’t move at all. The exposed edge (unclamped side) is the side on which you will use the router. Use the appropriate clamps to keep the wood steady. Otherwise, use a router table with the router attached to it to make things easier for you.
  • Choose the correct collet. The size of collet is based on the size of your chosen router bit’s shank. Shanks come in quarter and half inch sizes. Collets also come in two sizes to fit the shanks. Check the size of your router bit’s shank and get the appropriate sized collet for it.
  • Install the bit. Remove the router base to expose the hole where you will insert the router bit and collet. Insert the router bit into the collet. Next, install this assembly into the router itself. Tighten the bit/collet assembly by hand. Then get two wrenches to hold the assembly with. Use these to tighten the assembly further. The fit should be snug.
  • Put back the base. Once the collet and router bit are installed snugly, attach the base of the router back on. Make sure it clicks in place.
  • Check the router height. Make sure that the height of the router is right for the bit’s height. Adjust the router height if necessary.
  • Wear protective gear. Routers are loud wood working tools that cause dust and woodchips to fly in all directions. Put on safety goggles, a mask and ear muffs to protect your from the dust and the sound.
  • Use the router with the bit. Plug the router and turn it on. Hold the router firmly and start routing from left to right. Follow this direction only because the router blade turns the other way. Routing from right to left will not give you a clean, smooth cut. Depending on the bit you are using, you may have to make several passes with the router in order to get the right cut or indentation on the wood.
  • Tip: When purchasing router bits, buy high quality ones that, with proper use, will stay sharp for many years. High quality router bits are properly designed and make better cuts with less vibration.

There are simply too many types of router bits available for woodworking. You can even request for custom-made bits for that special design you want on your wood. Router bits are simple to use especially if you have a routing table. Once you use a router for woodworking you will be wondering why it took so long for you to get one.


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