The router is one of the most versatile tools in the workshop. With the correct bits you can form edges, add decorative inlays and even make raised panel doors. Practice is the key to successful routing. However, the right bit is just as important. In this article I'll offer a basic guide to ensure you choose the bits you need for the job.
Before you get started I'd like to offer some important tips to make things easier. First try to use sharp bits. They will retain their sharpness for a long time in normal use. A dull bit can damaged the work. Try to get the feel of the most efficient cutting movement. The bit should cut easily with only slight reduction in motor speed. Moving it too slowly through the wood may burn it and ruin the temper of the bit. Moving it too fast slows the motor and causes overheating. Practice on scrap wood and watch your performance carefully. The sound of the tool is an excellent guide, once you achieve efficient cutting. At the beginning, stop the tool frequently and check the cut for burned areas caused by too slow movements. It only takes a few minutes of practice to get the knock of using a router.
Router Bits And Their Uses
Dovetail – Creates strong joints for frame, shelves, bookcases, and cabinets.
Spiral – Edge smoothing and trimming of plastic laminate and fiberglass.
Combination Panel – Veneer trimming.
V-grooving – Lettering and sign work.
Straight, single flute – General use for grooves, dadoes, and rabbets.
Stair routing – Stair tread bit for setting steps and riser grooves.
Rabbeting – Step-cutting edges for joints in cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
Cove – Decorative edges.
Chamfering – Angle cuts for concealed joints and decorative edges.
Beading – Decorative edges for veneered table tops, other furniture parts.
Straight – For wood and tile inlay in table tops and wooden game boards.
Roman Ogee – Decorative edges for furniture emulating previous time periods.
Veining – Decorative freehand, raised, or cut-in designs or letters.
Core Box – Fluting and reeding of flat surfaces.
As you can see the choice of the right bit looks a bit daunting. Fear not and start with simple projects and work your way into the more difficult jobs that require the use of several routers. With time and experience you should become adept at picking the right bits with little to no trouble.
Just as important in picking the right router bit is learning how to change them, adjusting the cutting depth, and using a router guide.
Inserting router bits : Disconnect router from the power supply. Using two wrenches (except your router comes equipped with a locking device to prevent the shaft from turning) hold the lower nut in place and turn the collet until the bit is easy to remove. Insert the new bit; again hold the lower nut in place while tightening the collet nut. Make sure it is tight as the last thing you want is for the bit to come out while it's turning at high rate of speed.
Adjusting the cutting depth : Place router on a flat surface. Loosen locking nut and turn the collar until the bit just touches the surface of the work. Slide the router to the edge of the work until the bit is just past it. Turn collar until the bit is at the desired depth. Lock collar and tighten locking nut.
What is a router guide? The guide keeps the bit at the exact desired distance from the edge of the work. The guide adjusts to and from the router base and is held in place by locking screws. These guides are available for most models.
By know you should have a basic understanding of the types of router bits and their uses, as well as some tips to help you along the way. Just remember to take your time and watch your work area, and above all be safe.
Source by Chuck Lunsford