Wood routers are one of the most important tools that you must get at the beginning of your woodworking journey. It’s also one of the easiest tools to master in a very short period to start cutting sharp edges. It can help you make intricate designs or make precise design cuts to the edges despite being an easy tool to master. However, it’s also one of the tools that require the utmost respect in the safety department.
Most of the professionals use their routers with a router table as a desk for woodworking projects. I’ll help you understand the router table safety mechanisms that you must know and follow after you own a router. Stick to the article if you’ve just got a router and trying to know how you should use it with the best safety measurements:
Do I need a router table to use a router?
People get confused at choosing the right size of the wood router as well as the application method. You may think you just need a router table to make your routing experience smoother. The truth is, you don’t necessarily need a table for your router to land a fine cut. A handheld router can help you more in several ways with better maneuver and portability.
However, if you’re using a router that is too big to handle with one hand and need two hands to hold on, you can get a table. It also depends on what type of project you work the most using the router. If you’re working on a fine cut with a big piece, you must get a table for a consistent cut. Making dovetail joineries and other complex cuts like it will surely need a table for the router to make an even cut.
What is a good size for a router table?
The router table size depends on how large the router itself is and the size of your work. You must get a router table that can fit in the workpiece properly after fitting the router under the table. The most common size of the router table is 24 inches deep and 36 inches in width.
However, you must not take this measurement as a reference for every size and type of router you may have. If you’re making it yourself, have enough room under the table to go in and adjust, remove, and reattach the router.
Tips for Router Table Safety
Using a router table can be a big advantage, especially if you’re working on critical joints and big projects. Taking the right safety precautions will help you stay safe at any point while working. Here are all the router table safety tips you must know to stay safe and rout properly:
Put on safety equipment
You must use the proper safety equipment before using a router or any type of tool with potential hazards. A router can produce a lot of noise, so, put on hearing protection and safety goggles. Holding on to the tool will be a lot easier if you put latex gloves while operating a router, especially hand routers.
Appropriate clothing is also important because the router will produce a hectic amount of dust. However, using a good dust vacuum system can help you stay out of most of the dust. Put on closed clothing that doesn’t have any way in for the wood dust and chips. Don’t have any type of jewelry on your hands or hanging from the neck. They might tangle with the router bit and cause a severe injury.
Avoid having alcohol or drugs
Never have alcohol or drugs, especially before you start working with a router. It’s too dangerous to work with hazardous tools while you aren’t in a proper state in mind. Stay away from any power tool, especially a table-mounted router that can lead you to a potential life threat.
Keep your working area in good shape
If you’re setting your table and the area is mostly under the rain, you must keep the shop dry. Wet conditions may damage both the metal equipment and the woods in your shop. Using a power tool in a wet condition is severely dangerous as well. Electric shocks are more often in these conditions, and the tool might get slippery as well.
Get to know the machine
Knowing the router machine is a must-do part before you start using it on the table. Attach the router with the proper mounting plate and never try to compensate with oversized or undersized collets. The best way to know about the specific router model, go through the manufacturer’s manual that came with it. Go through the safety features the router offers and make the best use of them to stay safe.
Double-check before starting
If you’re about to start the router machine and start working with it, be sure to double-check everything. Check if the horsepower and the rotation speed is compatible with the width and the depth of the wood. Use the right size of the bit; check if the bit has the right length on the top of the mounting plate. Ensure the fence is aligned correctly and has the right depth for the wood for a proper cut.
Keep an ideal distance
When you start cutting, make sure you have a safe distance from the bit and the table. Be sure to work with the right size or board and make sure it’s not too big for the table. You won’t be able to control the board unless it has the right size compared to the router table. Keeping an ideal distance from the cutting bit is safer if you use a pushing mechanism or a stick.
Go for multiple passes
If you’re working with multiple pieces of wood, don’t stack them together. Rather, you must go for multiple passes for individual pieces with a reference piece as a guide. With multiple pieces, you will have to press hard to tuck them together, which is not an ideal choice. Lighter and smaller passes can help you get a fine result and way less burn on the wood.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about working with router tables that you should know about:
Can I use a router table as a jointer?
Yes, if you’re joining narrow edges, it’s better to use a table as the jointer; bigger face joints are not ideal with a table. However, make sure the outfeed and infeed guide is rigid and long enough.
Can you put a plunge router in a router table?
A plunge router isn’t supposed to go under a table to work, but if you must use it as a fixed router, you can do so. It needs to have a full-height and solid border to the edges of the router guide.
Can any router be mounted to a table?
Almost any router is compatible to mount to a table if you have the right mounting plate that can fit the router in. However, if it’s a hand router with a too-small collet, you shouldn’t fit it on a table.
If you are using your wood router mounted to a table, it will make safety a major issue along with making your work a lot easier. The little cutter bit on the surface can become a big safety hazard if you don’t know how to make the right use of a router. Using the wood router properly requires you to take proper safety measurements seriously. Never use a router with an unmatched table, or it may cause a hazard as well. Router table safety precautions will keep you on a safer side and help you achieve a better result.