March 25, 2022
Do you really need a router table in your workshop? If your answer is—yes, you are right. Maybe you are one of those DIYers who have already known the value of a router table. Yet, if you’re a newbie who has not yet bought or own a router table, it will help if you provide your workshop with one. But what is a router table?
Of course, it is a table wherein you mount a woodworking router. As a piece of equipment, it lets you use the router at a broader range of angles. With its use, you can work the router sideways and upside down. It offers greater flexibility, especially if you are DIYer, allowing you to achieve impossible cuts.
Moreover, as a piece of stationary woodworking equipment, it allows the woodworking router’s spindle to protrude from its surface. This protruding spindle lets the bit spin at a tremendous range of speed between 3,000 rpm to 24,000 rpm.
On this protruding spindle chuck, you can mount the router bits or cutter heads. Once set, you can feed the workpiece onto the machine, allowing it to mold a profile on the workpiece.
The router table allows for the convenient use of the router. It lets you guide your material against your router instead of moving the router on your material manually. Thus, the use of a router table affords you more control. It also comes with a router lift that lets you make the necessary height adjustments for a perfect cut. The bit’s height is fixed in relation to the table surface, allowing the router to make uniform groove sizes and depths.
The router table has basic parts like the insert plate, miter fence slot, the guard, fence, NVR switch, and mountain plate. Moreover, it has two different types: the benchtop and the freestanding. The benchtop weighs less than the freestanding router table. For this reason, the benchtop router tables are easier to handle and move around.
If you are desirous of jumpstarting a woodworking career, you should have a router table in your workshop. At the onset, you may find it hard to use the router table if you are used to handling a hand-held router; but you will soon get the hang of it.
If you intend to buy a router table, it will help to consider the table size, adjustability of bit guard, detachable baseplates, and the mounting slots’ accessories.
What You Can Do With Router Table?
The router table comes in handy in many woodworking tasks. These tasks include trimming woodwork, making accurate cuts, joining two material pieces together with slots and grooves, making box joinery and dovetail, shaping and cutting moldings, and trimming edge and work pattern.
You can also use the router table when working on small and thin materials that are difficult to work with using a hand-held router, unattached to a table.
You can use it to create raised panel doors. You can carve grooves with consistent depth and width for seamlessly fitting together the door pieces with its use. The router table can also effectively produce a consistent cut, and this capacity to make the consistent cut is essential to making commercial furniture of excellent quality. At the onset, you need to set the router up; then, you can replicate the cutting process with minimal differences.
The router, of course, is characterized by versatility. Yet, when complemented by a router table, the router further expands its versatility. Hence, it’s reasonable to say that the router table provides greater flexibility than a hand-held router.
Usages & Benefits of Using Router Table
The router on a router table can help boost your productivity and workflow. It enables you to do away with the handling hassle that comes with the hand-held router. It also lets you add designs to the workpiece edges. Here are some advantages concomitant with the use of a router table:
Ease of Working on Smaller Materials
The router table is a machine, while the hand-held router is a tool. You take the hand-held router to the material to work on the material. However, the router table requires you to bring the material to the router table before working on the material.
The router table provides you with ease of use when working on smaller materials. Thus, you will find it easy to use when profiling or doing the edge work using a router table.
However, with the hand-held router’s use, you will find it hard to clamp the material before you can work on it. But with a router table at hand, you only need to feed the workpiece onto the router table after setting the groove’s width and depth.
Easier Template Cutting
Another advantage you will have with the use of a router table is the ease of template cutting. To use template, you can secure a template to your workpiece. Then, begin to copy whatever the template design is using the template bit.
Of course, you can do this using a hand-held router. But with a router table, this work becomes doubly easy because you don’t have to hold the tool with your hands. Moreover, you don’t need to secure the template to the workpiece because your hand is free to grab the template.
You can use the router for edge profiling, and I would also recommend this task to newbies because it lets them get the hang of the router’s use. As a beginner, you should try out the rounded edges using the router because rounded edges are pleasing to behold. Besides, it is safer if you have kids around.
The profiling of edges, of course, becomes easy to do with the router table. You just need to lock to the router’s collet portion the router bit. Then, set the router’s bit depth. Soon after, you can run the router and get your perfect rounded edge.
Easy Rabbet Cutting
Rabbet cuts are the groove cuts you make near the wood piece edge portion. The router table’s use affords you a higher level of versatility when profiling and edging because of fence use. You can set the fence to where you want to position the bearing. Its use opens up the possibility of working efficiently along the edges of the board.
Using the router table, you can easily set the fence. Once you’ve set the router table up, you can run many boards onto the router for easy rabbet cutting. Setting the fence, of course, is a one-time setup.
Efficient Dust Collection
One remarkable advantage afforded by the use of a router table is the efficient dust collection. A hand-held router creates tons of dust, which can be a health hazard if you are dealing with many pieces of wood. So, a good router table will come in handy in such a case because it comes with dust collection accessories. It also has a fence which can prevent dust from billowing forth.
Of course, most table routers’ design makes it possible to have the dust collected, allowing you to keep your work surface clean for more works.
Safety Precautions When Using a Table Router
Before using a router, you should first know the safety precautions pertinent to the router’s use. You don’t need to compromise your safety when engaged in routing work. So, before engaging in the router’s use, you need to secure the necessary protective gear.
For example, you need to wear safety glasses for eye protection from dust, hearing protection from excessive sound, and a nice mask to protect your lungs and nostrils. You should also use an excellent automatic vacuum to suck the dust in from your cut-out.
Moreover, you should wear proper clothing when routing. As a last caveat, you should avoid drinking alcohol before using any power tool.
The router mounted on the router table is a perfect tool for achieving many routing works and boosting your workflow. Its use can let you do away with the usual hassles that come with the hand-held router. The router table may come in handy when handling lock miter, end-grain routing, and finger joints. It also provides you with a multitude of options.
As a woodworking tool, the router table has greatly evolved since it was first conceived as an improvised tool before. At present, you can buy a complete package of router tables that come with everything you need to begin your woodworking routing. If you’re a newbie in woodworking, it will be useful to include a router table in your shortlist of workshop tools and machines.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.