How to use a Router Tool

Posted by John Rennie on

At Rennie Tool Company, we are specialists in all manner of tooling, including router bit cutters. We offer a wide selection of solid carbide router bits to buy online, suitable for all leading models of router tools. We are always delighted to help our customers find the appropriate router accessories for their needs, but we often find that many more of our customers could benefit from a router tool for their project, though not all know it. 

If you’re a hobbyist woodworker, DIYer or just looking to learn more about power tool craftsmanship, keep reading to learn more about router tools. 

What is a Router Tool?

A router tool is a type of power tool that can be used to cut and mould edges, carve rabbets, recess fixtures and make decorative carvings in wood or plastic. With the right skillset, you can make almost anything with a router tool, including shelves, dado rails, clocks, chopping boards, and ornamental items like candlestick holders. 

You can swap out the router bits for new ones depending on the type of cut or finish you need to make, but in addition to the different types of bits, there are different types of router tools, too. The first are trim routers, which are small and can be held with one hand. As the name suggests, trim routers are mostly used for making decorative trims and edges. 

Fixed base routers are bigger than trim routers and generally have handles on either side so they can be controlled with two hands. They can be used to cut larger pieces of wood and are ideal for instances where you need to be able to cut at a continuous depth.

The final major type of router tool is a plunge router, which is somewhat similar to a fixed base router with the exception that the base isn’t fixed. This means you can cut at varying depths, making this the router tool of choice for carving out decorative patterns and text. 

How to use a Router Tool Properly and Safely

As mentioned, there are a number of different router tools you can choose from, and there are considerably more router bits you can opt to use. The tool and the router bit you choose, as well as the finish you want to achieve, will dictate how to use the tool, but as a general rule of thumb, you need to start by correctly installing the router bit. 

Before you add in the router bit, make sure it’s sharp and clean. If your router bit is dull or dirty, this could impact the quality of the cut, and It could damage the wood. You could find large chunks of wood or plastic come flying off when blunt bits are used, presenting a safety risk but also risking the finish of your project. 

The part of the tool the router bit goes into is called the collet, and the part of the bit that gets inserted is called the shank. Once the router bit has been inserted, you will need to tighten it with a wrench. The wrench is usually supplied with the router tool when you purchase it. 

It’s incredibly important to make sure you wear the relevant safety gear, such as goggles and/or gloves if necessary. When you’re ready to begin cutting, make sure your wood / material is secured and won’t move. 

The router bit will rotate. To keep control and maintain precision, you should move the router in the opposite direction the bit is rotating – so against the grain. To ensure you have your toolset to the correct depth, it’s advisable to use a test piece of wood in the beginning. This will allow you to make necessary adjustments before you begin carving. 

You will need to take care not to push the router through the wood. Doing so could burn the wood and make for a poor finish. Depending on the piece of wood or plastic that is being carved, you may need to make several passes to achieve the depth and the finish you want.

Once you’ve finished using the router tool, make sure you turn off the tool to prevent an accident. Dust off the wood or plastic, and clean the router tool and bit. You may find you need to sand or file the wood/plastic to achieve the desired finish, so keep this in mind at the end of your project.

Buy Router Tool Bits Online

If you need advice on the best router bits for your project, or if you’re unsure what size router bits you need for your power tool, we can help. Call us on 0161 477 9577 and we’ll be happy to assist you. 

Ordering online from us is easy, and we offer same day despatch. We also provide free shipping on orders over £30, so if you have multiple items to buy, be it drill bits, saw blades or tool steel, make a bulk order to take advantage of free shipping.

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