Using A Router Woodworking Basics

This article will explain how a wood router works and other information on selecting the correct woodworking router for your project.

A wood router works by spinning a cutting tool, known as a router bit, at high speeds. As the bit rotates, it removes material from the wood, creating precise cuts and shaping edges. The depth and direction of the cut are controlled by the user, allowing for intricate designs, decorative edges, and precise joinery. Routers can be handheld or mounted on a table, providing versatility for various woodworking tasks. The ability to customize the router bit and control the cutting parameters makes it a fundamental tool for achieving woodworking precision.

There is a category of router called a trim router which is a small handheld unit used for putting finishing touches on projects that don’t require use of a larger and more powerful router. They are great for trimming out imperfections on edges.

All the basics still apply when using these.

Understanding Woodworking Router Bits

Router-bits Using A Router Woodworking Basics

Wondering how does a router work wood? Wood router bits are the heartbeat of precision in woodworking. From straight bits to dado bits, each serves a unique purpose. Choose straight bits for edging, dado bits for grooves, and chamfer bits for beveled edges. The versatility of your router bits collection enhances the precision of your woodworking projects.

Decoding Woodworking Router Speeds

Speed is the essence when it comes to woodworking precision. High-speed routers, typically ranging from 8,000 to 30,000 RPM, provide a smoother finish on softer woods. Lower speeds are ideal for harder woods, preventing burning and ensuring clean cuts. Understanding the relationship between wood density and router speed is crucial for achieving precision in your craftsmanship.

Unleashing Horsepower for Woodworking

Horsepower is the driving force behind your wood router’s performance. Opt for a higher horsepower if you’re tackling large projects or hardwoods, as it ensures a consistent and precise cut. Balancing the router’s horsepower with the specific demands of your projects guarantees a smoother woodworking experience.

Wood Router and Table Combo: A Perfect Match

For woodworking precision that transcends boundaries, consider investing in a wood router and table combo. This dynamic duo provides stability, control, and enhanced accuracy. Whether you’re crafting intricate joints or creating decorative edges, the router and table combo elevates your precision game.

What You Can Do With a Router

Wood routers are incredibly versatile tools that open up a world of possibilities for woodworking enthusiasts. Here are some tasks you can accomplish with a router:

1. Edge Profiling

Create decorative edges on your wooden pieces using specialized router bits. From simple roundovers to intricate profiles, the router allows you to add a unique touch to your projects.

2. Joinery

Craft strong and precise joints such as dovetails, mortise and tenon, and box joints. Routers equipped with appropriate bits make joinery tasks efficient and accurate. You can even do really goods edge joints to join boards together for a table or desk top with the right set-up and technique.

3. Hollowing and Rabbeting

Carve out hollow sections or create rabbets for inset surfaces. This is particularly useful for making wooden doors, panels, or intricate designs.

4. Inlay Work

Enhance your woodworking projects by incorporating inlays. Routers allow you to create precise cavities for inlay materials, adding a decorative and professional touch.

5. Pattern Routing

Follow templates or patterns to replicate intricate designs. This is useful for creating multiple identical pieces with precision and efficiency.

Wood Router Comparison Buyers Guide

I’ve compiled this list below to show the popular routers available in the marketplace.

My favorites out this group were the Skil RT1322 and the Makita RT0701CX7. I purchased the Skil to handle a larger slab flattening project that I was working on and it didn’t disappoint.

However I was most impressed with the Makita RT0701CX7 as it has an optional kit that includes three different bases and accessories. If you’d like one palm router that is highly versatile the Makita would be it.

If you are just going to do home DIY projects or furniture and crafts you’ll probably not need to upgrade from this. When my cheap Harbor Freight palm router dies I’ll replace it with the Makita.

_________________BrandDescriptionPowerHorsepowerBase TypeColletAmazon Rating
Skil-1322-wood-router-combo Using A Router Woodworking BasicsSkil*SKIL RT1322 14 Amp Plunge and Fixed Base Router Combo120V2.5 HPFixed/Plunge1/4, 1/2 inch4.6
Bosch-wood-router- Using A Router Woodworking BasicsBoschBosch PR20EVSK Professional Wood Router120V2.25 HPPlunge1/4 inch4.5
Dewalt-DWp611-wood-router_ Using A Router Woodworking BasicsDewaltDEWALT DWP611 Router, Fixed Base120V1.25 HPFixed1/4 inch4.9
Ryobi-Wood-Router-1 Using A Router Woodworking BasicsRyobiRyobi RE1800PL1G Plunge Base Wood Router 120V2.0 HPPlunge1/4, 1/2 inch4.2
Makita-Wood-Router_ Using A Router Woodworking BasicsMakitaMakita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit120V1.25 HPFixed, Plunge1/4 inch4.7
Makita-Router-Kit-3-base-option_ Using A Router Woodworking BasicsMakitaMakita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit 3 base option120V1.25 HPFixed, Plunge1/4 inch4.7
Triton-Wood-Router_ Using A Router Woodworking BasicsTritonTriton TRA001 Dual-Mode Precision Plunge Router 120V3.25 HPPlunge1/2 inch4.4
Popular routers found on amazon. * I own this particular router.


Routers are one of the really 10 cool wood working tools every woodworker should have. Asking how does a router work wood will go a long way in your pursuit of woodworking precision. Understanding the nuances of router bits, speeds, and horsepower, coupled with the versatility of a router and table combo, empowers you to achieve unparalleled accuracy in your projects.

Don’t be fooled into haphazardly operating a router. Improper use can cause serious injury. Before you begin see more on router safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of router bit is best for creating decorative edges?

A: Chamfer bits are excellent for creating beveled edges and adding decorative touches to your woodworking projects.

Q: How does horsepower affect the performance of a wood router?

A: Higher horsepower provides more cutting power, making it suitable for larger projects or hardwoods, ensuring a consistent and precise cut.

Q: Can I use the same router speed for all types of wood?

A: It’s recommended to adjust the router speed based on the wood density. Higher speeds work well for softer woods, while lower speeds are ideal for harder woods.

Q: What benefits does a wood router and table combo offer?

A: A router and table combo provides stability, control, and enhanced accuracy, making it easier to achieve precise cuts and intricate designs.

Q: Are all router bits compatible with any wood router?

A: While many router bits are interchangeable, it’s essential to check the compatibility with your specific router model to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Jim Graf

I started with ZERO tools a few years back. I've learned a lot and built skills and confidence to do most any project. With this site, I'd like to share and empower others to take up woodworking and build their skill level and confidence, too. Anyone can do this!

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