Wood routers are growing in popularity. Many woodworkers and hobbyist have found that wood routers can help them finish projects quicker, but there is one problem plaguing the inexperienced user: inaccurate cuts.
Accurate cuts are not entirely defined by the type of router used.
Proper usage of the wood router is what truly defines if a cut is accurate or not. We’ve rounded up the top 5 tips from experts that will allow you to increase the accuracy of your wood router cuts.
1. Clean and Sharpen Bits
Router bits are the essence of every cut you make. You should be using ½” shank bits. Why? These bits are a lot more stable than their ¼” counterparts, and they’ll allow you to have a cleaner overall cut.
These bits will become dull over time and need to be sharpened.
Resin build up will start to appear on bits that aren’t cleaned often. When resin starts to build up, this results in dull cutting and overheating. Resin remover is recommended. Sharpening should be done with a diamond-coated sharpener for best results.
2. Master the Bit Speed
Bits are the “cutting instrument” of choice, and the speed of the cutting needs to be mastered. The vibration caused at higher speeds may not be acceptable for some cuts. The way to master your control of bit speed is to listen to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Larger bits rotate at a slower speed naturally.
The size of the wood router will also dictate the speed. Larger routers often operate at higher speeds, causing higher vibrations and making it more difficult to get an accurate cut. Following the speed settings set by the manufacturer allows for cleaner cuts.
3. Make Several Passes
Too many woodcutters try to work through a cut with one pass – it’s not going to work well. You need to start with light passes. High volumes of chips should be run through light passes so that the bits last longer, too.
This will allow you to gain better control over your cut.
4. Move to the Right
You want to move against the rotation of the bit. This is done by:
- Looking down the top of the router
- Noting the direction of the drill bit
When a bit is moving in a clockwise direction, you’ll want to move the router from left to right. If you choose to move it right to left, you’ll have to fight for control, which will cause a lot of mistakes in your cut.
5. Use Templates
A template guide (guide bushing) is a steel collar that will mount to the base of the router. This will allow you to make quick cuts of any size and shape.
The way this works is that there is a steel tub where the bit extends. This tube will be guided along the template to allow for quick cuts.
Buying a multi-piece bushings set is the best choice for avid cutters. This will allow you to enjoy the most versatility when making your cuts. And if you choose, you can buy guides individually to get a feel for the process.