How to Use a Router the Right Way

how to use a router - man using woodworking router


Woodworking can challenge your DIY skills and encourage creativity. However, sticking to the most basic tools can be limiting. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with different tools of the trade to keep your options open, and one such power tool is the woodworking router.

Using a router table or a handheld router, woodworkers can make cutouts, sharp edges, rounded edges, joints, decorative cuts, rabbets, and dadoes, and they can even make duplicates from a pattern. There are many router projects woodworkers can tackle with a standard cutting bit, but switching to one of several router bit shapes to create unique designs and intricate patterns can open up more customization options.

If you want to learn how to use a router the right way, this guide has you covered.

Important Router Parts

Knowing how to use and maintain a router tool properly begins with understanding the key parts of a router and how they function.

  • Motor: An electric router typically has a vertically mounted motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to drive the cutting blade.
  • Collet: A collet is essentially a steel sleeve enclosed within a locking or retaining nut that secures the router bit in the router while working.
  • Base: Handheld router bases have a hole in their center, through which the router bit protrudes to cut into the target material.
  • Speed control: This dial can be used to increase or decrease the router cutter’s operating speed.
  • Depth stop: A depth guide that can be preset to a specified depth for making cuts at consistent depths or stopping the router from being lowered too far into the material.
  • On/off switch: A switch or trigger that turns the router on or off.

4 Types of Routers to Know

There are multiple common router types, including fixed-base routers, plunge routers, trim routers, and router tables.

1. Fixed-Base Router

Bosch fixed-base router product photo on white background


The most common type of handheld router is known as a fixed-base router. With this type of router, the position of the router bit remains fixed. For instance, if you set the cut depth to ¼ inch, the router bit will only protrude past the base ¼ inch until the depth is changed. Fixed-base routers are designed for a wide…