Why you suck at using a horizontal router table

I do some work in my backyard shop every now and then. I’ve learnt a thing or two about using certain tools from personal experience and the router table is no exception. It’s a good idea to understand and read about the tool you’re going to be using before you start.

Below are tips for using a horizontal router table:

  • The horizontal router table should be clamped right at the edge of your workplace to ensure enhanced mobility around your workspace. Once clamped, you can work from either side of your workspace.
  • The horizontal table tilts for newer versions, and this can enable you to do work that is impossible on a regular flat table.The table top tilts up to 45°, allowing you to create offset angles that can’t be carried out on a conventional 90° table surface.
  • You can use the tilted table to rout slots for splines that join beveled parts such as the sides of an octagonal planter. In addition, changing the angle between the profile of the bit and the workpiece can enable you to route a variety of new shapes in addition to the tilting table.
  • Always have the bit below the piece since it will give you a better result in the cut, and it is much safer. Also, it prevents any shrapnel from flying off.
  • Feed the wood through the router bit, keeping it aligned with the fence as this will serve to create a groove through the length of the wood.
  • If you are routing across the end grain of a board, be careful of the exit corner. When the bit breaks through the weak fibers, it may make a bad cut.
  • Trying to remove too much stock in one piece is a recipe for sloppy cuts. A viable solution is to rout big cuts in several passes of varying depth.
  • Do not overload or abuse a bit. Also, constant maintenance is necessary. Replace worn out bits for quality work and replace any malfunctioning parts.
  • Consider a two-cutter system. Do most of the rough cutting with one bit,  then do the final cut with a new or freshly ground bit with low mileage to ensure a smooth finish to the workpiece.
  • Ensure your feed direction runs across, for instance, the right to left so as to ensure you have the most control over your workpiece. Doing this will prevent unintended cuts.
  • If you do not have a jointer, you can use your router table using the pattern bit.
  • For safety purposes, use a pusher to keep your fingers away from the bit to prevent accidents in case the router goes through the wood.