How to Cut a Straight Line with a Router

Depending on your experience and technique, a router can be one of the most useful power tools in your arsenal. There are a variety of things one could do with a router which includes cutting curves, rounding edges and whatnot. However, just like every woodworking tool, it takes time and practice to truly master the use of a router. If you want to reap from the full benefits of a router, then the most important thing is precision and efficiency.

After all, woodworking is nothing short of an art and it should be treated as such. If you barge in with a router for woodwork without much prior knowledge, then more often than not, you’d end up wasting the precious wood.

Therefore, to help you save your time and money, we have prepared this guide to shed some insight on how to cut a straight line with a router.


Cutting a Straight Line with a Router

Step 1: Drill Bits

Before starting any woodworking job, the first thing you need is drill bits. The higher the quality of the drill bits, the cleaner the cuts. Make sure that once you install the drill bit, it is secured tightly.

Step 2: Cutting Depth

The cutting depth may vary depending on the router you are using. Each router comes with different methods of setting the cutting depth, so make sure to pick up the instruction manual of your router to adjust the depth accordingly.

Step 3: Secure Workpiece

When doing any woodwork, the workpiece needs to be firmly and securely placed on to the surface. This helps you ensure that while drilling, the torque of the router does not move the workpiece from its position. A straight edge or T-square needs to be attached to the work material for you to cut a straight line.

Step 4: Firm Grip

Before you turn on the router, make sure that you have a firm grip on it. Adjusting the grip while the power is on isn’t recommended as it might cause vibrations due to its momentum.

Step 5: Router Speed

Setting the router speed can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re a beginner. The best way to decide the ideal speed is by going on a test drive. Rout some scrap pieces first to be on the safe side. After all, if the speed is too fast, the cuts may turn out to be imprecise and cause splinter on wood. And if it’s slow, then that may cause the wood to burn.

Safety Tips:

Similar to any other power tool, there’s one thing you should prioritise the most and that’s the use of personal protective equipment. Far too many people take DIY projects lightly and do not pay much attention to their safety. While a router may not cause scars, there’s a great chance to end up being severely wounded if you’re not careful.

Safety goggles and ear protection only costs a couple of dollars, but it can help you potentially avoid a life worth of problem. Therefore, the use of PPE is something that is not negotiable when you are using a router.


Tips to Use a Router

Using a router might be difficult for you at the beginning. However, these tips may make the process much easier and safer and efficient:

  • Double-check the router bit to ensure that it has been tightened and installed properly.
  • Inspect the sharpness of the router bit. A dull bit may make the job difficult and provide lacklustre results.
  • Follow the recommendations of your router manufacturer while setting the speed. You can refer to the instruction manual of your router for that.
  • It is worth having a dust collection system installed with your router table, especially if you are allergic.
  • Don’t be too slow nor too fast while feeding the material. Moderation is the key.
  • Beware of the route direction.
  • When setting things up, always make sure that the router is disconnected from the power source, until you’re not ready.
  • Once you’re done routing, make sure to properly disconnect the router from the power source.
  • In case your router starts heating up, stop using it immediately to avoid burning.
  • Keep your surroundings clean while using a router.


The Bottom Line

It does not come as a surprise why a router is one of the most popular tools among woodworkers. If you are diving into the world of woodworking, then all of this may sound a bit confusing to you. However, trust us that after a couple of projects, you are going to get the hang of it. While it is true that a router is one of the most difficult tools to use for beginners, it is also one of the most effective. Not many power tools come close the level of versatility that a router offers.

Therefore, if you plan on working on a DIY project, then knowing how to cut a straight line with a router is one of the very basic steps. We hope after reading this guide, all your confusions are now clear. Stay safe and focus on those clean cuts to make sure that your project turns out to be a DIY masterpiece.

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