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Old 09-24-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
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Router Advice


We all need to get the job done as quickly as possible but when dealing with tools as dangerous as a router cutter spinning at up to 52,000 RPM you cannot risk cutting corners. I can count on the three fingers I have left the times I've got away with cutting corners.

Basic safety Hints

  • Choose the right tool for the job!
It may seem an easy thing to remember but how many times have you pulled out a router out of your tool rack and "made do". The wrong choice of tool can lead to cutter failure, damage to the work piece and even personal injury. If you are unsure what cutter you need there are plenty of suppliers, saw doctors and even manufacturers that will give you valuable information that may save you time money and maybe a bit of flesh and bones.
  • Eye Safety
Even if you are Stevie Wonder it is a must wear safety glasses. Any waste material created with the router can fly out and why does it always fly towards the eye? And you know any rubbish in your eye hurts like hell. So whether you have 20 20 vision or you just don't want the agony of a splinter in the eye wear some safety eye protection. Glasses can be bought for as little as 5.00 are your eyes worth that?
  • Hearing Protection
Right we have sorted your eyes now we'll keep your hearing. Routers can produce noise levels >105-110dB (louder than an average partner!) and without ear protection can lead to permanent hearing loss. Which may be a bonus with the average partner nagging but in the long term but I'm sure you would rather listen without a trumpet in your ear.
  • Fitting The Router
Once again I maybe telling people how to suck the proverbial egg hear but I bet you don't switch off the power when you put the cutter into the router collet! Now you have seen what a router bit can do to materials even as hard as trespa so imagine what it can do to your fingers. So power off and use the tools provided to tighten the router collet and we'll keep them piggies. Speaking of piggies All router cutters over 15.8mm diameter should be manufactured with a Holz BG form (unless it is for mechanical feed). Effectively giving the cutter the ability to prevent overfeeding and here’s the piggies bit the form was developed to help prevent injury and pig tails were used to test rather than fingers! Makes you wonder who held the pig? Right I digress so back to fitting. Most modern routers are now marked with a "K" mark on the shank of the tool. This is the minimum amount of shank that should be inserted in to the collet. Failure to adhere to the "K" mark can lead to cutter wander and will invalidate any warranty. A good rule of thumb though is insert at least 3/4 of the shank in to the collet. And remember trying to increase the length of reach by not inserting the tool properly refers back to Choose the right tool for the Job!
  • Clamp The Work piece
The work piece must be clamped firmly to avoid it moving and fouling your work or your work piece shooting across the workshop or shed faster than a speeding bullet. On the same sort of note routers by nature produce a great deal of torque a firm grasp of the router is a must. And I know it is hilarious watching little Billy been dragged about the workshop but make sure he's still in good enough condition to clear up his own blood.
  • Instructions
I know I'm talking like a sissy but hey read the manufacturer’s instructions. After all they want you to keep your fingers hearing eyes and are running out of people volunteering to hold that pig. Some of these guy have been making and dealing with router tooling for over 50 years so who are we to doubt their knowledge.
  • Service Your Bits
Get the most from your tooling it costs enough! Keep the edge on your tools to improve the life of your tool and increase the life of your router machine itself. Dull and blunt tools can lead to burning and puts added strain on both the router bit and router machine iitself. To prevent breakage router bits can be sharpened with a small diamond stone but only on the face of the tool. Of course to achieve the greatest life use a reputable Saw Doctor to do all your sharpening.


Last edited by beenthere; 09-24-2010 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Removed links he gets paid to advertise/post
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