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So I need to router a 1x4 but I'm not sure how to secure it in place while I router it.

This one video I watched looks like it wasn't secured. Not sure how it wouldnt move.

 

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Router table best. If not, clamps. I the clamps are going to be in the way of the pass you have to make, just undo the clamps, re-position and go again. Takes longer, but yeah... I don't trust mats for routing. If not on the table, work pieces need to be secure. Routers have a lot of power and tend to push things around. (Perhaps obviously, do the end grain/cross passes first, then the 'rip' side to clean up.) Another thing that requires patience is sometimes it's just much, much better to take several easy passes rather than trying to take the whole bite out with one pass. That begs for more chipping, especially on any cross passes, and especially on smaller work pieces that are maybe not as solidly secure as larger pieces.
 

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for an "experienced" woodworker without a designated router table, we make a bigger face plate and turn the router upside down and very carefully, free-hand the piece around the bit. (Note: VERY carefully).
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retired painter
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Before I built a router table extension to my table saw I used to clamp the router upside down to the table. I had a larger plate that has a 1x screwed to one side and then clamped the 1x to the table. Not having a fence meant that I was limited to the bits with a bearing.
 

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Lucky - can you share your project with us ?
like - how big is the piece, how many, what is the finished project going to be, photos, drawings, yada yada yada
 

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retired framer
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It might help to rout a scrap piece first. One direction will cut better than the other. That should give you more confidence when you go to rout the finish piece.
For control you never cut in the wrong direction, You might back up on a clean up pass but the first cut is always pushing the cutting edge into the wood.
 
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