For woodworkers and craftspeople, the router table is an extremely important tool in their workshops. This tool increases the functionality of a handheld router, allowing you to create difficult and intricate cuts. Understanding how it works will help you get the best out of router table uses so you can level up your woodworking projects.
If you’re looking to buy a router table, read these router table tips and tricks to help you choose the best one that will fit your needs.
What Is a Heavy Duty Router Table?
A router is a power tool that is used to hollow out, cut, trim, or shape chunks of material, which can be wood, acrylic, sheet metal, graphite, fiberglass, or Kevlar. It can be used with various types of router bits, each with a specific woodworking function.
Some routers can be handheld, while others can be mounted on a router table. This allows the worker to cut, trim, and shape small pieces of material quickly and accurately. If you’re gearing towards high-speed production and preciseness, then you’ll need a heavy-duty router table.
A heavy-duty router table is a precise cutting machine that is controlled using a computer. It can also be programmed to follow a specific template for cuts and shapes. This ensures that all of your finished products are identical, with only slight differences in measurements, if there’s any. As there are a plethora of router table uses, it’s the perfect tool for mass-producing products.
Heavy-duty router tables come in different sizes. Bench-top router tables are great for on-the-go workers who have a limited work area. They’re lightweight, easy to move around, and more affordable.
On the other hand, full-size or freestanding router tables have larger capacities, allowing you to work on and store more materials. A large router table is also better at absorbing the vibrations that the router machine generates.
Do I Need a Router Table?
One of the most important router tips for beginners is to use a router table if you’re into serious woodworking. Sure, handheld routers may be lighter and easier to use, but router tables are ideal if you need more speed, precision, and accuracy.
You definitely need a router table if you do the following tasks:
- Cutting, trimming, and shaping small materials accurately
- Doing templated and patterned work
- Creating slots and grooves to connect materials together
These are just a few of the many router table uses that you would require.
Router tables are excellent at quality control. They can maintain your products’ standards because they’re able to consistently create the same cuts with very minor differences.
If you’re working with very small materials, using a router table will make the process easier for you. The table provides support and allows you to work on different angles, including sideways or upside down.
Choosing a Heavy Duty Router Table
The right heavy-duty router table will allow you to perfectly create prototypes, furniture pieces, and cabinetry components. It should easily be able to rout any type of non-conductive material (hardwoods, acrylic, or plastics), or include plasma cutting (steel, aluminum, brass, and copper).
Some of the specific parts that a heavy-duty router table must have are the following:
- Spindle motors
- Dedicated CNC controllers
- Servo motors
- Servo amplifiers
- Stepper motors
- Linear guides
- AC inverter drives
- Ball nuts
- Vacuum pumps
To make sure that you’re getting the best model to fit your needs, ask the manufacturer for their router table plans. This will help you ensure that you’ll get all the essential parts for your router table.
Router Tips for Beginners
If you know how to use a router, then using a router table won’t be difficult for you. However, you should check out these tips if you’re getting a router table for the first time:
- Accidents can happen at any time, so following the safety measures when using a routing table is very important. Make sure to unplug the router if you’re changing the router bits. Protect your fingers by using push sticks or feather boards when feeding the material into the machine. You should also wear safety goggles and earplugs while working.
- Using push blocks will make it easier to rout narrow pieces of material. It also prevents chipping whenever you’re end-grain routing. To do this, position the push block parallel to the fence as you guide it past the bit.
Working on router table projects for beginners that require identical parts? Use a template and rout the bottom part in half. Then, add a bottom-bearing bit to the router and adjust accordingly. The bearing should ride the surface created by the pattern bit.