Are you getting the most from this workshop fixture?
Synopsis: The router table enables even those with small shops to easily produce moldings, cut rabbets, dadoes, and other joinery, and replicate shaped furniture parts. Gary Rogowski has been using this tool for more than 30 years. In that time, he’s collected an array of tips and advice for users — from initial setup to time-saving jigs. Here, he demonstrates how to set up the router table for comfort and efficiency, how to properly feed stock, how to produce different types of moldings, how to use straight cuts for basic joinery, how to set up stopped cuts, how to raise a panel, how to cut sliding dovetail and grooves, and how to avoid tearout when template routing.
From Fine Woodworking #190
Contrary to what some woodworkers believe, a router is not the quickest way to ruin a piece of wood. In fact, when mounted underneath a flat table, a router is one of my shop’s most versatile and reliable tools.
I began using router tables in the 1970s, shortly after seeing one for the first time and not long after I became a woodworker. The idea was an instant winner: a table or cabinet with a router mounted upside down underneath so that the bit stands straight up through a hole in the surface. The table’s broad, flat top and square fence support the work and provide reference surfaces for accurate cutting. It’s also easy to clamp blocks to the table for stopped cuts.
The tool’s combination of easy use and accuracy has helped transform woodworking, especially for the small shop. With a properly set up table, a woodworker can produce hundreds of feet of molding in a single shop session. The user also can cut rabbets, dadoes, and other joinery, and—with the help of templates—can easily replicate shaped…