The router is a fantastic tool as it can be used for multiple purposes and there are many options when it comes to choosing which router you should buy depending on your budget and the jobs you will be using it for.
A good router table is one of those must-have types of workshop tools that every woodworker wants to have.
Router tables are very helpful for many functions, including;
- Template work
- Grooves , dadoes
- Flush trimming edges of stock to create flush joints
- Molding joints where the top resides over the edge of the frame (like crown molding)
- Dovetail or box joins
- Use as a Jointer
I have been using a router table for years to help with woodworking. It is very helpful when making cabinets or anything that requires a lot of rounding and shaping.
There is always a way to make projects easier to do and with the right tools you can have success in just about anything you want to try.
What Can You Do with a Router Table?
1. Edge Trimming
Routers excel at trimming the edges of stock especially if it is to some type of pattern when using a template to guide the router bit.
If you ere using a hand router then this will become a lot more awkward to handle all the moving pieces involved.
But if you are using a router table you get a lot more control as the bit is in a fixed position and you can attach the template to the piece of stock and then move the stock about the bit matching the exact contours of the template.
2. Template Work
As discussed above using a template is much easier when you are use a router that is fixed to the underside of a table.
A table give you a very secure flat surface from which to work on. If you only have a hand held router then you will have to clamp your stock to a work bench and then make sure that you have enough room and clearance to move the bit to the exact contour of the template.
3. Dovetail Joints
Using a dovetail jig is great if you are looking to make a lot of very simple joints with a router.
They are particularly effective as a time saving device in a busy furniture shop.
However the actual jigs themselves are quite limited in the types of cuts you can make.
Mounting your router to a table allows you to make much more complex dovetails as you are less limited by the exact outline of a conventional dovetail jig.
4. Use as a Jointer
If you can’t afford to have a dedicated jointer in your wood shop then a you can use a router table as a jointer for edge jointing.
If you find some of your edges are not perfect after cutting with a table saw then using a router to straighten the edge is a great substitute for a jointer.
You’ll need to be able to offset the infeed and the outfeed edges of the fence.
Certain brands such as Rockler make this easy as the outfeed fence can have purpose made shims added in behind it to reat an offset of about 1/16th of an inch.
5. Stopped Cuts
Stopped cuts are any cuts that need to reach only a certain distance in from the edge of your stock.
When using a router table to make these cuts you have the added advantage of having the fence on the table.
Setting the fence up once in the beginning means you can make repeatedly accurate cuts on several pieces.
Doing this by hand can be extremely cumbersome and prone to error.