Like the Pros, you can increase your safety, control, and accuracy by using a Router Table in your wood shop.
Professional woodworkers estimate that they do anywhere from 75% to 85% of their routing work on a table. They list several good reasons for this and number one on that list is safety. Router bits spin at very high speeds, up to 24,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). This means they posses tremendous kinetic energy while we use them. Even a slight change in cutting angle can cause a bit to bind with, potentially, disasterous results.
I experienced a dangerous and costly mishap like this when I first started wood working years back. It happened while I tried to ease the edge of a board on my boy's outside playset. I grabbed my router, a rounding bit with a 1/4" shank, and headed outside to do the work. Standing on a somewhat uneven surface, I shifted my weight slightly while routing. That shift caused me to tilt the router a fraction of an inch. It was enough of a tilt to bind the bit into the wood. In a flash, I almost lost my grip on the router, which could have caused me serious injury (luckily, it didn't). My bit gouged the fine edge I had made up to that point, causing me to lose nice piece of wood. And I bent the shank on my new carbide quarter round bit, rendering it uslesss. After that incident, I immediately began a search to buy my first router table on which I could do my work with much greater safety.
Enhance your safety AND gain a slew of addtional benefits with a router table.
In addition to better safety, using a table improves your control and accuracy when routing wood. Control really counts, especially with a large bit. As an example, I cut raised panel doors for all of my kitchen cabinets from read oak. The raised panel bit I used is BIG. With my router table, I easily controlled the amount of material removed with each of the several passes I made. Accuracy, also improves on a table. Again, using my table I cut perfectly matching mirrored profiles on the end of the rails for those raised panel doors. I could never have made those cuts with a hand held router.
The ULTIMATE router table package!!
I kept safety, control, and accuracy in mind as I searched to replace my old, worn out router table. I finally decided on an excellent package from Rockler: the JessEm Router Lift FX with Rockler Router Table, Fence and Accessory Package. What an AWSOME investment that was! First, Rockler did a lot of work for me. They made sure everything fits together and works. I avoided the trouble of returning parts that don't fit (like the plate) and it was a breeze to put it together.
Second, Rockler packed a whole lot of features into this package. In and of itself, the JessEM Router Lift FX is a wonder. It lets me make fine adjustments from above the table with complete ease. The carrige works smoothly and consistently. It never binds up with sawdust and gunk.
The package comes with a 1/4", machined aluminum plate that won't sag. My old table came with a flimsy plate that fatigued quickly. I had to replace it within a year. When I bought that table, I wish I had known the importance of having a plate robust enough to take the stresses involved with router work.
The package also comes with a 4 piece accessory kit and a router switch. I love the switch. It makes turning the router on and off very safe and convenient.
The 32" wide table top and steel frame in this package fit together perfectly. They form a very stable and functional work area that is a pleasure to use. The top uses durable materials such as melamine for the surface and aluminum in the miter slot. It also features a fence I can adjust to minimize the gap between the fence and the bit. This increases safety for me and promotes the accuracy of my cuts.
I highly recommend a visit to the Rockler website. There you'll find excellent router table products. But, you'll also find anything and everything related to woodworking. I love going to Rockler because of their product focus. There I can look at just wood router products because that is one of their specialties. So, when my buddy Carmine wanted a table for his router, I sent him to Rockler. He ended up buying their top selling table for his shop. I made a believer out of him alright!
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