Handheld Router Introduction

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This is the content required for an introduction to our routers (handheld or in a router table) - reading this does NOT replace the mandatory session with a tutor! It will make it a lot quicker though ;-)

Please be aware that the CNC router requires an additional introduction.

First off, make sure you have read the tool's manual.



  • exposed & rapidly spinning router bit
    • will keep spinning for a few seconds after the tool is turned off
  • flying splinters and dust
  • no prevention of turning on after loss & restoration of power (keine Anlaufsicherung)
  • the bit gets extremely hot
    • can potentially set the sawdust on fire
    • remains hot for a while after using
  • the bit can bite into the workpiece and cause kickback if the wrong feed direction is applied


  • wear personal protection but not gloves, they could get caught!
  • hook up a shop vac to extract (most of) the dust at the source
  • stay clear of the bit when in operation (both hands on the handles!)
  • unplug the router when changing a bit or touching the collet for any other reason
  • always keep at least one of the two columns over your workpiece, that way the base should be stable and won't tip over
  • do not let the bit touch the workpiece before it has reached its full speed
  • be prepared for sudden movements of the workpiece and make sure it is properly secured
    • small workpieces (smaller than half the tool's base in width OR length) are not suitable for the router until we build a router table
  • always check whether the tool movement you are planning is possible before turning it on - adjust depth if necessary
  • make sure there is nobody nearby who might be surprised by a piece of shrapnel flying their way!
  • if the power has been lost for whatever reason, make sure the router is turned off before restoring it!

Feed Direction

The standard direction is the "push" cut, i.e. against the direction the bit would pull the router if you let go. In short, you need to move the router counter-clockwise around the outside of a workpiece and clockwise for inside work (holes, recesses). It is probably more clear after watching this video tutorial!

As mentioned in the video as well, there are only a few situations where you might want to try a "climb" cut once you are sufficiently experienced with this tool. When you do attempt climb cuts, be aware that it can cause kickback to the router and the workpiece! Only take shallow passes to maintain control.


The proper combination of rotation speed and tool advancement is determined by your bit and material.

  • be cautions not to remove too much material at a time - several passes are usually necessary if you want to go deep
  • going too slow can cause the wood to burn, going to fast can cause the wood to splinter and even damage the bit


The tutor will show you these steps in detail:

  • inserting a bit
    • unplug the router
    • choose the proper collet that matches the bit's shaft diameter (6 or 8 mm)
    • insert at least 20 mm of the bit's shaft
    • check proper fit and balance before turning the motor on
    • never tighten the collet without a bit inserted!

Suggested Reading

For tips and tricks read the book "Woodworking with the Router" (available at the space). Tips for choosing the proper feed direction can be found on page 37ff.

Router Table

When working on a router table, additional care needs to be taken as the router is turned upside down in a fixed position!

proper feed directions for safe push cuts - click to see an animation!
  • the workpiece can be grabbed and shot across the room if you attempt a climb cut, only do push cuts!
    • only feed from right to left when you work in front of the bit!
    • see schematic for other cases, but make sure you really understand what's going on
  • clamp the router table to a workbench before turning it on
  • keep all body parts at least a hand's width away from the exposed bit (use push blocks if that's not possible)
  • use all possible fences, guards, featherboards etc. to secure the workpiece and reduce exposure of the bit
  • make use of a starting pin (or similar) when working fenceless with a bearing bit tip #6

Waiting List

This introduction takes longer than many others and usually can't be done spontaneously during regular opening times. If you would like to receive it, please add yourself to >> this list << and we will find a good time once a few members are on it!