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8 Things You Can Do With a Wood Router

carpenter with hand wood router machine at work

carpenter with hand wood router machine at work

A router is a tool used for cutting, trimming, and shaping wood. It is useful for creating patterns, designs, grooves, edges, and holes for functional and decorative purposes. With hundreds of router bits made for different uses, the possibilities are infinite. It’s no wonder most woodworkers agree that a router is one of the most versatile tools in their arsenal. If you are wondering what you can accomplish with this tool, here are a few common applications.divider 4

1. Making Perfect Edges

Cutting a smooth edge on wood is not easy. But a router will give you a clean cut every time. Whether you are cutting a straight or curved edge, running a router along the wood will guarantee a smooth finish. The fact that you can replicate this success on multiple pieces of wood is the icing on the cake.

2. Sign Making

You can make beautiful signs for your home or business. All you need is a piece of wood and a router. Start by tracing the design on the piece of wood. Then hollow out the letters with a v-groove, round nose, or square router bit. You can also use a more decorative edging bit to round the edges.

3. Making Dovetail Joints

A router is the only tool that can create the three basic dovetail joints: through dovetails, sliding dovetails, and half-bling dovetails. After marking each piece of wood to avoid confusion, load each piece underneath the jig while facing up. Afterwards, attach a template at the base of the router and cut through the template’s crevices.

4. Recessing Door Hinges

A recess is a hollow space cut on the door to fit a hinge. It allows you to install the hinge flush with the door surface for seamless opening and closing. First, clamp the door hinge template on the door and set the router onto the jig. Then, moving in a clockwise motion, start along the perimeter and cut through the template. The bottom of the recess should be perfectly smooth and flat after you’re done.

close up of a wood router
Image By: Fuss Sergey, Shutterstock

5. Recreating Patterns

You can use a router to cut designs and patterns on different pieces of wood. If you have a broken table at home, you can use the router to trace its outline and recreate it as many times as you wish. With a template, you can also trace intricate designs and lettering on any piece of wood.

6. Shaping Molding

Decorative molding is one of the coolest things you can make with a router. By switching bits, you can create any type of molding you like. It could be a simple rounded design, or a more intricate molding like the Roman ogee.

7. Carving Out Rabbets

A rabbet is a groove or recess that you normally find at the sides of a bookcase or the edge of a cabinet. And it is cut at the edge of the wood using a router. Sometimes, it is also used alongside a dado to create a strong joint. You can vary the width of the rabbet by using a variety of bits.

8. Cutting Dadoes

A dado is an invisible trench that supports shelves in a cabinet or bookcase. Cutting one is no easy feat, but you can accomplish the task with a router without breaking a sweat. The two most common types of dadoes are through dado and blind dado. You will need a router with a straight bit to cut both.

male worker using a wood router
Image By: Lamarinx, Shutterstock

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A wood router is an indispensable tool for any serious DIYer. These ideas are just a few of the many useful things you can create with such a tool in your arsenal. But by switching the bits, you can build just about anything. If you have no experience working with a router, you can start with simple tasks and build your skills progressively. Remember to use the right type of wood for each project, and don’t forget to choose the right color.

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Featured Image Credit: stockphoto-graf, Shutterstock


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