4 Woodworking Router Safety Tips
A woodworking router is the best portable tool to use to get a perfectly shaped edge in a short amount of time. A wood shaper is the best large scale tool to use for decorative molding, but a router is handheld and easily transportable. Not only that, but it can be equipped with different size bits which shape the edges of wood surfaces in numerous ways. Safety, as with all power tools, is of paramount importance. With a woodworking router you are dealing a sharp, cylindrical blade that is rotating very fast. Patience, a steady hand, confidence with the tool and basic safety considerations are required when using the tool. Things to be aware of include the speed at which you are making the cuts, the security of the wood surface, the depth of the cut and the state of the blade.
As with all power tools, you should take your time when using a wood router. Don’t be in a hurry to get through the job. You increase the chances of splitting or gouging the wood on which you are working. If you’re not careful, you can seriously injure yourself in the process. Routers operate at very high RPMs. If, for instance, a long blade is attached, using one without the proper guides, patience and precaution can be downright frightening. It is always best to take your time when making a cut and to shape wood little by little.
The speed at which you make cuts with your router is another safety consideration. An average size router bit is 3/4 inches. There are bits, however, that extend 2 1/2 inches below the plate. With the power at which they operate, that is extremely large. Whatever length of bit you are using to shape wood, don’t try to take off all of the wood with one pass. Start with a smaller bit and make a pass. It won’t be what you want, but as you work your way up to it, the router will ultimately shape the wood to your satisfaction.
Clamp the Wood
Whenever you are making a cut into wood, make sure the wood is securely clamped to a work bench or other stable surface. Never try to operate a router on wood that is not secure. Sometimes it helps to clamp a second piece of wood at the same thickness 1 to 2 inches away from the surface to be cut. Doing that will support the other end of the router plate and help you make an even cut.
Before you begin making cuts with the router, make sure that the blade is very sharp and in no way chipped, dinged or burred. At best you will have to work longer. At worst it could damage the surface of the wood you are cutting.
When using a woodworking router, don’t ever "cut corners" and try to speed through the job or skip some very practical safety considerations. It is a high RPM tool that should not be used without the proper safety measures in place. Always wear safety glasses when operating a woodworking router, and most importantly, always take your time to do the job right.