Feed Direction And Rate

■ Every time I pick up a router, it seems I have to pause to figure out the proper direction of feed — that is, which direction to move the router.

feed direction. It's easy to get confused because direction of feed is often used to describe the direction the workpiece is fed into the machine (such as on a jointer or router table).

However, with a portable hand-held router, the machine is fed into the workpiece.

The rule is: When routing an outside edge, move the router counterclockwise, see Fig. 1.

When routing an inside edge, move the router clockwise.

Unfortunately, the ride is easy to get reversed. So you may want to make a copy of Fig. 1 and keep it tacked up over your bench for future reference.

But even if you do feed the router the wrong direction, you will know right away. Instead of feeling some resistance to the cut, the router will feel like it's being pulled down the board. (This is called "backrouting", more on this later, refer to Fig. 4.)

using fences. Feed direction is also important when a fence or

Woodworking Router Feed Direction
ROUT COUNTERCLOCKWISE ALONG PERIMETERS

routing than just pushing it in the right direction.

ITie more I used the router, the more I realized I had to learn. For example, how do you stop wood from chipping out along the edge of a workpiece or from splintering at the corners?

And how do you set-up a router and fence to accurately position dadoes and grooves?

straightedge is used to guide a router. You want the rotation of the bit to pull the router tight into the fence.

Here I think of the fence as the table top. see Fig. 2. The router is guided as though you will be going counterclockwise around the fence (even if you're only routing along one edge).

BACKROUTING. There's one occasion when you might want to break these rules. To prevent chip-out when using a hand-held router, I often backrout.

As the name implies, back-routing is guiding the router backwards — opposite to what's described above. To understand why this prevents chip-out, you have to look at the router bit as it leaves the workpiece.

As the bit leaves the wood during normal routing operations, it can cause the edge to splinter out, see Fig. 3. The bit causes chips to be pushed ahead of the cutter since the edge isn't supported. When backrouting. chips can't be pushed ahead of the cutter as it leaves the work-

As I was routing the edge of a workpiece, 1 found it difficult to balance the router base without having it tip. So 1 had to come up with a way of stabilizing the router when routing an edge.

The solution to most of these problems depends on learning how to team up with the router — so you're working with it, not against it.

piece—they've already been removed, see Fig. 4.

If it's so great, why don't you backrout all the time? The problem with backrouting is the router bit won't pu 11 itself into the wood — it will tend to bounce along the edge and be difficult to control. So whenever backrouting, take light passes, keep a firm grip on the router, and then take a finish cut in the normal direction to clean up the edge.

Safety Note: Don't backrout on a router table — only with a hand-held router.

feed rate. After identifying feed direction, the next step is to determine feed rate. Ideally, move the router smoothly without excessive pressure.

I use the sound of the router as a guide for feed rate. If I hear a high pitched whine I know I'm feeding it too slow. And if it starts to labor, I'm feeding it too fast. (Since most routers rotate at 23.000 RPM, it's pretty hard to feed a router too fast — unless you're making a deep cut or using a large bit.)

PLACE GAUGE OVER BIT AND MARK EDGE OF ROUTER BASE

TAPE BLOCK TO ROUTER WITH CARPET TAPE

NOTE:

CUT OR PLANE SUPPORT BLOCK LEVEL WITH

MARK FENCE SIDE OF GAUGE

CUT ' V-DEEP CENTERED SLOT

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