Inverting a router in a router table changes
the feed direction
from handheld routing.
For inside cutouts,
feed the workpiece
Feed Direction For Router Tables
Working on a router table means flipping the router upside down- and this reverses
the bit’s spin direction. So, feed direction reverses also. On a router table, bits spin counterclockwise. For routing the outside edges of a work- piece then, you’ll
feed the wood from the left side of the table to the right side. Doing this forces
the bit to push the wood back against you. When the router fence is attached,
the router bit will also press the wood against the fence. You want to maintain
this resistance against the bit to keep the cut under control. The resistance
you feel from the bit also helps you determine the right amount of force to apply
and how fast you can move the wood past the bit to create a clean cut.
When working around the inside edges of a cutout on a router table, feed the
workpiece counterclockwise, against the bit’s rotation. Again, you should feel an even amount of resistance from the forces created by pressing the wood against the bit’s
cutting edges and direction of spin.
Working against the bit’s rotation, as outlined above, is always the safest and recommended approach to use, regardless of the routing situation. Sometimes, however, the wood you’re routing will have uneven or difficult grain that doesn’t rout smoothly. Working against the bit’s rotation will cause the bit to tear out fibers in the wood; that leaves a rough and unacceptable surface. When this happens, one option to improve the routed surface is to set the router for a slightly deeper pass and move the router with the bit’s rotation instead of against it. This practice is called climb cutting, because feeding with the bit’s
rotation will make the router want to climb out of the cut instead of digging
into it. Instead of feeling the effect of resistance against the bit, the router
will want to grab the wood and pull away from you when climb cutting. So, the
router is harder to control and less predictable.
Climb cutting is a somewhat controversial technique for routing. It must be done cautiously, with workpieces safely clamped in place or with the router anchored in a router table. For more on how to make a climb cut, see Chapters Six and Seven.
This article is excerpted from "The Complete New Router book for Woodworkers". ©2006
Handyman Club of America.
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