How to Use a Router Table [The Safe and Easy Way]

Using a router to create a seamless or decorative edge on your wood piece, can be made even easier if you use a router table. Router tables allow you to cut a smooth and seamless profile to your wood project without having to manually operate the router saw. You may be wondering how to use a router table and if it really will work for your wood project. We have the answers here and will walk you through everything you need to know about router tables.

How to Use a Router Table

Step 1: Gather Everything You Need

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​Before you start using your router table, you need to take a moment and make sure you have everything you need to use your router table effectively. We’ve listed everything you required to get started, so there is no delay in the use and operation of your router table.

  • Router
  • ​Table
  • ​Extension cord
  • ​Power supply
  • ​Router bits
  • ​Wood pieces
  • ​Tools for router attachment

Step 2: Attach Your Router

​To begin using your router, you need to start with a table that is designed for its use. These tables have a dropped down surface area that allows you to use the extended router blade. You need to attach your router blade onto the underneath of the table as securely as possible, so the blade goes above the table top. Here, you will be able to move your wood ​project piece easily through the router without any issues.

You will also need to have a power supply to plug your router in. It may be necessary to use an extension cord as you want to keep all the working parts of your router table under the tabletop itself.

router bits for wood working how to use a router table

Step 3: Use the Right Bit

​To set your router saw up for operation, you need to select a router bit that will work best for the material you are creating your decorative edge for. Router blades come in a variety of styles and cut dimensions, to allow you to create refined edge pieces. Attach your blade to the router and make sure it is snuggly fit, so you don’t have to worry about coming unattached as you work.

The router bit that you select will help to create the exact profile that you are looking for on your wood piece. Using a carbide-tipped bit will provide you a durable cutting edge that will allow you to sharpen the blade as you need to, giving you long-lasting wear.

Step 4: Keep Safety in Mind

​Because your router table has a cutting edge that extends above the table top, it can be easy to cut your fingers or hands if you are not careful. Be sure to keep your hands free of the blade surface as you move the wood through the router bit.

You will also want to wear safety glasses and a good dust mask as you work. This will provide two levels of protection for your eyes and lungs. It will allow you to keep sawdust particles from penetrating your eyes and also protect your eyes if there is kickback from the wood piece as you cut. It is also a good idea to keep loose fitting clothes secured as they can get wrapped up in the bit.

Step 5: Pick the Right Piece of Wood

​Before you start to create your decorative edge, you want to make sure you pick the right piece of wood. Using a piece of wood that has knots on the surface edge can cause it to splitter, and create a void in the piece of wood once the router bit has cut into it.

You need a piece of wood that is knot-free and is straight, so you are able to have a clean surface area that can be cut without issue. A smooth, undamaged wood piece will provide you the cleanest cut possible when using your router table.

​Step 6: Use the Jams and Feather Pieces

As you begin to create the decorative surface of your wood piece with your router bit, you first need to place the wood piece on your tabletop. There should be a fence built into your router table that will allow you to move the wood through the router blade without having to expose your hands to the bit.

Take advantage of the jams and feather pieces to properly secure your blade to the router table. This will eliminate any unnecessary movement of the wood piece as your cut and allow you to seamlessly move the material through the router bit.

how to use a router table for woodworking projects and needs

Step 7: Move the Wood Right to Left

​You are finally ready to make the decorative cut. You want to move your wood from right to left as your work. This is the direction that the router bit spins and will create a perfect and clean cut.

Keep in mind that the right to left operation is opposite of how you would traditionally use a router to cut a profiled edge, but you need to remember that the router has been turned upside down requiring it to move the opposite direction.

As you move the wood piece through the router, it may take several passes to get the exact decorative edge you are looking for. Keep the wood steady and allow the bit to do the work. Do not force the wood through the router bit. Be sure to use your fence to guide the wood piece and keep it straight.

Using your router table will also provide you a straighter and more accurate cut edge. Using a router saw manually can produce uneven edges as you will only be as accurate as your hands will allow. A router table gives you more control as you cut and will make sure you have a profiled edge that looks professional and without any variation or interruption in the cut.


​Learning how to use a router table, will make your woodworking projects easier and more convenient. You’ll save time and have the accuracy you are looking for in all your decorative edge projects without having to manually operate the router saw. A router table is a good investment for your workshop and all your woodworking projects.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.