Is a Router Necessary in Woodworking?

Have you ever used a router before? A router is a machine used in woodworking and possibly one of the most versatile ones as well. This tool hollows out a particular area of wood, plastic or metal creating a perfect, smooth finish. But these are not just the only things that a router can do. Thanks to a variety of router bits and attachments, this tool can create different shapes, curved edges, beveled frames, raised panels, profile edges, trim wood, drill holes, cut joints and so much more. A router is a powerful and versatile tool however not all woodworkers and hobbyists have used this piece of equipment. But without a doubt, a router makes cutting, shaping, and finishing jobs easier

A router makes woodworking tasks easier. Although a basic saw, chisel, and hammer could also cut, shape and finish projects, a router can do different projects faster and more accurately. With a router, a woodworker can finish more work in a day with utmost precision.

A router outperforms other woodworking equipment and tools. The following tasks can be accomplished by a router which could take hours when done by hand. There is little to no wastage of materials, and the worker’s effort is also conserved for other projects.

1) Construct beveled frames and raised panels

Classic beveled frames are easy to make with a router. Simply pick the rail and stile bits as well as raised –panel bits that you need for your beveled frame project and give it a go. Beveled wooden frames are usually composed of precisely milled parts that are glued together. It is impossible to come up with precise cuts if you do not have a router. Here is a good video to show you how a router is used to create beveled edges.

2) Create rounded/curved edges

Tables, nightstands, and cabinets with rounded edges look seamless and perfect. And although this could be accomplished by a saw, chisel, and hammer, followed by rigorous sanding, it could take hours to do. A router can do this in just minutes with the use of a special attachment that cuts perfect edges every time. All you need to do is set the depth of the bit, and you are all set. An example of a router attachment that can create rounded edges is the Dremel 615 1/8“ Piloted Corner Rounding Routing Bit. You may also watch this video about creating a beveled edge using a router to get a clear idea.

3) Trim and finish wood

Sanding and finishing usually take a lot of time especially when you are using a material on uneven surfaces and when you are finishing a large area. You can finish and trim wood in just a fraction of the time that it takes with manual sanding when you use a router. A router will cut and finish wood fast, it will cut plastic material in just a few seconds, and it can cut, finish and buff metal faster than ever. Simply use the correct attachment or bit and your router will be ready to trim, cut, finish, etc. with just a few passes. A few good attachments for finishing are the 3M Sandblaster 9681 4-1/2-inch Coarse Clean-N-Strip Disc and the DEWALT DW4910 3-inch x 5/8 inch- 11 Knotted Cup Brush Carbon Steel.

4) Create decorative wooden flutings

Routers allow woodworkers to show off their artistic side. With the use of the correct attachment, you can pretty much cut any kind of shape including wooden flutings, grooves, letters, and figures. A router can do this half the time and most accurately but make sure that you do a test run first to get the best results. Even the most professional and experienced woodworker needs to practice several times before he could get a perfect piece.

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5) Cut joints and grooves

A myriad of joints can be created out of a router. Rabbets, mortises, and dovetails are just three of the most common joints that can be precisely cut by a router. An intricate finger joint can be done with the use of a finger joint router attachment just like the Rockler Woodworking and Hardware Finger Joint Router Bit. As with creating different shapes using a router, you must start with a template and a test piece to make sure that you get a precise cut. Use spare wood and create and recreate your shape or figure over and over again till you get it right.

6) Remove old paint

Routers rotate multiple times a second, and this is so powerful that it can remove dirt and even paint. Instead of scouring the area with sandpaper or using smelly and toxic paint strippers and paint removers, a router does the job easily and faster. This is very useful if you are creating furniture or making home repairs using salvaged old wood. Simply use a large grit sander disc attachment, and you are ready to remove years upon years of old paint with a router.

A few good sanding discs attachments for a standard router is easy to attach to a router or a drill end like the 3M Contour Surface Paint and Varnish Remover and the 3M 03171 4" Paint and Rust Stripper.

7) Other tasks that a router can perform

Aside from the mentioned tasks, a router is so powerful that it can remove the old nail and screw heads, buff and shine metal for showroom perfection, remove uneven edges especially during finishing and grind or sharpen tools. A router can be handheld or may be positioned in such a way that it works like a rotating tool for handheld finishing. It could take a long time for a woodworker to get used to a noisy, heavy and vibrating router but all in all, its very satisfying to make projects on your own especially when you got a router to use.


A Router is a handy and versatile woodworking tool to have around. It can do woodworking, carpentry and DIY tasks faster and more efficiently. a router is simply a motor with a rotating head. It needs a specific attachment to perform different tasks, and therefore you should learn about each attachment before you shop. A router is important in woodworking even if the tasks that it does can be accomplished with the use of basic tools. It will perform well despite the work demands and will produce consistent results no matter what. A woodworker who uses a router will have more time for other tasks at hand and will get things done fast.

If you are planning to use a router or to purchase a router, take the time to review the different routers available and to learn more about the different router attachments compatible for each one. Get to know your router, and through this, you will surely be able to come up with amazing projects each time.

  • June 1, 2017
  • DIY

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