Is it OK to be slightly afraid of a powerful router? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Default Is it OK to be slightly afraid of a powerful router?

Hi Folks/Experts,
I am very new (6 months) to crude woodworking. I have created some basic working tables/planter boxes for outdoors, but little detail or skill involved yet. I have just purchased a Skil 2 1/.4HP combo router and have never used one before in my life. I am rather afraid to try it as the 2 books I purchased ( Complete Illustrated Guide to Routers by Lonnie Bird & Woodworking with the Router, Revised Edition by Bill Hylton) appear to be in-depth highly complex teaching that may be past my abilities, but have not found more that may be better suited for me yet. I hired a handyman to do some renos at the house and he was kind enough to tech me how to use a chop saw which i immediately purchased for myself afterwards. I understand there are always safety issues which I will always respect fully, but the router is so powerful, I don't want to rip my hand off or lose an eye!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 06:28 PM
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Chris, all power tools require healthy respect. A little common sense like wearing safety glasses, hearing protection and using dust collection protect you from common problems. If you can remember two simple rules you should be fine. Do not put your fingers within 3" of your router bit. The other rule is we ALWAYS unplug our routers when changing bits or making adjustments. We use push sticks and backerboards to help keep our digits in place. Many books make routing seem like a religious ceremony and I guess for some people it is. To me routing is an easy way to work on projects. Spend some time reading the "Sticky threads" at the top of each section of the forums. They are loaded with valuable information.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 07:18 PM
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Hey Chris. Welcome to the forum. What Mike says is true...never lose your healthy respect for ANY piece of machinery. You'll lose your fear after you learn how to use the router but you'll lose some flesh if you ever forget that the machine was designed to cut and it will cut whatever you put into it.....fingers, boards, shirt sleeves, neck ties, whatever.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 08:25 PM
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Hey Chris; welcome!
Well, it's September again. Perfect opportunity to take a nightschool wood shop class, if there are are any offered near you.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 10:47 PM
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A healthy respect is a good thing, bad things happen fast at 20000 rpms

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 11:04 PM
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It is probably natural to be afraid of something with that much weight and power if you don't have much experience with any size router. Do like Mike suggested and keep body parts away from the bit first and foremost. Be prepared when you turn it on for the torque it will produce and make sure that the bit is not going to contact anything accidentally including when you shut it off. When you are ready to rout, ease it into the wood. You'll catch on soon enough.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
The other rule is we ALWAYS unplug our routers when changing bits or making adjustments.
I ziptie the collet spanner onto the plug, means I have to unplug it to use the spanner.
Works for me.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demographic View Post
I ziptie the collet spanner onto the plug, means I have to unplug it to use the spanner.
Works for me.
Plus you can always find the collet spanner! That's a good idea.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 07:05 AM
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For members who speak American English spanner = wrench.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 09:46 AM
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Chris,

Perhaps your posting reveals how you learn best. When someone showed you how to use a tool, you were comfortable; reading a book did not. Go with your strengths. Is there a woodworking club or a Woodcraft Store or a Community College or Adult Education facility in your area. If so, see if they offer a course in basic woodworking or power tool usage.
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