I'm creating a picture frame out of a piece of 1"x6" Oak. I have a router table, with my face moulding bit inserted. I am guiding the wood in from the right side toward the left side (the direction of feed indicated on the router table).

Unfortunately, the router bit keeps grabbing the wood, and force-pulling it through the bit, causing all kinds of problems (not the least of which is risk of injury, but it's also screwing up the cut). I'm somewhat inexperienced in routing, so I believe this to be a problem with the way I am doing things.

How can I prevent this from happening, so that I can get a clean face cut without endangering myself?

  • 1
    Typically router tables are set up with the router underneath and the bit pointing up, and the bit rotation is counter-clockwise when viewed from above. The fence should be set up so that the work piece is between you and the bit. Is this how you have your setup? If so, right-to-left should be the correct direction, as @Michael Karas says in his answer. If you have some other setup, please describe it. – Hank Feb 11 '13 at 16:47
  • Just wanted to make sure you saw @shirlockhomes comment below that you should never feed wood between the fence and the router bit. That's an important safety tip that shouldn't go unnoticed. – Hank Feb 18 '13 at 17:16
  • @HenryJackson Yes, I saw it. Thanks. So, no matter what, (even if I fed it from the other side), wood should NEVER go between the bit and the fence? Michael Karas seemed to think that doing an inside cut would require this (see comment in accepted answer below). Is this not the case? – jwir3 Feb 20 '13 at 19:08
  • 2
    Michael Karas is correct that the router bit should rotate against the movement of the wood, and so if you're doing an inside cut with the wood on the far side of the blade the direction would be reversed from "normal". But depending on the type of cut you're doing you either want the fence surrounding the bit (as show in Michael's diagram) or you may not need a fence at all, e.g. if you're using a bit with a ball bearing. The purpose of the fence is to provided a stable surface to push the wood against, not to force the wood into the bit. – Hank Feb 20 '13 at 21:03

Router bits have to be carefully checked against the type of cut being created. For the general cut there is a correct feed direction and there is an incorrect direction. For some bits used in a certain way there is no ideal cut direction.

The general principal is that the work piece should be fed into the router bit so that the incoming wood is pushing against the direction of bit rotation. If you feed the wood into the bit in the same direction as the rotation of the bit the cutting edges will most assuredly grab into the wood and try to pull it along.

The picture below shows the concept for the proper direction doing an "outside" cut on the wood piece when looking down from the top of your router table.

enter image description here

If you are trying to do some other type of cut then you should post some pictures so we can make additional suggestions.

  • 2
    +1: Excellent diagram. I believe his set-up may somehow be reversed if the wood is being pulled by the bit. This would be strange since all routers usually turn the same way and bit cutting edges are designed for that. I have never seen a counter rotating router or a table that would allow stock to go on the wrong side of the fence! – shirlock homes Feb 11 '13 at 10:44
  • @shirlockhomes Agreed... I never seen this before either, but now that I know I will look out for it. – maple_shaft Feb 11 '13 at 12:31
  • 2
    There is always the possibility of using a router table to do an "inside cut" where the workpiece may be a frame and trying to route along the inside edges of the frame. In such case the feed direction would have to be the opposite direction because the router bit is on the opposite side of the wood from the fence. Before going too much into this I thought it best for the OP to show a picture of what he is trying to do and the type of workpiece that he has. – Michael Karas Feb 11 '13 at 15:04
  • 1
    Ok,mystery solved. NEVER feed stock between the fence and bit. That is dangerous and can bind and damage your equipment. Use a featherboard to hold the work tight to the fence with the bit centered in the fence. – shirlock homes Feb 11 '13 at 22:47
  • 1
    @jwir3 - I made the diagram using the 2D CAD package called DraftSight. This is a free AutoCad clone that comes from Dassault Systems, the makers of the 3D design package called Solid Works. If you have Autocad experience you can get DraftSight for free after signing up at their web site. Just do a Google search for DraftSight to locate the web page to gain acess this excellent but light weight software clone. – Michael Karas Feb 12 '13 at 1:16

There could be a couple problems here.

One is that the router bit you are using is cheap or dulled from excessive use and isn't making a good cut. The other is that you might be trying to remove too much material from the oak at once.

Oak is a harder wood so if you need to make a deeper cut then you should do it in passes or remove the excess from the corner as much as you can. You should be able to find a more conservative bit that will make the end cut run a lot smoother on the table.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.