Attention Fellow Woodworkers: This site contains affiliate links. If you click one of those links and then make a purchase we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

What Is A Woodworking Router Used For + 7 Techniques for Badass Creations

What is a Woodworking Router Used For

If you’ve ever wondered, “What Is A Woodworking Router Used For?”, then welcome to the club. You may not be familiar with woodworking routers, but these versatile tools are a must-have for any woodworking enthusiast. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced craftsman, a woodworking router can take your projects to the next level. From creating intricate designs and decorative edges to shaping, smoothing, and joining pieces of wood, the possibilities are endless. In this article, we will explore the various ways you can use a woodworking router to enhance your woodworking skills and unleash your creativity. So, get ready to embark on a journey into the world of woodworking routers and discover the endless possibilities they offer!

What is a Woodworking Router Used For?

A woodworking router is a versatile power tool that is used in woodworking for a variety of purposes. It is an essential tool for both professional woodworkers and hobbyists alike. The main goal of a woodworking router is to hollow out an area in a piece of wood, but it can also be used for creating decorative edges, joinery, flattening and smoothing surfaces, cutting rabbets and dadoes, making dovetail joints, carving and engraving, and template routing. Let’s explore each of these applications in more detail.

Basic Definition of a Woodworking Router

A woodworking router is a handheld or mounted power tool that is used to hollow out an area in a piece of wood. It consists of a motor that drives a spinning router bit, which is the cutting tool. The router bit can be changed to achieve different cuts and shapes. The router is typically guided by the woodworker, either by hand or using a guide system or template. It is a precise and versatile tool that allows woodworkers to create intricate designs and shapes in wood.

Types of Woodworking Routers

There are two main types of woodworking routers: handheld routers and stationary routers. Handheld routers are the most common type and are held and guided by the woodworker during use. They offer flexibility and portability, making them ideal for a wide range of woodworking tasks. Stationary routers, on the other hand, are typically mounted to a table or workbench. They offer stability and precision, making them perfect for tasks that require accuracy and repeatability.

Routing Techniques

Routing techniques refer to the different methods and approaches used when using a woodworking router. These techniques can vary depending on the desired outcome and the type of project being worked on. Some common routing techniques include edge routing, plunge routing, and dado routing.

Edge routing involves using the router to create decorative edges on a piece of wood. It is commonly used for creating decorative trim, molding, and edging profiles. Plunge routing, on the other hand, involves plunging the router bit into the wood to create holes or cutouts. This technique is often used for making mortises, inlay work, and creating intricate designs. Dado routing is the process of cutting a groove or slot in a piece of wood to fit another piece of wood. It is commonly used for creating joints and connections in woodworking projects.

Creating Decorative Edges

One of the primary uses of a woodworking router is creating decorative edges on pieces of wood. By using specific router bits and techniques, woodworkers can add beautiful and intricate designs to their projects. From classic ogee profiles to simple roundovers, the possibilities are endless. Decorative edges not only enhance the visual appeal of furniture, cabinets, and other woodworking projects but also provide additional detailing and craftsmanship.


Another important use of a woodworking router is for joinery. Joinery refers to the process of connecting two or more pieces of wood together to create a sturdy and durable structure. Routers are commonly used to create various types of joints, such as dovetail joints, box joints, and mortise and tenon joints. These joints provide strength and stability to woodworking projects, ensuring that they withstand the test of time.


What is a Woodworking Router Used For


Flattening and Smoothing Surfaces

A woodworking router can also be used to flatten and smooth surfaces. By using a router sled or jig, woodworkers can remove unevenness, imperfections, and thickness variations from large pieces of wood. This technique is often used when working with slabs, tabletops, or other large wooden surfaces. Flattening and smoothing surfaces not only improves the appearance of the wood but also ensures a more even and stable work surface for further woodworking operations.

Cutting Rabbets and Dadoes

Rabbets and dadoes are two types of grooves or channels cut into wood to accommodate other pieces of wood or materials. A woodworking router is an excellent tool for creating precise rabbets and dadoes. By adjusting the depth and width of the router cut, woodworkers can create grooves for things like panel inserts, cabinet backs, drawer bottoms, or shelf supports. Routers equipped with a guide fence or edge guide are commonly used to achieve straight and accurate rabbets and dadoes.

Making Dovetail Joints

Dovetail joints are widely used in woodworking for creating strong and decorative connections between two pieces of wood. A woodworking router, combined with a dovetail jig or template, can make the process of creating dovetail joints both easier and more precise. Dovetail joints are often seen in drawers, cabinets, and furniture, as they provide exceptional strength and resistance against pulling forces. They are also visually appealing and add a touch of craftsmanship to any project.

Carving and Engraving

Wood carving and engraving are forms of woodworking that involve cutting, shaping, and decorating wood to create intricate designs and patterns. A woodworking router is a valuable tool for both carving and engraving. With the right router bits and techniques, woodworkers can achieve detailed carvings and engravings in a fraction of the time compared to traditional hand tools. From decorative motifs to personalized signs, a router opens up a world of creative possibilities.

Template Routing

Template routing is a technique where a router is guided by a template to achieve consistent and precise cuts. Templates can be made from various materials, such as wood, plastic, or metal, and can be custom-made or purchased. This technique is commonly used for creating multiple identical shapes, such as duplicate parts for furniture or cabinet making. Template routing allows woodworkers to achieve complex shapes and patterns with ease, ensuring accuracy and repeatability throughout the project.

In conclusion, a woodworking router is a versatile and indispensable tool for any woodworker. From creating decorative edges and joinery to flattening surfaces and carving, a router enables woodworkers to unleash their creativity and achieve professional-level results. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a hobbyist just starting, investing in a quality woodworking router will undoubtedly enhance your woodworking projects and open up a world of possibilities. So, grab your router and let your imagination guide you to create beautiful and functional pieces of woodworking art.

If you enjoyed this article, please share with your audience!


The Art of Woodworking

Get your FREE 440-page Woodworking Guide. Includes 40 Step-by-Step Plans in Full Color.

The Art of Woodworking Book

We value your privacy and we’ll never spam you.

The Art of Woodworking

Get your FREE 440-page Woodworking Guide. Includes 40 Step-by-Step Plans in Full Color. The “Art of Woodworking” guide is a jam-packed, no fluff guide to all things woodworking! And to top it off you’ll also get fully detailed step-by-step plans to many different projects!
The Art of Woodworking Book

Download your copy of this FREE guide

We value your privacy and we’ll never spam you.