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Tool Tips

Don't know which tool is best for your needs? Not sure how to make the most out of your power tools? No problem! Get tool buying tips, tool use and basics and, of course, tool and workshop safety. Begin by selecting a product category below.

Tool Tips

Router BasicsBefore using the router on your workpiece, make a test pass on a scrap piece of wood to insure the bit is set to the proper depth.Start the router with the bit away from the workpiece, then gradually move the router into the material.Pulling the router across the material rather than pushing the tool will provide smoother results.Clamp your project to the work surface or use a router mat to hold the material securely before routing and always wear safety glasses.After extended use in gummy or sticky wood, a router bit can become coated with wood pitch. Pitch buildup causes the bit to drag, which can burn some hard woods. To clean the bit, fill an empty coffee can with enough pitch solvent or de-natured alcohol to cover the bit. Remove the bearings before placing in the coffee can, as solvents can wash out the grease in the bearing and cause premature failure. You MUST place a cover on the container, as solvents are flammable. Soak overnight. Use a soft brush, such as a toothbrush, to get rid of any remaining residue, then wipe clean with a rag.

Router UseRouters are designed to make special profile cuts on the edges or on the surface of wood. By using specific bits, you can mortice a door jam to install a hinge, create joints for making drawers or even create patterns to add decorative details to furniture, moldings or cabinetry. Choose the right routerFor occasional routing projects, a 9 amp fixed base router will do the job. More complex projects are best accomplished with a more powerful 10 or 11 amp model. Another consideration is whether a fixed-base or plunge router would be preferred. (see below)Plunge RouterWhen making a cut in the interior of a piece of wood, plunge action allows the user to position the router bit at the precise point where woodcutting will begin resulting in more cutting accuracy. Variable speedVariable speed means you can adjust the speed of the cut to match the material. Cuts in softwood or cuts with smaller diameter router bits generally work best at higher speeds. In contrast, large cuts with large diameter bits or cuts in hardwood work best at slower speeds so you can avoid burning or chipping the work piece.Router tableA router table increases accuracy when making long, precise cuts along the edge of a piece of wood or for more precise interior cuts. See the Accessory Section for router tables. Fine depth adjustmentThis important feature allows you to cut very precise depths with total accuracy and confidence. It is especially useful when the router is mounted to the underside of a router table.Choose the right bitsRouter bit sets contain a variety of cutting profiles and are an excellent value. See the Accessory Section for Skil router bit sets.

SafetySkil Tools urges you to use your tool safely - even on seemingly small projects. Learn how using the right tool, wearing the right gear and keeping your tools properly maintained could all impact your safety.

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