Articles, Wood Routers Comments Off on Professional Woodworking Routers Guide for Expert DIY Masters! |

Professional Woodworking Routers Guide for Expert DIY Masters!

One of the amazing things about working with wood is that there are so many tools available. Every single time you shop online or walk into a hardware store, you want to get the next tool.

And while this is exciting on the one hand, it can become very overwhelming on the other hand. You may question what tools you need and what tools you can do without.

If you speak to any professional woodworker, they will tell you that woodworking routers one of those tools that you cannot do without. They are essential if you are going to take of those amazing ideas in your head and bring them to life.

Do I Really Need a Wood Router?

Best Wood Router

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Yes. Every single woodworker will benefit from having routers for woodworking in their arsenal. Without a wood router, relatively simple tasks become complicated. The only woodworker who would not want to seriously consider purchasing a router might to be a framer.

Without a router, you will have to use a mallet and a chisel to make certain cuts. And that just leaves you with work that looks sloppy, that is not precise, and that will not fit together well. If you try to work without a router and you compare your work to someone who has a router, you will immediately see the difference.

Individuals who work on cabinets will especially benefit from having a wood router. Just think of all the things you have to do as you build a cabinet. First, you construct the cabinets. Then you cut the wood for the frames. Next, you are doing the paneling, creating a decoration for the front of the cabinets, and cutting other materials to make a perfect fit. All of these steps are made so much easier with a Porter cable trim router.

What about joinery? A lot of people get into carpentry because they want to learn about things like dovetails. And it is true, dovetailing was done for centuries without a router. However, a router can make a lot of the tasks involved in dovetailing wood easy. It minimizes broken pieces and wasted material.

At the end of the day, you cannot achieve the same level of precision and speed without a wood router.

Whether you are doing something that is intricate, like putting together an instrument, or doing something that is more construction, like making uniquely designed door panels, having a wood router is a must.

In this day and age, working on wood without a router could be compared to an accountant doing his or her work without a calculator or a computer. It is just that basic of a tool.

Finding the Right Router

the right router

Courtesy of Danny Ayers

Of course, not all routers are created equal. There are so many options available, so picking a router in and of itself can become overwhelming. The trick is not allowing yourself to get caught up in the details. What you want to do is look for the best routers for the money.

Some routers offer different features that most people will not need. What you want to focus on is the size of the router, the power of the motor, whether it has a slow start feature, how many RPM’s it has, and if it allows you to vary the speed.

The last feature, variable speed, is exceptionally important. If you purchase a router that only has one speed option, then you are not going to be able to use it on certain types of wood. If the RPM’s on your router are too fast, you might actually burn your wood. Or if the RPM’s are too slow, the job is going to take a lot longer, and you’re going to end up with a less than stellar product.

What Brand Should I Trust?

Right Router Brand

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There are a lot of brands of routers on the market. When it comes to a router, you usually do not want to go with a generic brand. You want to focus on brands that have name recognition and a good reputation.

So what are the best router brands? For the money we say Bosch and DeWalt.

DeWalt is known for making devices that are good for construction and do-it-yourself use. While not as powerful as Bosch, their products usually have some amazing features.

Bosch, on the other hand, produces a very powerful tool. They often have unique grips, which can be a little bit difficult to get used to. However, if you are looking for a high quality and powerful tool, then this is the way to go.

Should I Purchase a Router Table?

Getting a router table

Courtesy of Andrew Whitacre

Getting a router table is a personal decision. A lot of it has to do with the type of work you are going to do. If you want to do a lot of heavy work, or if you think you are going to be doing a lot of precision work, then a router table is a good option.

A router table provides precision because it allows you to do some very precise cuts while at the same time using a fence. You simply move the fence to where you need it to be, turn on your router, and push the wood through it. Once you have your router in the right position, and once you have the fence in the right position, you are going to have some impressive results.

router table

Courtesy of Doug Coldwell

When you go to a hardware store and you look at a router table, it’s likely that you are going to say to yourself: “I can make one of these on my own.” And the truth is that you probably can. However, the risks to yourself and to your projects are great.Remember, a router is a very powerful tool, especially if you’re dealing with a larger one that has a 3.25 hp motor. If your table is not well designed and it wobbles or becomes unstable, it could lead to you coming into contact with the router. The result of this momentary contact could leave you with permanent injuries.

If you are serious about working with wood, investing in a router table is something you will not regret.


Working with wood is a joy. It allows you to create functional and artistic pieces. Adding a router and possibly a router table to your arsenal are decisions that you will not regret. Once you have one or two of these essential tools, you’re going to find yourself enjoying your woodworking a lot more, and you will produce better results.

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Articles Comments Off on Working With Wood Defects in Lumber – All Types of Wood Defects |

Working With Wood Defects in Lumber – All Types of Wood Defects

Nothing in nature is ever perfect. There are always minor or major defects. A good example of this is trees. Even the most beautiful tree has some defects or abnormalities found in its wood.

There are multiple factors that contribute to wood developing abnormalities. Some are the result of natural defects from things like a broken limb or rapid tree growth. Abnormalities could also result from insect infestation or the growth of fungus.

Examples of Natural Wood Defects

Natural Wood DefectsWood grows and shrinks depending on the amount of humidity in the air. And this rapid growth and shrinking can cause abnormalities to occur in the wood.

Man-made factors, including mechanical defects, improper drying, improper handling and storage, or improper sawing and machining, can cause abnormalities or defects to appear in the wood that you use for your projects.

Whether the abnormality or defect is caused by nature or whether it is caused because of human error, when a piece of wood is severely damaged, it can reduce its economic value and put its structural integrity at risk. In some cases, abnormalities can speed up the rate at which your wood decays.

Let’s take a few minutes and look at some of the factors that contribute to abnormalities in wood as well as the types of wood defects they create.

Nature takes a toll on trees and will lead to natural defects in timber. If you have worked with wood for any length of time, it is likely that you are quite familiar with some of these defects. Common examples of defects include:

Bark Pockets

Natural Wood Defects

Courtesy of designmilk

These form when a piece of the bark protrudes into the lumber. This is not just an aesthetic defect, but it is something that affects the structural integrity of the wood.

Bird Pecks

Woodpeckers are notorious for drilling holes into trees. They do this attempting to scare insects that live in the trees out of hiding in order to eat them. By pecking the trees, birds cause minor injuries, and these injuries affect the appearance of the grain of the tree.


Burls are growths that form on a tree when it is injured early in its life. Because of the trauma the tree suffers early on, it develops irregular growths on the body of the timber. As the tree grows, so does the growth. The pattern of the wood growth is unique, and it is prized by furniture makers looking to create something that highlights different types of wood grain.

Coarse Grain

If a tree grows too fast, the rings that it develops every year are thick. The wood will then have coarse grain and not be as strong.

Fungal Damage

Fungal Damage

Courtesy of Erik Maldre

When a tree is affected by fungus, the wood is weak, and it is a different color than what is normal for a tree of said species. Examples of fungal damage include:

  • Blue Stain
  • Brown Rot
  • Dry Rot
  • Heart Rot
  • Wet Rot
  • White Rot


There are numerous insects that eat wood. Other insects will use the bark wood as a place to raise their young. Some insects only cause minor damage, but others can completely destroy a tree. Common insects that negatively affect wood include:

  • Wood Boring Beetles
  • Pin-hole Borers
  • Termites



Courtesy of crumpart

Knots happen in wood when the base of a branch or a limb is broken off or cut off from a tree. The part of the branch that still remains gets nourishment from the tree and eventually turns into the hard dark rings that are called knots. Knots are a source of weakness and usually render the wood unsound.

Examples of knots include:

  • Sound Knots
  • Unsound or Loose Knots
  • Encased Knots
  • Spike Knots
  • Knot Holes

The above is just a sampling of the defects in lumber caused by nature. Other wood defects caused by nature include:

  • Raised Grain
  • Shakes
  • Splits
  • Stains
  • Spalting
  • Twisted Fibers

Wood Defects Caused by Conversion

When we talk about conversion, what we are talking about is taking a tree and cutting it into wood that you can use for your furniture or construction projects. Some of the defects that occur during this process include:


Courtesy of Pictoscribe

Chip Marks

Chip marks happen when there is a depression or indention in the surface of the board. This happens because wood shavings or chips become embedded in the surface during the cutting process or when you are using a planer or a joiner.

Torn Grain

This is an irregularity that is seen on the surface of the board. It is usually caused by a planer tearing or breaking the fibers below the level of the dressed surface.

Machine Burn

As its name implies, this happens when the surface of the wood is dark because the machine knives overheated the wood.

Wood Defects As a Result of Seasoning

When we talk about seasoning, we are talking about drying wood. This can be done in the open air, or you may use a kiln. These defects include:

BowingWood Defects

This is when a curve is formed in the wood in the direction of the length of the timber. It can give an appearance as if the piece of wood is traveling over a hump or over a hill.


This happens when the board is flat, but the ends pull away from the center. This is another example of a board warping.


This is where the board curves along its length. Its appearance is similar to that of a propeller.

How to Deal with Defects in Your Wood

Deal with Defects in Your Wood

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It can be a challenge dealing with defects in your wood. For this reason, the majority of people choose to stay away from defective wood.

However, there is a small niche of people who enjoy working with wood that is defective because certain defects can actually improve the appearance of your finished product. These individuals believe that the defects add character to the wood. And when you look at some of the products these individuals have produced, they are really quite beautiful.

Some woodworkers will buy a lower grade wood simply because it is less expensive. They do not mind taking the time to correct any wood defects. They are content using a planer, waning sticks, and the whole host of other tools available to take an imperfect piece of wood and turn it into something that is beautiful and usable.

Since a lot of the defects in lumber happen during the drying process, some woodworkers have opted to purchase green wood and then dry it themselves.

Woodworking is an enjoyable hobby. For many, it is a profitable way to earn a living. Choosing the right wood for your project is important since it will affect the stability of your project as well as its final appearance.

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