Please help me to teach router 101 to the guys at work.

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Forum topic by douginaz posted 04-24-2009 03:09 AM 1473 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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220 posts in 4026 days

04-24-2009 03:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question router milling traditional

Hi All, I have been given the task at work to “train” the guys in the basics of routers. The company has decided that we need to make our own guides and covers. Some UHMW, PVC, and acrylic. I was just wondering if any of you have had to do something similar and what have you used for a primer or handout. I have been charged with making two lessons, one for table routing and one for free hand/pattern work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Doug in AZ.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

12 replies so far

View Eddy's profile


25 posts in 3384 days

#1 posted 04-24-2009 03:29 AM

I am new to it myself. But I know safety is always lesson number 1.

-- Edward

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3839 days

#2 posted 04-24-2009 03:00 PM

The only primer I’ve ever had was my own experience…I just disgorge what I know bit by bit…giving a job at a time that only encompasses certain aspects of routing. Increasing the difficulty with each job.

Rule #1: stay away from the sharp end.

(Of course they want you to teach the hard tool…..not something simple like a peice of sandpaper or something.)

My advice is to go route something…taking note of your every move. Write it down. Rearrange the list in order of complexity and importance (read that as “danger”.) Divide it into two parts. Pick an example job to give out that will use each part.

Then run away before they hurt you.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3550 days

#3 posted 04-24-2009 04:04 PM

Catspaw has some great ideas especialy about the running part. Also there numorus videos and dvd’s available and books but the dvd’s are action packed and your students can see what is going on and why. With your unknown employer I would suggest to him to start a library of dvd’s and not just on routers. Remember that after your instruction there will be more questions and each student will preceive what is taught differently so by using dvd’s they can be watched over and over as a refresher.(Make sure you have that first aid kit available, saftey googles, respirator, hearing protection and…)

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3737 days

#4 posted 04-24-2009 04:42 PM

Besides saftey I would think that lesson #1 would teach t’the router (in its various forms) since that is common to both hand and table routing. Then go to table routing since this is simpilier than hand routing but teaches the essentials. have plenty of various items that can be handeled such as routers, bits, accessories and tools. If you use a handout, make certain that you include definiations of words, names etcerta, that may be foriegn to non users. I guess that if you put all of these posting together you will have all that you need . I hope that your Co. dosent think that this is a subject that you can cover in 15-30 minutes. I would guess that any thing less than 2 hrs per lesson could lead to accidents, which would then lead to claims, paper work, and temory or perminate disabilty. good luck

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3672 days

#5 posted 04-24-2009 05:17 PM

I’ll second rtb… this subject and this tool is so versatile that being able to “cover” it’s operations and capabilities in 2 lessons is impractical the least.

First lesson I would cover router parts, what they do, how to use them. focus on bit rotation direction, and it’s consequences (routing direction when hand routing/table routing), types of bits, types of routings (edge routing, groove routing, joinery…etc) – pretty much an introduction to router – what it is, what it’s used for – which in the long run helps a lot when you get to actual operation. and SAFETY! (safety gear, safe operations, safety devices etc.)

to be honest, I personally wouldn’t probably go much into operating the router on a ‘first’ lesson at all. (depending on time frame of course)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View mart's profile


190 posts in 3648 days

#6 posted 04-24-2009 07:09 PM


I did a training gig for a couple years for my employer and still get called in occasionally to conduct classes. While the material I teach is as far removed from woodworking as you can get, the fundamentals of training are the same. Safety is first and foremost and would be what I would train on right after your introductions. Video or DVD’s are great aids but I would not depend on them to do your training for you. Your personal experience and stories will bring more to the class than some unknown (to them) person on a video. Start with the basics first; what a router is, how it works, different styles of bits, why and where router is a good choice and where a router might not be the best tool. Move into router set up; installing bits, setting up for cuts, securing material, how different cuts require different set up, using guides, using pattern bits, etc.

I agree with Purplev that if time permits conduct the class in multiple sessions. The students will retain more and it will be safer.

Moving on from the basics I would go into the table and it’s uses. Demonstrate the set up and explain some of the many operations that can be done on a router table and do some cuts yourself to demonstrate.

I would, time permitting save an actual hands on student router use class for last (hopefully the next day when they are fresh and haven’t been sitting in class all day or after lunch when they have had a chance to unwind a little from the morning class), and would start of with a short refresher of the first class and then a strong safety refresher just prior to their getting their hands on any equipment. Take it slow with the hands on stuff, maybe one or two at a time whatever you feel you can watch comfortably and safely. Take plenty of breaks. I always break my classes 30-40 minutes after lunch due to the after lunch head nod. Seems to be universal in training that about 40 minutes after lunch the eyes get heavy and the heads start nodding (maybe I am just that boring).

Use lots of personal stories, challenges you have faced, victories, failures, etc. They all add to the depth of the training and make it more real and more retainable to the students. These are my opinions and thoughts for what they are worth. Hope it helps.


View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3550 days

#7 posted 04-24-2009 07:37 PM

In addition to all of the great advice here. Take some time and determine exactly what it is that your “students” will be doing after your class and teach to that point. Use as examples that are as close to what they will be doing as you can get. For example, setting up the machine is important and something that you should cover but if your students will be running a set-up that someone else made you might not want to spend an hour on it.
If you are in need of an actual list of safety rules, check the owners manual there is usually good list.
also take into consideration what your students already know. but never underestimate how little they know or how well they were listening.

View Divotdog's profile


68 posts in 3466 days

#8 posted 04-24-2009 08:16 PM

I am no expert, having less tha a year ww experience, but I can tell you 2 things people learn the hard way. One is safetey and the other is setup. Anyone can be taught how to run a router but they will waste a lot of time in setup. So I am suggetsing you show them some really cool jigs and emphasize having things setup safely ahead of time.

My router was my first real ww power tool and in the beginning I spent so much time setting up I really became discouraged. But now it’s no big deal and I know my capabilities – but I had to learn them!

Good luck,

-- David, Dallas,Tx - golf weather is warming up but it's cool in the shop.

View douginaz's profile


220 posts in 4026 days

#9 posted 05-02-2009 09:44 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I should have been a little more specific on what I need to do. I work for Gatorade. The beverage industry is monitored by A.I.B. or the association of international bakers. Part of their inspections relate to product protection in the form of guards over everything. We have guards over the bottles, the caps, the conveyors and all associated handling equipment. The people I will be giving the lessons to are all Maintenance mechanics. Most are familiar with power tools though more along the metal working genre. The purpose of getting the routers was to cut costs from outside vendors. The AIB inspectors will “ding” you for cracked Plexiglas and we have spent a ton of money replacing these guards. Most of the guys are professional and will have no trouble understanding the router – we have mills and lathes so it’s not much of a stretch. I won’t need to get into grain direction or much related to wood, I just want to cover feed and speed, depth of cut, template basics etc. Safety of course it #1.

I thought for sure I could find a simple how to book or dvd that I could use for a “lesson” and then answer questions – not so – the owners manual is a start but I think I’m actually going to have to write something up – yuk – I am not good at that sort of thing. I guess I’ll come up with something – Lord knows if it will do the job or not :) Wish me luck and thanks for all the great advice.
Doug in AZ.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3788 days

#10 posted 05-02-2009 10:25 PM

Theres alot of info on the web if you want it bad enough.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3757 days

#11 posted 05-02-2009 10:41 PM

You might also take this question to the Router Forum. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of the members there haven’t already done most of your work for you and have a guide, of sorts, already prepared.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#12 posted 05-03-2009 12:07 AM

Hey Doug
Have your company buy a copy of router magic by Charles Neil . Some of its basic and some advanced but what they can’t use may be you can. I think woodcraft sells it or you can buy it off of Charles web site.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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