Q & A: Router Speed Limits
I love my new variable-speed router but I
haven’t a clue about selecting the right speed
for the job. Any tips?
Four factors determine how fast your router
■ The diameter of the bit.
■The rate at which you move the router or the
■ The depth of cut.
■ The type of wood.
For safety’s sake, bit diameter is the most
important. Large-diameter bits must be slowed
down because their tips turn dangerously fast at
a router’s normal speed. Select your router’s
speed using the chart at right. The chart shows
the maximum speed for your router,but to get the
best results, the right speed could be much slower.
Take mortising with a plunge router, for example. You’re using a
small-diameter bit, but your feed rate is usually quite slow. Slowing the
router often makes a mortise with smoother walls.
Experiment on scrap wood to find the best speed for a particular operation.
If the bit is burning the wood or leaving a poor finish, it’s turning
too fast. If the bit is chattering and leaving scallop marks, it’s going too
slow.With a little trial and error you’ll find an ideal speed that leaves a
perfectly smooth finish.