If you check out the best wood routers out there, you’ll know why you must own one. A wood router can help you build another cabinet for your kitchen—because honestly, no one can have too much food in the kitchen. There’s absolutely no such thing.

Whether you’re cutting a dovetail or adding a profile to an edge, the wood router got you covered.

But before you start any project, you should know how to use a router first. Here are the five simple steps:

1: Install the router bit properly.

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You should know that various bits will enable you to make different shapes to the edges of the wood. But regardless of how many router bits you own, if you don’t correctly install them into the collet of your wood router, they’ll be less of help and more of a disappointment. A router bit must be properly installed so it can cut the way you want it to. If you install it incorrectly, it could vibrate while in use and lead to a coarse profile or a mishap.

2: Secure the wood

There are two ways you can secure the material in position. The first one is by using a clamp. This method, however, can be annoying especially for beginners who aren’t used to the clamp. That’s because a clamp can be a hindrance to the wood router. It’s also time-consuming to use for a novice because it needs to be relocated in the middle of a task. The other method uses a router mat which can supply a good non-skid surface. This is a preferred method because you can just place the piece of wood on the mat and you won’t have to reposition it just like what you do with clamps. The only problem you might encounter is the mat may lose its grip at some point. When this happens, however, all you have to do is remove the dust on it by rinsing it with water.

3: Wear the appropriate attire

What’s your uniform? It consists of ear and eye protection, gloves, and sturdy shoes.

4: Go in the correct direction

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Move your router counterclockwise if you’re routing the outside edge of your material, and go clockwise if you’re hollowing out the inside edge. Do it the right way to prevent your router from climb cutting and shifting away from you.

5: Know where to start

If you’re going to hollow out all four edges of a board, start from the end grain. Know that your router bit leaves this part, it may crack the edge next to it. When that happens, don’t fret—you can clean it up once you rout out that edge.

Now that you know how to use a wood router properly, you can start a project! Enjoy routing!