5 Exciting Projects You Can Do with a Router

A DIYer using a router on a piece of lumber in a workshop.
What You'll Need
Router table
Safety gear
What You'll Need
Router table
Safety gear

If you love getting your hands dirty and enjoy creating something from scratch, you'll be thrilled to discover the endless possibilities that a router can bring to your DIY projects. Whether you're an experienced craftsman or just starting your creative journey, adding a router to your toolkit will open up a whole new world of craftsmanship.

A router is not simply another tool; it is a powerful and versatile device that can effortlessly hollow out wood, metal, or plastic areas with precision and finesse. Its ability to cut intricate edges and patterns makes it an indispensable tool for any woodworking enthusiast.

From crafting decorative moldings to designing unique cabinetry pieces, the opportunities are limitless when utilizing this remarkable power tool.

In this blog post dedicated entirely to exploring five exciting DIY projects using a router, we will explore innovative ways this tool can elevate your craftsmanship skills. Each project offers its unique challenge while providing ample room for personalization and creativity.

One intriguing project we will explore explores how routers can transform simple wooden blocks into stunning works of art by meticulously carving out intricate designs onto their surfaces.

Crafters can unleash their imagination onto these wooden canvases by harnessing the precise control of routers' various bits and attachments, resulting in awe-inspiring creations that will turn heads.

Router Functions

Before we dive into the projects, let's briefly explain what a router is and its versatility as a woodworking tool. A router consists of an electric motor-driven spindle and can be transformed into a versatile tool using different router bits.

With hundreds of routers available, many woodworkers consider the router the most versatile woodworking. Two basic types of routers are available: fixed base and plunge base. Owning both types will give more variety to your projects, but a plunge base router may be sufficient for simple home projects.

1. Create a Rounded Edge

One of the most exciting projects you can do with a router is creating a rounded edge on your furniture pieces. Whether you're working on tables, stands, or square-edged cabinets, adding rounded edges enhances their aesthetic appeal and ensures safety, particularly if you have small children around.

To start this project, you only need a router and the appropriate router bit. Begin by attaching your desired router bit to the collet of your router and securely locking it in place. The choice of the bit will depend on the smoothness and curve you want to achieve for your rounded edge.

Once everything is set up, it's time to determine the depth at which you want your round-over cut to be made. This will largely depend on personal preference and the thickness of the wood being used. Adjusting the depth can provide different levels of rounding or bullnose effects.

With all preparations complete, carefully guide the router along each edge that requires rounding out. Take care to maintain even pressure throughout for consistent results. It's essential to move steadily and smoothly along the wood's edge while ensuring proper control over both speed and direction.

By following these steps, you can effortlessly create beautifully rounded edges that add elegance and charm to any piece of furniture you're working on!

2. Bevel a Frame

One of the most exciting projects you can undertake with a router is beveling the edges of your picture frames. By adding this elegant touch, you can elevate the appearance of your structures and make your artwork truly stand out. To achieve beveled edges, it's essential to have the right tools, specifically appropriate beveling bits for your router.

To get started on this creative endeavor, you can easily find detailed instructions on making picture frames online. These resources will provide step-by-step guidance on measuring and cutting materials, assembling the frame, and finally incorporating those all-important beveled edges.

Once equipped with these instructions, don't hesitate to let your imagination run wild! Experimentation is vital when creating stunning frames that reflect your style. Consider exploring various designs and angles as you work with different materials – wood or metal – pushing boundaries to pursue artistic excellence.

Whether you're preparing a gallery wall or looking to display treasured memories in an eye-catching manner, incorporating beveled edges into your picture frame projects is sure to add sophistication and visual interest. So go ahead - unleash your creativity and embark on this thrilling journey towards crafting unique, remarkable frames that captivate any viewer's attention.

3. Make a Sign

Creating personalized signs is a fun and creative project that can add a touch of uniqueness to your home or business. With the help of a router, you can quickly bring your design ideas to life on a sturdy piece of wood.

To begin, start by sketching your desired design onto the wooden surface. The possibilities are endless, whether it's a house number sign, a business logo, or just some whimsical home decor. Once you have your design ready, it's time to select the right router bit for the job.

Router bits come in various shapes and sizes, each serving its purpose. Round nose bits are ideal for hollowing out lettering or creating smooth curves. They allow you to carve out precise shapes with ease effortlessly.

If you want more depth and dimension in your sign, v-groove bits are perfect for achieving that professional look. These bits create V-shaped grooves that enhance the visibility of the letters or designs on your character.

But don't limit yourself to just these options! Your router bit kit offers even more versatility when carving intricate patterns or adding decorative edging to your sign. Let your imagination run wild as you explore different combinations and techniques with various bits.

Watch your creation take shape before your eyes with every pass of the router over the wood surface. The precision and control provided by a router make it easy to achieve crisp lines and clean cuts in no time.

Once you've finished routing out all elements of your design, it's essential to follow the correct finishing process to enhance the beauty of the wood and protect your work. Here is a brief guide for the same:

  1. Sanding: Use fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen out any rough edges or surfaces. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches.

  2. Dust Removal: Use a soft brush or vacuum to remove all sawdust from the piece. This is crucial, as leftover dust can interfere with the finish.

  3. Applying the Finish: Choose a finish that suits your project. This could be a clear sealant to let the wood's natural beauty shine through or a stain to add color. Apply the finish evenly with a brush.

  4. Drying: Allow the finish to dry completely per the manufacturer's instructions. You may need to apply multiple coats for the best results.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your routed woodwork project is durable and aesthetically pleasing.

4. Make a Cutting Board

If you're looking to showcase your woodworking skills and add a touch of elegance to your kitchen, why not consider making a cutting board using a router? You can create a stunning piece that will impress your friends and family with just a few simple steps.

To begin, gather a rectangular piece of wood as the base for your cutting board. The possibilities are endless when choosing the right type of wood, but maple, walnut, cherry, and teak are recommended due to their durability and longevity.

Now it's time to bring out the router. This versatile tool will allow you to round the edges of your cutting board with precision, giving it an exquisite finish. By carefully maneuvering the router along all four sides of the board, you'll achieve a refined look that adds sophistication to any kitchen setting.

But let's not forget about functionality! To ensure that your cutting board is more than just aesthetically pleasing, consider hollowing out a groove around one to two inches from the edge of the board. This clever feature allows juices from fruits or meats to collect in this groove instead of spilling onto your countertop. It also serves as an excellent grip for easy handling while chopping ingredients.

Once you've completed these steps and admired your craftsmanship, you'll be left with nothing short of an extraordinary gift or cherished addition to elevating your culinary space. Whether used for daily meal preparations or proudly displayed during gatherings with loved ones – this custom-made cutting board is sure to become an indispensable part

5. Make Raised Panel Doors

Raised panel doors can be a fantastic addition to any bookshelf or a great way to update old cabinet doors, bringing an instant touch of elegance and sophistication. Although this project may seem more complex, it is achievable with some prior router experience and the right tools.

To embark on this exciting endeavor, you'll need specific router bits designed to create raised panel doors. These specialized bits will allow you to achieve precise cuts and shape the panels beautifully. Additionally, using jigs and door templates will significantly aid in ensuring accurate measurements and consistent results throughout the process.

As with any new skill, practice makes perfect when it comes to crafting raised panel doors. It's important not to get discouraged if there are initial mistakes along the way – learning from them is all part of honing your woodworking skills. To further enhance your understanding and technique, exploring YouTube tutorials explicitly dedicated to this project can provide valuable insights and tips from experienced woodworkers who have mastered the art.

Furthermore, don't hesitate to seek guidance from skilled individuals within the woodworking community if needed. Their expertise can prove invaluable in overcoming challenges or providing additional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

By embracing this exciting project of making raised panel doors, you can elevate the aesthetic appeal of your furniture and deepen your passion for woodworking as you refine your craftsmanship skills through hands-on experience.

Bonus Project Ideas with a Router

A router tool is not just limited to woodworking and cabinetry. Its versatility makes it a prized tool for artists, home improvement enthusiasts, resin workers, and many others.

You can use a router on wood of all types, plastic, acrylic, some types of stone, and soft metals. Using the right combination of bits and materials can create one-of-a-kind gifts and purpose-made tools for your space.

Box Building with Decorative Joinery

Joinery techniques are a skillful achievement of joining two or more pieces of wood for form and function. Routers are integral in mastering these secure connections between different woodwork parts. With practice, you can create beautiful and distinguished decorative and functional boxes from various materials; wood and resin are the most common.

Durable Crafting Tools

Many crafters use tools like bead boards and purpose build design boards to make their creativity easier. For example, you can easily use a cutting board or slab of beautiful wood to create a bead board and findings organizer to help a designer lay out their supplies and build their bead creations.

Wood Slab and Resin Sculpting

Wood slab and resin sculpting using a router is an increasingly popular form of woodworking that combines natural elements with a touch of modern aesthetic. This process involves embedding a clear or colored resin into a slab of wood, often in the natural knots and voids, then using a router to sculpt and shape the piece.

The router plays a crucial role in creating a smooth, level surface between the resin and the wood and can also be used to add decorative edges or details. Once the routing is complete, the piece is sanded and finished to reveal a stunning combination of organic wood grain and the unique, glass-like resin inlay.

This technique allows for a wide range of creative possibilities, from furniture design to wall art, and can transform an ordinary wood slab into an extraordinary piece of functional art.

Router Project FAQ

What projects can you do with the router table?

A: Router tables are prized by many DIYers due to their versatility. You can use routers for edge trimming, dovetail joints, raised panels, finger joints, precision work, grooves, slots, and decorative work. A router table can be used to make a wide range of projects.

Is it worth buying a router table?

A: Router tables provide a large work area and offer more control over your projects. If you do a lot of woodworking or DIY projects, a router table will pay for itself over time. However, if you primarily focus on smaller crafty projects, you may not find much use for a router table. You may find that a smaller version of this tool in the form of a Dremel hand tool (with router attachments) may be more fitting for your needs.

What must you not do operating a router table?

A: Always follow safety rules when operating a router or near one. Keep your hands and all parts of yourself at least three inches away from the blade. Wear safety glasses, avoid loose-fitting clothing or jewelry, and tie back or tuck up your hair.

Can I drill holes with a router?

A: Routers have straight bits that can be used for drilling if desired. They are highly versatile tools capable of cutting, drilling, and various tasks. If you have a plunge-style router, this can be used as a drill press for drilling holes.

The Right Tool for the Job

A router is essential for any crafter or avid DIYer looking to elevate their projects. The possibilities are endless with a router, from creating rounded edges to making signs, picture frames, cutting boards, and raised panel doors. Plus, routers can perform a wide range of other, making them the most versatile woodworking. So, unleash your creativity and explore the exciting projects you can do with a router today!