Troubleshooting Common Router Table Problems

Intricate woodworking techniques can be made easy using a router table. Even an amateur woodworker can cut mortise and tenant joints using a router table. When your router table isn’t working properly, however, even the simplest of projects can become frustrating. Before paying a repairman to fix your router table you should check to see if your problem has one of these simple solutions. 

Power Supply

There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to start your woodworking project and your power tool won’t turn on. When your router table doesn’t respond when your flick the power switch there are a number of things you need to check. The first thing to check is whether or not your router table is plugged in; the power cord could have been accidentally pulled when you were cleaning up your shop. If your router table is plugged in and still won’t turn on, check the circuit breaker. If the fuse box is not the problem, then it’s time to call in an electrician to replace either your electrical outlet or the power switch on your router table. 

Slipping Bit

Your router bit won’t cut properly if it keeps slipping in the chuck while you are working. When this happens you will notice the bit stopping while the chuck continues to turn. Stop the machine and tighten the chuck again. If the problem continues check to see if your chuck key has not been stripped and not letting you tighten the chuck properly. On older router tables you may need to replace the chuck, as it will no longer lock into place or its clamping mechanism has worn away. 

Bit Depth

For some of your woodworking projects you will need to have your router bit set to a certain depth. Most router tables allow you to set the bit depth with a gauge on the table side. Over the years sawdust can collect in the chuck, pushing bits higher. Use some compressed air to clear out any sawdust or wood chips on a regular basis. For sawdust that has been compacted, use a screwdriver to loosen the sawdust before using the compressed air to clean it out. 

Stalling or Inconsistent Bit Speed

A stalling or inconsistent bit speed is usually caused by loose or worn belts. After cutting the power supply to your router table, open the table’s housing to inspect the drive belts. Look for uneven wear or cracked belts on older machines. If the belts are in good condition check to make sure they are snug to the drive wheels. Tighten and replace belts according to your owner’s manual. If the problem continues you will need to contact a certified repairman. 

Unmovable Guide

The guides on your router table are as important as the router itself. The guides will help make sure your cuts are straight and to the dimensions you want. If you have not used your router table in a while or if the temperature in your workshop fluctuates between hot and cold, your router table guides can freeze into place. Use a pair of pliers to loosen the bolts, being careful not to break them off. You may need to spray a bit of lubricating fluid on the bolts to loosen them enough to turn them. If you do need to use lubricating fluid, make sure your bolts are locked in place the next few times you use your router table.