What is the feed direction?

 
         
         
  buy routers online at low prices  
         
         
     

Hand-held routing

 
  Hand-held routing  

For hand-held routing applications, the feed direction refers to the direction in which the router bit is fed into the material.

 

In a hand-held router, the router bit spins in a clockwise direction, so the feed direction will usually be from left to right. 

 
         
     

Stationary routing

 
  Stationary Routing  

Using a router in a table or mounted in a bench top, the feed direction refers to the direction in which you feed the material against the router bit.

 

Stationary routing involves the bit being positioned upside down in the table, with the cutting edges facing upwards.

 

As a result, the bit spins in an anti-clockwise direction and so the feed direction will usually be from right to left. 

 
         
  buy router cutters  
 

Understanding

feed direction

 
         
  Pencil and edge of wood  

Whether you’re using a hand-held router or a stationary one, the feed direction should always be against the rotation of the router bit. Confused? Don’t be!

 

The best way to understand feed direction is to reenact the motion of a router bit. All you need is a pencil and the edge of a table or a bit of wood.

 
         
  turning the pencil clockwise  

Hold the pencil by its eraser-end and place it up against the right-hand edge of your material. The pencil is your router bit, and you are holding it by its shank. Now imagine that your hand is the router, and begin slowly turning the pencil in a clockwise direction.

 
         
  Pencil moving from the right side to the left  

The pencil will naturally roll from the right side of the material to the left, and a router bit will do exactly the same. This is the router bit’s natural direction, it’s the direction it wants to move in. However, when working, you must always route against the direction of the bit. So, this time, hold the pencil in the same way but start with it up against the left-hand side of the material instead.

 
         
  you moving against the router bit, the roation of the bit and the direction in which the bit wants to go  

With your hand as the router, begin to turn the pencil clockwise as you did before, but this time, instead of letting the pencil roll to the left, slide it to the right, along the edge of the board.

 

Keep rotating it clockwise as you do.

 
         
  Hand turning a blue router bit  

You have just moved the pencil against its own rotation, and it will work in exactly the same way with a router bit.

 

This can seem unnatural, but working against the rotation of the bit is safer and will create a much smoother finish.

 

This method applies to any routing task. If you’re not sure of the correct feed direction, imagine the bit turning in its natural direction (clockwise for hand-held, anti-clockwise for table), then move the router bit in the opposite direction. buy router cutters

 
         
    Wonkee Donkee says "Read on to find out the correct feed direction for some of the most common routing applications"  
         
     
 

What happens if you feed

in the wrong direction?

 
         
  Green and Red arrow pointing in opposite directions  

The correct feed direction is always against the rotation of the router bit.

 
         
     

Using a hand-held router

 
  Using a Hand-held Router  

Feeding in the wrong direction when using a hand-held router will cause the bit to push itself (and the router) away from the edge it is supposed to be cutting.

 

This will make the router difficult to control and will usually leave an uneven and messy-looking edge.

 
         
     

Using a stationary router

 
  Red Router Table  

Feeding in the wrong direction is especially dangerous when using a stationary router such as a router mounted in a table.

 

Feeding with the rotation of the bit will cause it to pull the material out of the user’s hands. This is because the cutting edges do not have the chance to bite into the material and cut properly, they simply drag the material across the surface of the table/bench top. 

 

If your grip on the material is tight, your hands will also be pulled towards the cutting edges of the router bit!

 
         
  buy routers online at low prices  
 

Router feed direction

 
     
 

What is the correct feed direction for hand-held routing?

 
         
     

Routing along an edge

 
 

Router Bit Rotation and Feed Direction

 

When routing along an outside edge using a hand-held router, you should always work from the left to the right, against the rotation of the router bit.

 

Feeding in the right direction allows the router bit to pull itself (and the router) up against the edge of the material, creating a smoother cut.

 
         
  Incorrect Feed Direction viewed from above  

Routing from right to left on an outside edge may be OK if you’re an experienced user and only making very shallow cuts, but most of the time it will cause problems.

 
         
     

Routing inside edges

 
  Routing inside edges  

This may look complicated, but don’t panic, just remember the pencil analogy - if you rotated the bit clockwise, which way would it want to move across the material? Then rout in the opposite direction.

 

When routing along the inside edges of a piece of material, you should work in a clockwise direction.

 
         
     

Routing outside edges

 
  Routing along outside edge  

When routing all the way around the outside of a material, move the router in an anti-clockwise direction.

 
         
     

Routing a circle or arc

 
  Routing a Circle or Arc  

When routing an arc or circle with a hand-held router, you should always move in an anti-clockwise direction.

 

This is usually done with the aid of a beam trammel, which is a type of routing aid known as a jig, that works in the same way as a compass, helping to rout curves or circles.

 
         
     

Routing a groove through material

 
  Routing a Groove through material with labelled guide fence and outside edge of router base  

When routing a groove through the middle of a workpiece, there is always going to be material on both sides of the router bit, so what is the correct feed direction? Well, technically there isn't one, as the router is always moving with and against its own rotation at the same time.

 

However, if you’re using a guide/side fence, routing left to right will mean the bit is always pulling the router against the fence, keeping your cut on course.

 
         
     

Routing freehand

 
  Routing Free Hand  

When cutting a pattern freehand, you can move in any direction through the middle of the material, as the router bit is cutting two edges anyway.

 

However, try not to change the feed direction abruptly at any point, smooth movements will produce a much cleaner finish.buy routers online at low prices

 
         
 

What is the correct feed direction for stationary routing?

 
         
     

Routing an outside edge

 
  Correct Feed Direction  

When routing an outside edge with a stationary router, you should feed the material from right to left.

 
         
   

Routing from left to right may be ok if you’re an experienced user and only making very shallow cuts, but most of the time it will cause the bit to drag the material out of your hands!

 
         
     

Routing a groove through material

 
  Router table, back fence, work piece, groove to be cut, and end view labelled on routing a groove through a board with a stationary router diagram  

 

When routing a groove through the middle of a workpiece, there is always going to be material on both sides of the router bit, so what is the correct feed direction?

 

Well, technically there isn't one, as the router is always cutting with and against its own rotation at the same time.

 

However, if you’re using a guide fence, routing right to left will mean the bit is always pulling the router against the fence, keeping your cut on course.

 
         
Contact Us