How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router

Cutting a channel in wood with a router is not a complicated task. If the right trick is known, it is very simple even for beginners. So, what is that right trick? Check out below!

With a router, you can perform different tasks, such as decorating the surface or edge of a wood piece. You can use a router to cut a chase into a wood piece to hide pipes, electrical cables, etc. You can do a lot of work with a router when you know how to use it right. Sometimes the router can sharpen the saw and other things, such as the Dremel. A router is not a giant machine like a band saw or others, and it can be handled pretty easily.

There are different types of routers that work slightly different from each other. And obviously, for using all types of routers, you’ll have to learn how all types work. Let’s keep all of them aside and get to the actual point. Below we are going to show you how to cut a channel in wood with a router.

And along with that, we are going to get you through different types of routers and there features as well. So that you can have good knowledge of all types. With that said, let’s not pull the intro much and get straight to point!

Before we get into cutting a channel, we want to warn you that wood cutting routers are powerful enough to create an unforgettable accident. So, we beg you to wear protective gear and not to try anything that you are not capable of. If you are a beginner, do not try anything from yourself, ask professional help even if it costs you a few bucks. At least you will be safe.

1. Securing the Wood

Before you turn on the router, make sure the fence you are using has no bumps and nicks, that should be completely plain and very smooth. Otherwise, your cutting will go extremely wrong. So, ensure that the fence is smooth and completely plain. Smoothness will matter since you have to push a bit of the wood through the router. Whenever you are using a fence that will require you to support the wood additionally to avoid any kind tipping.

2. Right Feeding Direction

When you cut from the middle of the wood with a router, there is no right feed direction. That being said, a lot of professionals advise that you should always feed the wood from left to right. Saying again, this is the suggested feeding direction; you can do as you want.

3. Choosing the Router Bit

Now, this is a vital part. When you are planning to make a channel in wood, the first thing you should consider is the channel size, since you will need a router bit of that size.

For example, if you are looking forward to making a ½-inch channel in the wood, then you are going to need a ½ -inch bit, simple as that. However, if you want to make a wider channel with the small router bit, you will have to make a couple of passes to get the preferred width.

4. Prevent Tear-away Project Woods

Most of the time, newcomers end up tearing the project wood when lifting the router from the wood. This can ruin the entire project, requiring starting from scratch again. What to do with it? We surely have a way out!

In order to prevent this tearing, place one piece of scrap wood at both sides of the working wood. So, when lifting the router, you will tear the scrap wood, instead of your project wood.

Important Things to Remember When Using a Router

  • As the professionals have suggested, try to keep the feeding direction from left to right, so that the fence will be pulled down and will eliminate any kind of tipping.
  • Pick a router machine which has guards on both sides of the bit, so that your hand or anything doesn’t come close to the bit accidentally.
  • Ensure that the workpiece is properly clamped down to the bench or the working table. You can use friction mat as well in order to prevent work shifting and get amazing stability.
  • Every time you start working with a router, remember to keep your hand and finger-safe. Never use your bare hand to hold or push the working wood. There is a push stick and other stuff to help you will that.
  • When you are making any router adjustment, unplug the router before you start.
  • Be very careful when chucking router bit into the router. Make sure you chuck it properly.
  • Do not ever force the router through your project wood. Go slow and gentle.
  • When you are done routing, make sure to release the plunge lock.
  • After you are done with the routing, clean the entire router, and keep it covered.

Types of Router

There are mainly two router types that are pretty popular for wood routing. One is the Fixed model, and another is the Plunge model. These wood routers come with a different range of power. And which power range should you choose that depends on the task you have in your hand. Some routers come with 400 to 600w power. And there are some that offer even 1200W.

If you are a beginner, then let us help you a bit with the power range choosing. If you are doing light-duty cutting tasks, then 400-600w router should be enough for you. And for medium-duty tasks, you will need over 700w router. Lastly, for heavy-duty tasks, you can go for 1200W.

Not only power ranges, router comes with different speeds as well. From 800 rpm to 30.000 rpm. The faster the speed, the more satisfying the cutting experience you will get.


Time to wrap this article up! If you are still here, then you must have learned how to cut a channel in wood with a router. No complexity at all. But we urge you to go through the safety tips as much as possible. Do not make even the slightest mistake.

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