Choosing a Router Base: Flat vs Round Side

Sign in
Duration: 3:31

There are lots of aspects of woodworking that are intuitive. Some, not so much. This is an example of not so much.

Routers and Fences

One way to guide a router through a cut is to attach a fence to the router, allowing the fence to ride along the edge of your work. An alternative approach is to attach a fence to your work, allowing the base of the router to ride along the fence. This shop-made approach is handy, since it doesn’t require you to go out and buy any router accessories. But you’ve got to make sure you’re handling this the right way.

Flat or Round?

Router bases, universally, are mostly round. Many of them have one flat portion. When you’re clamping a fence, a straight edge, to your work so you can follow it with your router, your intuition will probably tell you to let the flat portion of the router base ride along the straight edge of the fence. It seems to make perfect sense. But in practice, this is a bad idea. The video shows you why. So, why are the flat sides to router bases? It’s a mystery to me.

An Incredibly Versatile Tool

There are SO many things you can do with a router. To name just a few: joinery, decorative edges, and inlay. The router is a versatile tool, but you also need to understand how to use a router to make sure you’re using it correctly and safely.

Shop-made Jigs Help, Too

A router fence is great. Clamping a straight edge to your project works, too. But sometimes you need a slightly more specialized jig, like when you’re cutting dados with a router.

  • (will not be published)

5 Responses to “Choosing a Router Base: Flat vs Round Side”

  1. Robert Gearon

    Wouldn’t it be better to build a dado jig for the router with flat stick on both side of the base so the router can not twist, somthing you could adjust to fit the work say a 4″ wide board and a 12″ wide board or even a 24″ wide board or glue up. you still clamp it on but it adjust to the work your doing with the tool your using. with the use of spacer blocks to set it up to the router your using and keeping it true.

    • Customer Service

      Hi Robert. If you are having problems with your router twisting, or you’re concerned that it might, that sounds like a good way to address it.
      Paul-Woodworkers Guild of America

    • Customer Service

      Hi Terry,

      It might in fact be intended for riding along a flat surface, but can lead to the problem described here.

      Woodworkers Guild of America