The router table is one of the woodworkers list of essential tools. That is because we need pretty edges on our work. We need slots and slits and all types of joints, and the router table (or shaper) is an extremely versatile tool that takes care of this.
One thing that is important on the router table is the hold downs. If you have ever made a mistake or slipped as you were routing the piece of wood, and then gotten a piece of wood kicked back at you going 100 miles per hour, you realize then that you need some protection. And the hold down – such as a featherboard – will help with this.
There are various featherboards that you can purchase, but really, they aren’t really that much more sophisticated than the ones you can make yourself. (I stole that line from the video you will see below, but it is true.)
Once you have made or purchased your own, on the router table you can set them up similar to the picture here to the left. The featherboards thin bristles will allow you to push the wood through, but won’t let it come backwards, and in turn this will hold the piece down without letting it come off of the bit. Once the piece rises up on the bit, then the kickback occurs, so you want it to stay flat on the table.
If you don’t like making your own or don’t want to purchase the featherboard – or any other type of hold down, there are other options. Check out the quick video below to see one. It is pretty cool, and please make sure that you use techniques such as these so that you will be safe while working in the shop.
Image above compliments of Richard Skura on flickr.com
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rskura/ – Go here to see more of his tricks.