LJ Challenge: FREE Hendrik DVD Set Drawing (Deadline April 22, 2014)

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Blog entry by Cricket posted 04-08-2014 10:14 PM 4085 reads 0 times favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hendrik Varju is a well known furniture designer/craftsman who operates “Passion for Wood” near Toronto, Canada. He also offers woodworking courses and seminars and has been widely published in woodworking magazines in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. In 2007, Hendrik started producing DVD courses and he has offered to provide some of them as prizes in Lumberjocks contests. You can see the full list of all of Hendrik’s DVD courses here: .

This week, the prize is Hendrik’s eighth DVD course called “Using Your Router and Router Table Safely”. It is almost 8 1/2 hours long and focuses on router and router table features as well as router safety rules. It also covers a large number of techniques such as edge treatments, dados, rabbets, plunge cuts and even climb cutting. A long and detailed bonus section covers template routing, both with a hand-held router and on the router table. You can read more about this 4-DVD set here: It is valued at Cdn. $89.95 + taxes and shipping.

To enter to win this contest, just post a comment giving your answer to this question: “In your opinion, is a router more dangerous when used in your hands or used in a router table, and why?” Post a comment before (insert contest deadline here) and Hendrik will choose his favourite answer. Then we’ll let you know how to claim your prize. Hendrik will ship it directly to your home at no cost to you.

-- Community Manager

44 comments so far

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4139 days

#1 posted 04-08-2014 10:20 PM

In your hands because you can lose control of it. In a router table it is steady and if it does get ya you can pull away from it. Using it with your hands it can do a lot more damage.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View mapleone's profile


3 posts in 2886 days

#2 posted 04-08-2014 10:42 PM

If you fail to use a starter pin while using a bearing bit on a router table, poor hand placement can draw you and the work piece into the router bit with disastrous consequences for both

View SoonerFanJerry's profile


81 posts in 2071 days

#3 posted 04-08-2014 10:43 PM

Both are dangerous but a handheld router is more dangerous in most situations because there is more opportunity to lose control of the tool.

View bglenden's profile


15 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 04-08-2014 11:04 PM

I think it’s about equal: there are more opportunities for the router to be misapplied to the work when handheld (e.g., tipping), on the other hand it’s harder for your hand to encounter the bit (more router table operations have the bit exposed).


View Aaron Sparrow's profile

Aaron Sparrow

35 posts in 2315 days

#5 posted 04-09-2014 12:08 AM

I think using a router while you are daydreaming is dangerous in any situation, but possibly more dangerous when it is in your hands. Be aware of what you are doing.

-- Aaron, Whitby, Ontario,

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2492 days

#6 posted 04-09-2014 12:18 AM

Both are equally dangerous, but mostly for the same reasons. In pretty much all router applications the things I see are kickback, poor hand placement, large bits at the wrong speed, and a false sense of security. Honestly I don’t place a dangerous tag on any tool. It is usually the operator that is dangerous. And what I mean by that is a lack of training and experience. All of which come from good research and mentoring. Weather the mentoring is a video, or a person. Safety is not something you force. It is a lifestyle, there is no half ass way to it. Either you do or you don’t.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2613 days

#7 posted 04-09-2014 12:49 AM

Without a doubt, handheld is more dangerous as opposed to a proper table, with a fence and featherboards. When set up like this, no part of the human body has to go near the deadly spinning bit. Until Sawstop comes up with a router, this is how it is. SO SAY WE ALL.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View TheJBitt's profile


34 posts in 2501 days

#8 posted 04-09-2014 01:46 AM

In the hands of a conscientious veteran user it will always be more dangerous freehand. However, I also think that if you don’t have the proper respect for the tool, the router table can give you a false sense of security. The stability and safety built into the table can lure you into getting those fingers too close.

-- I make great sawdust. -Jon in Warsaw, IN

View Bearpaw's profile


263 posts in 4264 days

#9 posted 04-09-2014 03:10 AM

A router is a tool, an inanimate object. It does not turn itself on or off. It does not decide what bit is to be used. It does not determine the job it will do. That is the function of the router’s user. If the user does not understand the purpose and functionality of the router, than it does not matter if it is in their hand or attached to a proper router table; it will hurt you. Proper use of any tool requires that user be clear in how to operate it and be focused totally when operating it, period.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 2460 days

#10 posted 04-09-2014 03:37 AM

Handheld. Not only do some operations leave the router tippy, but setting down a router that hasn’t come to a complete stop can send it wobbling off the table, causing you to reach for the router to prevent it from hitting the floor. That said, using the router in any fashion demands attention and respect – in table use you frequently can bring your hands close to the bit. Whenever possible I employ featherboards, guards and pushpads/sticks at the router table, though these can’t be used for some operations. Respect the router’s authoritahhh.

-- Dan :: Minnesota

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3436 posts in 4256 days

#11 posted 04-09-2014 06:25 AM

That’s a bit of a toss-up question! I believe it largely depends on your router table and router.

A router with a “squeeze trigger” can easily be turned off if something goes awry when hand-held. Example: I used to place two boards (for glue-up) just shy of 3/4” apart, clamp a guide on either side and run the router between them with a 3/4” straight bit because I don’t have a jointer. I never had a problem with my router with a squeeze trigger; if I ran into a problem, I just let go of the trigger. When my husband tried it with his router, it nearly threw him the whole length of the board because he had no way to turn off the dedicated on-off switch which was located at the top of the motor. He was unscathed, but never tried it again. I have no where near his strength; I wouldn’t have been so blessed using his router.

With that said, the only router accident I have ever had was using a small router table to rout dadoes in plywood drawer boxes. The dado bit hit a void in the plywood and pulled the piece out of my hands and a finger hit the router bit. Had I known how shallow the bloody cuts were, I would not have wasted the emergency room visit. At the time, no one could tell me how I could have avoided the accident. All these years later, I believe that the router table was too high when clamped to the work surface for me to hold the piece properly.

The most effective way to remain safe is to use the method—hand-held or table—that is most appropriate for each particular application.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1909 posts in 2513 days

#12 posted 04-09-2014 11:35 AM

For me its in a table, because I always do hand held. I feel I have more control when it’s in my hands as opposed to a table (this is just for me).

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3219 days

#13 posted 04-09-2014 12:22 PM

What is wrong with this picture?

hint: aren’t dovetails supposed to be on the sides?

It’s impossible to be this “dangerous” on a router table.


View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3939 days

#14 posted 04-09-2014 12:58 PM

I have never been injured or even come close when hand holding a router (I own five), but I was injured when using the router in a table.
I think the reason is that I had a false sense of security, knowing that the router couldn’t get away.
I now have much more in the way of safety equipment deployed on my router table.
the best router safety accessory I have ever had is a set of feathers and guides with switched magnets in them. My router table is steel and they hold very securely.
By the way, I still have all my fingers. It wasn’t a tragic injury!
I still use the router free hand often when the work demands it.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View JohnL's profile


34 posts in 3412 days

#15 posted 04-09-2014 04:48 PM

This seems to me like a “6 of one, half-dozen of the other” kind of thing…

Hand holding the router, you (generally) won’t ever slip and have your hand drop or get pulled into the spinning bit, but you are manually moving the router and could lose grip, trip, slip, kickback (whatever) and have the router end up on your (belly, leg, foot, where ever).

Table, you can have the workpiece pull you hand in, grip the work and spin either the work around or your hand around, putting something, you didn’t intend, into harm’s way.

Both can be as unsafe as the other. Precautions are needed in both cases. Push sticks, work grippers, adequate surface area around the work, etc.. But if I have to pick just one, I’d lean towards hand holding the router being more risky.

-- I'm looking forward to regretting this.

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