How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router |

How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router

Routers are some of the most commonly used group of power tools. They are best when working with wood and will help you to make some of the best cuts. More importantly, they are best at cutting specific sections from lumber or timber.

How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router

As if that’s not enough, routers can also be used to create some of the best decorations around the edges of wooden surfaces or any piece of wood. You can actually use it to cut a chase on the side of a wooden case and possibly even hide electrical cables in it.

Before such uses, routers were originally used for just their decorative purposes. Thankfully, times have changed and today routers are some of the most efficient and highly versatile woodworking tools that you can own.

You can now use your router to easily cut and also shape wood. In addition to that, you can also use your router to create grooves, joints, and channels on any wooden surface. Here is How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router but first, let’s take a look at these vital tips.

Types of Routers

We have two main router types. They are easy to use and you can consider them for your woodworking projects. They include the following:

  • Fixed model
  • Plunge model

When looking for routers, you will also find two different power capacities. This means that depending on your needs, you can choose to either go with one model or the next.

  • Light work: 400 – 600W router
  • Medium work: 750 – 1200W
  • Heavy work: 1200W and up

More importantly, the routers that you will find also come with different/ varying speeds. The speeds will often range between the basic 800 and 30,000 revolutions per minute…

Using a Router to Cut a Channel

When you want to use your router to cut a channel on wood, your biggest concern should be your safety. Let’s just say that the router like any other power tool can be quite dangerous if misused in any way.

how to cut a channel in wood with a router

The truth is this, the router usually cuts wood with very unguarded and high speed, spinning, blade that if mishandled can be very fatal. So here is the best way to use the router and guarantee your safety at the same time.

Step I: Secure the Wood

First, you need to ensure that you secure your wood. Ensure that the edge of the fence is straight and actually smooth.

Try as much to do away with any nicks or bumps that you might feel along the edge of the fence. Such can easily affect you are the channel.

how to cut a channel in wood

Remember that when you are using a fence if cutting through the wood, you will require additional support. This will guarantee you an even bigger base area that your router can easily move along on.  This one also prevents any form of tipping.

Step II: Choose Your Feed Direction

The next important thing to determine is the direction of your feed. Even so, when you are routing the middle of the lumber/wood there is always no wrong or right direction of the feed.

Nonetheless, it is always recommended that you move specifically in either the left or right movement. This allows the fence to easily be pulled down in place.

Step III: Select the Router Bit

Now it is time to choose the right router bit. The cutter’s bit size will be determined by the diameter of the bit. This will also determine the main depth and the width of the channel that you will cut.

Example: If you choose ½ an inch for your channel, you will have to use a ½ inch bit of cutter diameter. And in case you need a wider channel then the bit you are using will have to be larger too.

Step IV: Avoid Tear-Away

Another important consideration that you have to make when you want to learn How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router is to avoid any form or tear-out.  Tear-out or tear-away can occur when you first touch the router onto the wood or the moment you lift the router from the surface of the wood.

Tear-out leaves you with rough finishes that won’t be appealing at all. Therefore, it is very important to avoid it.

To avoid tear-out you should place some piece of scrap wood at every end of the wood you are working on. This will help you to start and then end your channel with scrap wood instead of your main project.

Vital Router Features

Apart from knowing the types of a router and how to use it to cut channels on wood, you should also understand the vital router features. Here are some of the most important features that a router should have.

  • Handles on either side
  • Baseplate
  • Router Blade
  • Lock
  • Bit

Make sure that you lock the router’s blade before you start to use the router to cut through the channel that you are looking for.

cutting wood with router

Additional Tips

Here are a few additional things that you should remember when looking at How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router.

  • Move your router from the left to right motion always
  • Keep the fence pulled down whenever you are working
  • Never force the router through any wood that you are working on
  • Check and make sure that the plunge lock is released if done
  • Clean your woodwork router once you are finished


Knowing How to Cut a Channel in Wood with a Router is very important as it will help you to achieve some of the highest-quality results.  That’s why this post is really important for you to follow.

Even so, if you own any power tool and more specifically a router , you should understand how keen you need to be with these tools. Power tools can become very dangerous anytime. They can turn from being darlings to very fatal tools.

Make sure that you get the best thrill form your router by learning how to use your router for various cuts.

Leave a Comment