starter pin

Starter pin on the router plate

It’s very simple to route parts for a nice shape by using a router table. All things you require for the good result are a good bit and a proper template. But when you don’t a router fence, the bit attached into the router plate is a trick for the nicer cuts. As the bit starts cutting a wood board, the cutting part has to move the bit to the stock. A starter pin will keep this stock from being cut too deep while it ensures the safe conditions during the process. 

Starter pin on the router plate

Carrying overbalance router bits make a router table more different possibilities that are making extremely accurate cuts in curved or straight stock in case no fence is attached. These situations are very dangerous with trimming small pieces since they are easy to be kicked out when low-tech woodworkers control in wrong ways. Thus, starter pins are important to protect your hands as working.

The starter pin

Starter pins are made of brass or steel while some pins include bolts applied with a plastic barrel. They are often ⅜ inch to ½ inch diameter and fasten into threaded holes to a side of a router bit. It’s better to cut screws thread on four edges of a bit to provide the most choices.

The starter pin

Before installing a starting pin, you need to consider the rotation of the router bit and purposes of the job. That is setting the distance and holes on the plate that support the safest and easiest usage of the router. Don’t be worry about the mistake, you can try many locations until you find the suitable place. For instance:

  • If you cut a long piece, it’s better to use a starter pin nearer to the router bit.
  • Stocks with narrower final parts need starter pins farther away from router bits so you can keep your hands in safe situations.
  • Sometimes, you must change the position a few times during a job to keep safe conditions.

The usage

  •  The starter pin is the simplest tool to a clean and safe cut. It is used as an immovable point that the part use to pivot around the cutter and that provides leverage allowing you to move carefully, gradually and gently the stock to the bit. Moreover, The pins provide enough resistance for the horizontal motions so the wood pieces are slowly pivoted by the bits. That means a pin will help the tabletop withstand the horizontal forces from the too smooth surface. In cases, the work is very heavy or there is no need of the resistance, a starter pin is useless.
  • A starter pin is always used as a bearing on the router plate. You can’t increase the control of a deep cut, but it gives assistance to hold a wood piece between your fingers and the pin for a nice shape. You don’t need the powerful pressure against the pin when working since the high force can break the bit into pieces or mark with dents on soft woods. The force must be tight enough to make nice cuts while the problems like kickbacks of the wood don’t happen.
  • The starter pin can’t change the feed direction, but it is a good support for feeding the stock. The wood piece doesn’t turn around the bit without a bearing since you are very hard to make a nice shape. In most alignment, it is trimmed on the side forward to the operator so you can easily access the starter pin to get the best direction.
  •  To begin the cut, the piece relies on the starter pin, then you make it rotate into the router bit. During the operation, you move it from the right side to left side while keeping it against the pin. Even if you work the narrower final part, you can’t take it away from the pin. For larger pieces, it’s safe that you use a string pin in the beginning and then you can route the stock to let the pin finish the cut.

When you can’t use a router fence, the starter pins are easy and simple ways to make a template routing easier and safer, but you should practice this skill frequently. You should spend the time to install a pin that is not expensive and very simple to set up. Moreover, it helps you protect your hands and body from abrupt uncontrolled movements or dangerous kick-outs of wood pieces, which can lead serious injuries. There are always reasons manufacturers include starter pins on their router plates. Try it a few times and you would like to use a starter pin every time.

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