How to Cut a Square Hole in Wood With a Router: Detailed Explanation

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Written By John Gibbs

 

 

 

» Power Tools » Routers » How to Cut a Square Hole in Wood With a Router: Detailed Explanation

Processing lumber, cutting hinges, making technological holes and recesses, wood carving – a device such as a router can do it all. And it can be not only professional equipment but also relatively inexpensive handheld instances.

Router for square holes – the most affordable of the tools that you can easily, and most importantly qualitatively make the hole you need. But working with a hand router on wood requires the knowledge of some techniques and rules. About all this – in the article.

How to Cut a Square Hole in Wood With a Router
There are two ways to cut a square hole in the wood with a router. The first method is to use a straight bit. The straight bit method is the quickest and easiest way to cut square hole in wood.
The second method is to use a spiral bit. The spiral bit method is more difficult than the straight bit method, but it produces cleaner cuts.

Router and board on the table

What Do You Need a Router For?

A router is a device for machining wood or metal. They process flat and shaped surfaces, forms also technological notches – grooves, combs, notches for the installation of hinges, etc.

According to the method of installation, there are stationary machines (there are different types to perform different operations), and there are manual mills. Manual electric mills are a versatile tool that allows you to perform any operation. Such as cutting a square hole in wood. To change the operation, you just need to change the nozzle – the cutter and/or its location on the workpiece.

Machines are mainly used in mass production. In them, the cutter is set stationary, and the workpiece moves – according to a certain trajectory. When working with a hand router, the situation is the opposite – the workpiece is fixed stationery, and the router moves.

When processing large volumes of identical parts, it is more convenient to fix the hand router on a horizontal surface, making something similar to a milling machine.

the wood router cuts a hole in the board

How to Cut a Square Hole in Wood With a Router Step-By-Step Guide

A square hole is a hole with 90-degree angles. A square hole is cut with a drill bit, router bit, and a square cutting tool. The drill bit is used to make the initial hole. The router bit is used to enlarge the hole and the square cutting tool is used to cut the hole to the desired size.

Tools you will need to make square holes in wood

If you want to make a square hole in wood, you need to gather the following tools:

  • router;
  • sandpaper;
  • knife;
  • drill bit;
  • measuring tape;
  • pencil;
  • tape measure;
  • hammer.

This is a beginner-friendly guide on how to cut a square hole in the wood with a router. For both methods, the steps will be the same only differences are in the type of drill bits used.

Step 1: Measure the desired size of the hole

Using a tape measure and a pencil, mark the outline for the hole on the wood.

Mark on the board with a tape measure and pencil

Step 2: Put on the protection

Wear personal protective equipment. This should be taken care of before you start work.

Step 3: Secure the wood.

If you are using a hand router, you need to clamp the wood to the work surface.

Close-up of a router

Step 4: Prepare the router

Position the router so that it is perpendicular to the wood. Make sure the router is plugged in and everything is ready to go

Step 5: Start the router

Start-up and slowly lower the drill bit into the wood. Finally, make a hole by moving the router around the perimeter of the hole.
The resulting hole should be sanded down to a smoother finish. Use a knife and sandpaper to smooth out the edges of the square hole.

Cuts a hole in the board with router

Related Posts

Safety Tips on How to Cut a Rectangular Hole in Wood

There are a number of ways to cut a rectangular or a square hole in wood. One of the best ways to do it is to use a wood-cutting router. Also, the following are some of the things that you need to keep in mind when you are cutting a rectangular hole in wood:

  1. Work only with tools that are in perfect working order (check the integrity of the housing, the power cord, the wear of the brushes, the absence of extraneous noise during operation, sparks, and shaft runout – vibration).
  2. Work only with milling cutters in good condition (if there are cracks, runout, or other damages – it is better to change the milling cutter).
  3. The milling cutter must be well fixed in the chuck (the shank is clamped not less than 2/3 of the way, the nut is screwed in with sufficient force, and the thread on the nut is not damaged).
  4. All accessories and protective devices (collets, vacuum cleaner spigots) must be correctly in place and secured.
  5. Change cutter only with unplugged plug.
  6. Keep the workplace clean and tidy – objects lying around the work area – keys, spare cutters, etc. – may move toward the cutter under the influence of vibration and then fly in an unpredictable direction.
  7. Before you start cutting, make sure that you are standing stable enough and that there is nothing to trip over around the work table. Otherwise, if you fall down, you could drop the milling machine on yourself.
  8. Remember that the cutter continues to rotate for a while after the tool is turned off – wait for it to stop.
  9. There should be no loose parts in your work clothes – ribbons, long sleeves, and other things that can get under the cutter.
  10. The workpiece must be securely clamped, with no self-tapping screws, screw clamps, or other surprises in the way of the cutter.
  11. Never pick up the router while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  12. Put the tool away if you are tired and feel that you cannot concentrate on your work.
  13. Do not be distracted by extraneous stimuli while working.
  14. Use personal protective equipment – eye protection (glasses or visor), respiratory protection (dust mask), and hearing protection (earphones or earplugs).

FAQ

Can I use a router to cut a square hole in wood?

Yes, you can use a router to cut a square hole in wood. However, you will need to use a special router bit designed for cutting square holes.

How do I router a square hole in wood?

To router a square hole in wood, you will need to use a special router bit designed for cutting square holes.

How do you cut a large square hole in wood?

If you need to cut a large square hole in wood, you may need to use a jigsaw or a circular saw in addition to a router. First, you will need to use the router to cut around the perimeter of the hole. Next, you will need to use the jigsaw or circular saw to cut along the marked lines in the center of the hole.

How do you cut a small square hole in wood?

If you need to cut a small square hole in wood, you can use a router. First, you will need to determine the size of the hole you need to cut. Next, you will need to use a straightedge or a square to mark out the perimeter of the hole on the wood. Once the hole is marked out, you will need to use a router to cut along the marked lines.

edge of the board with a router

What type of router bit do you need to use to cut a square hole in wood?

For best results, you should use a carbide-tipped straight router bit.

The Bottom Line

I hope my article helped you to know how to cut a hole with a router. When it comes to cutting square holes in wood, there is really no better tool to use than a router.

Although a router can be a bit expensive, it is a tool that will last you for many years. With a router, you will be able to cut a perfect square hole every single time.

Please if you have any questions or suggestions about how to cut a square recess in wood with a router, leave them in the comments below. Good luck!

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About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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