A: A starting pin helps prevents kickback when using a bearing-guided bit. It’s an important safety feature. Using a fence is the best and safest way to rout, but a fence is impractical on curved or irregular-shaped pieces. That’s when you need a starting pin. If your router table doesn’t have a starting pin, it’s a good idea to install one.
When you begin a cut, use the starting pin as a fulcrum. Press the workpiece against the pin, then slowly rotate and slide it into the router bit until the wood touches the bit’s bearing. Feed the workpiece an inch or so against both the starting pin and the bearing. Once you’re confidently engaged with the bearing, you can rotate the workpiece away from the starting pin and ride on the bearing only.