In Shop Blog, Tricks of the Trade

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I learned this in engineering school and soon found out it worked for my router. It is called the “right-hand thumb rule.”

When trying to remember which way your router bit is spinning so you can feed the wood in the correct direction, you can use the right-hand thumb rule.

Pretend your right hand is a router and your thumb is the router bit. If you are holding the router with your hands and the bit is pointing down to the floor, then hold your hand in front of you with your thumb pointing to the floor. Then curl your fingers. That’s the direction your router bit is spinning.

If you are using a router table, hold your hand with your thumb pointing to the sky. Curl your fingers, and that’s the direction your router bit is spinning.

That way you will never get confused again and always know the correct feed direction.

And it works for almost anything that spins: faucets, screws (regular thread), changing a tire (if you want to know which way to tighten or loosen the nuts) etc.

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About proper drill press speeds for different bits and how to set the pulleys to match. Tips for tilting & realigning the drill press table for accurate drilling. The simple steps to keep mortiser chisels and drill bits sharp and cutting true. How to set the mortiser bit and chisel perfectly to avoid heat build-up and improve chip removal. Ripping and cross-cutting tips for sheet goods and solid wood. How to improve cuts using the proper blades. Where to stand and how to position your hands and body for the safest, most accurate performance. Simple maintenance and accurate setup and much more!

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  • Tom Pongetti

    I get the router bit explanation. I don’t get the lug nut or any thread explanation though. Is your thumb supposed to be the exposed thread of a lug nut? If it is, then your fingers would’ve loosening. How about a faucet, what is your thumb supposed to be?

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