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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Default Router and bit for slot cutting

HI I DONT OWN A ROUTER YET BUT I AM EMBARKING ON A CAMPERVAN PROJECT SO I WILL NEED ONE SOON IF ONLY FOR CUTTING SLOTS IN PLYWOOD FOR KNOCK IN EDGING. ANY ADVICE ON BEST ROUTER AND BIT FOR THE JOB
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 03:41 PM
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That was a pretty broad question. With more detail about what you want to do we could likely help you better.

The best multi-purpose routers are the multi-base models where you can change out the base of the router for different functions and yet only own one router motor. They range in price from about a $100 US Craftsman set on up depending on quality, features, and horsepower. I own two DeWalt DW618 three base router kits, along with about 8 other routers of various makes, types and sizes, but the DW618s are the ones that I reach for the most. You can buy a DW618 three base router kit for about $300 US. The set comes with an edge guide fence, which is not always provided in cheaper sets, but sold as an accessory.

For router bits, you will want a slot cutter for the knock-on edging. You will need to determine the size of it based on the edging choice that you make.
You will likely want a 1/4" spiral bit for cutting the curved window holes in the wood panels or similar work, and probably a set of router collets to guide the router around curved templates for cutting the window openings.
You may want a rabbeting bit. There are fixed size models, but the one that I like comes with different diameter bearings to allow different width rabbets to be cut.
If you will be making rounded or molded edges there are many choices depending on the style and radius that you want.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 03:43 PM
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You're probably talking about T-strip edging so what you'll need to look at is an arbor and slotting bit with bearing such as these by Wealden. They are purchased as a kit, the arbor is mounted in the router collet and holds the slotting cutter (which essentially works like a small saw to produce the groove) and the bearing controls the depth of cut.

Incidentally where are you going to source your T-strip from? I've only ever seen it sold in very large quantities (hundreds of metres)

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Phil
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hi phil. Thanks for your help. I can get edging by the metre from magnum motorhomes.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 12:05 AM
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Robert, members with good intentions often fail to read locations before responding; they forget we are world wide. Just about any router will do the job you desire. The biggest challenge you face is stability when making your groove cut. It is very easy to tilt the router and ruin the slot. In the U.S. there are many D handle routers and by keeping the handle over the wood you are less likely to tilt while routing with one of them. Any router can use a simple home made sub base to acomplish the same thing. By way of example lets say your router has a 6" round sub base plate. In this case you would cut an oval or a rectangle that measures 6" wide by 12" long; mount your router on one end and a handle on the other. When routing keep the handle over the wood with one hand and use the other on the router. This will greatly improve your control.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 03:57 AM
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...we are world wide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
In the U.S. there are many D handle routers and by keeping the handle over the wood you are less likely to tilt while routing with one of them. Any router can use a simple home made sub base to acomplish the same thing.
Yes indeed we are! (Worldwide) Mike, you actually can't get hold of D-handle routers very easily here in Europe, unfortunately. In the UK one of the few models available is the Makita 3601B which whilst it is a good robust tool is limited to single speed. I believe that B&Q (our equivalent to Home Depot) used to sell a Power Pro D-handle router but I haven't seen one in store for a while. So the choice here is normally a range of plunge routers. I agree wholheartedly with you that a sub base, such as this by Trend or the designs shown on Pat Warner's site, are a boon to accurate edge routing. For the benefit of the OP these arae easy to make oneself from pieces of polycarbonate (Lexan, etc) or acrylic (Perspex, Lucite, etc) and cost very little. They can even be knocked-up from 12mm plywood or MDF offcuts if (like me) you're being a cheapskate

For the benefit of the OP (and others) I looked up the supplier he quoted (Magnum) and found their T-cappings. They require a 8mm deep x 2mm high slot. For that you'll need an appropriate arbor, a 2mm slotter/groover and a bearing to give an 8mm deep slot (for Wealden's groovers that means a TB880). Total cost from Wealden for a typical 1/4in set-up (T3020 arbor, T5420 groover and TB880 bearing) would be 22.31.

On the issue of template routing I'll throw in my own take on this. I don't use guide bushes that much. Instead I tend to make up templates full size and use template guide bits with the bearing at the top, like these. They allow a direct plunge into the material (although it is better for the cutter if you pre-drill a starter hole slightly back from the edge of the opening) and the bearing is directly guided by the template. For one-offs and short runs they are much easier to use than a straight cutter and guide bush as there are no offset calculations to do (the template is exactly the same size as the cut-out or shape you wish to copy), however, more care is needed to use them as the plunge has to be made backed off a few millimetres from the template to ensure that the cutting edges don't damage the template (and maybe ruin the work). Pretty much the tool of choice in shopfitting and bar fitting over here these days. Replaceable tip cutters make a cleaner cut in plywood IMHO, but at a higher initial cost but be aware that they won't do plunge cuts. Despite that they are my own personal favourites

BTW thanks for the really useful supplier They also sell lightweight decorative faced poplar plywood which is so essential for vehicle interior fitting and is very difficult to source

Regards

Phil

Last edited by Phil P; 05-10-2011 at 04:19 AM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robjenko View Post
Hi phil. Thanks for your help. I can get edging by the metre from magnum motorhomes.
You might want to check with Magnum and see what size bit is needed for their strips. Some mouldings require a proprietary bit only available from the manufacturer.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 03:15 AM
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You might want to check with Magnum and see what size bit is needed for their strips. Some mouldings require a proprietary bit only available from the manufacturer.
When I ordered some parts for my trailer yesterday I happened asked the rep what size slot the 12mm and 15mm T-profile required. The answer was 7 to 8mm deep x 2mm wide. Always worth asking when you purchase, though, stuff changes all the time

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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Hi mike. thankyou for your advice it appreciated.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Phil. thankyou too for your advice too much apprciated. cheers Rob
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