splintering when routing 45 degrees on cvg fir - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default splintering when routing 45 degrees on cvg fir

I am using clear vertical grain fir and will be routing a "lambs tongue" or 45 degree stopped chamfer on the corners. Since CVG fir has a propensity to splinter does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid or minimize this problem? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 04:16 PM
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I am using clear vertical grain fir and will be routing a "lambs tongue" or 45 degree stopped chamfer on the corners. Since CVG fir has a propensity to splinter does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid or minimize this problem? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
shallow climb cuts...

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-24-2014, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the suggestion. I will try that but am still a little nervous.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-24-2014, 11:51 PM
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Thank you for the suggestion. I will try that but am still a little nervous.
do you understand how to climb cut w/ a router???

A climb cut is when we reverse the feed direction, moving the wood in the same direction as the cutting edges are turning. The bit rotation no longer resists the movement of the wood but rather tries to accelerate it in the same direction you are moving it...

Set up controls w/ either bearings or guides to take no more than 1/16" off at a pass/cut...

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2014, 09:22 AM
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I agree with Stick. I don't like to recommend climb cutting because it can be dangerous if the router grabs too much wood and self feeds and pulls your hand into the bit. D fir and red cedar are both bad for splitting on the grain. If I have to go all the way around the corners, as in making a plaque, I'll often climb cut an inch on the corners first by nibbling away at them.

When you make a very shallow cut the cutting force of the bit is parallel to to the grain. When you take a deep cut the angle of force as the cutter exits the wood may be around 45* to the grain and is more likely to cause splintering. Sometimes when I am using my router table I'll set the fence for the final cut but hold the wood away from the fence on the first pass or two. This can help avoid splintering too. Hope this is helpful.

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 #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2014, 11:21 AM
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The splintering is going to happen in the direction of the grain. Just saying that most people look at the grain... but to confirm just take you fingers and while rubbing it along it back and forth feel how it catches.

There's another way to prevent any splintering or breakout... Take 2 strips of paneling (1/8" thick) to use as a sacrificial backing... and use double-sided tape to temporarily encase the edge you will route (adjacent sides). It will help hold it together as you route your profile. Use once, the excess on that sacrificial backing will be routed out of the way. So you can resue that backing on any of the same later profiles will take less time... and you have a visual guide of the profile.

I used to just use masking tape to try to keep it together... That somewhat works, but doing that gummed up my bits so bad that I spent more time cleaning that up than I did cutting the profiles. That doesn't work for me.

One tip- dress up your bit to make sure it's sharp. That does help on fir and hemlock.

On bearing guided cuts, I do use a climb cut (because any backing would throw the profile off) and yes there is a risk to that... I try to reduce that risk by using shallow depth of cuts until I get to the finish cut.

Fir is okay and cheap. Sure you wouldn't want to go with poplar or ash? Not much more in cost, but tighter grain...

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Default Splintering when routing 45 degrees on cvg fir

Gentlemen who responded to my original request, I apologize for not responding in a timely manner. Unfortunately I had to return to the UK to attend the funeral of my very dear sister.
In answer to the various suggestions etc. yes I do know about climb cutting and have a large dent in my garage wall that resulted from the "learning" process! I think this is the best idea so far but fear the process, even with light cuts because of past experience. I have considered gluing supporting pieces of wood to the two sides being cut to provide support during the routing process. I abandoned that idea because the work is 9 feet long and I was concerned about my ability to hold it in a stable position with smaller pieces of wood attached which would be removed later. I thought double sided tape would leave a weakness due to its thickness.
I do thank you all for these helpful ideas and have one of my own that I wish to seek advice on. Would it help to use a very low viscosity penetrating epoxy used on wooden boats to penetrate the cellulose cells and possibly cement them together to prevent or minimize the splintering? There will be four 45 degree chamfers along the 9 foot length with four "starts" and "finishes" to the cuts. Hence my concern. Also I have a total of 128 of these "cuts" to make so the risk of splintering and ruining large expensive pieces of wood is considerable. I hope each of you who have offered me advice will be patient and provide further council.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 11:25 PM
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I'm sorry to learn about your loss. There is no need for you to apologize.

There is a solution for the cuts that don't end at the end of the board. If you clamp a board to the edge of the 9 footer that is flush with the end of the stopped cuts it should prevent tear out in most cases and possibly all cases (I'm thinking about various grain orientations when I say that and the worst case would be where the grain runs 45* from face to edge or in other words the same as the bit is cutting). I would still nibble away at the end of the cut with several shallow cuts. This is similar to what Mike suggested above and as he pointed out the direction the grain is going is going to make a difference. The greatest risk, especially at the end of the board where you can't clamp, is if the grain is running deeper into the board. If the bit grabs the grain where you have that it can rip a substantial sized piece off. As I pointed out already, the deeper the cut the greater the risk because of the exit angle. If you are using a bearing guided bit it's easy to make several very light cuts.

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 #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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I think I will try this on a few scraps first. Thank you for the suggestion. Also any thoughts on the use of penetrating epoxy?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 12:25 PM
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I doubt it would penetrate deep enough to prevent tearouts if you are taking 1/4 to 3/8 off on your chamfer. It might help in a really shallow cut. It might cause issues if you want to use stain after too and possibly give a different sheen to a finish where it has been epoxied compared to where it hasn't been. But the only way to be sure is to try it on some samples.

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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