Using a pattern bit? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default Using a pattern bit?

Tried using a pattern bit for the first time today and the results were horrible. Do you trim the wood so it is close in size to the pattern or just cut away with the pattern bit? I 1st tried to cut away with the pattern bit but ended up splitting the wood. Then tried trimming the wood on the band saw close to the shape desired and that was better but still not good. How do you guys do it?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 07:20 PM
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What kind of wood are you using? Some woods are worse for splintering than others.

What does your pattern profile look like? If the pattern is profiled so you have to cut against the grain that makes it difficult to control splintering.

Is the bit a new sharp bit or an older bit?

Pre-cutting the pattern on a band saw generally makes the routing go easier and faster with less splintering.

Last edited by oughtsix; 02-27-2015 at 07:30 PM.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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It is a brand new bit 1st time used, 1st piece of wood was Western Red Cedar, 2nd was Red Oak. Name:  ribbon-4x16 cropped.jpg
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This is what I was trying to make. I ended up cutting this on my scrollsaw.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 08:44 PM
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splitting the wood ya say...

look to a dull bit or too fast of a feed rate....
or both...
single flute... not so good...
two flutes.. they aren't cutting equally...

note:...
economy bits are known to have all of these issues right out of the package...

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 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 11:14 PM
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Time to switch from carpet tape to clamps, stops and crowders.
Moreover, if the work is breaking, it's time to switch to collars.
With collars the stress/pass can be so low that that there are no substantial forces trying to rip the work apart. E.g. dividing the work thickness into ten equal thickness passes renders very little tearout and rarely a busted part. If the cutter pathway is tortuous (cutting back on itself, e.g.), it may be the only way to rout it (in stages).
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 12:46 AM
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Western red cedar is the worst wood I know of for splitting grain. I work with it lots because it's one of our native woods here and plentiful. Saw close to the line, try what Quillman suggested, and maybe try reversing feed direction (climb cut). If you are only nibbling away at it and not taking much wood off you may be able to get away it.

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 #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 04:34 AM
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I can see how that pattern would be problematic for splintering. Oak also has a tendancy to splinter.

My best guess would be to try a spiral cutting bit instead of a straight flute bit to get more of a shearing action. I have never tried a spiral flush trim bit so I am just guessing that one might help.

How many pieces do you have to cut?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I was using a bearing guided 2 flute pattern bit, but started wondering before getting on here this morning if using a guide bushing and a straight or spiral bit would be easier. I have a couple of straight bits I can try but could get a spiral bit if I decide to try that. What would be better, a straight bit or a up cut or down cut spiral bit for hand held router?
I want to make about a dozen of these for now, may may more later, either way it is time to learn to use a pattern now. I ended up cutting the desired piece on the scroll saw and sanding the edges, but think a pattern ,might be easier and faster.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 10:15 AM
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Cutter design doesn't matter much for the short run, sharpness counts, however. And the largest safest, most practical (can get into the tighest radius) should be selected. Moreover, it should be as short fluted as the work is thick. Long cutters are risky, deflect and chatter the work.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 11:25 AM
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Bob, I do a lot of pattern routing and have tried many different pattern bits. The spiral compression bit made by Whiteside has produced the best results by far. Before getting this bit I had the same problems you mention but this bit has solved most all of them. I also like the upper/lower bearing feature because I can flip the pattern and piece over and rout from either top or bottom...and this helps a lot based on grain direction and wood type.
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