Slots in 3/4" poplar - Router Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Default Slots in 3/4" poplar

I am relatively new to using a router. Just bought a table a few months ago for some template routing, which has been going well with the occasional 'learning experience'. I would prefer to keep these experiences to a minimum if I can be educated before attempting to do something. That being said:

I need to cut a slot 3/4" wide and 2" long in a piece of 3/4" poplar. I don't know if the best method would be to do it on the table or with the plunge router. Also, I would like to know what the best recommended bit would be, so as to avoid any issues during the cut. I have a small set of about twenty bits, one of those being a double fluted 3/4" straight cutting bit. That seems to be the most obvious choice, but I figure I would ask someone with more expertise than me before I go ruining boards.

Thanks for any input.

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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 12:24 PM
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Welcome, SnapperTrx...

The dimensions of the poplar might drive your solution...what might they be...? and the intended location and orientation of the slot in the poplar...? Will the slot go all the way through the poplar...?

My preference on bit size is typically smaller than the slot to be made and multiple passes to get to the desired dimension...guided by a template or jig whichever is appropriate...

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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I am making a hand guard for a wooden sword. It is approximately 5" wide and 7" long (its a large sword). The slot will be straight down the middle, all the way through, and will be used to push the blade/handle combination through (which will be secured with a wooden dowel). I do not have a jig, but I am going to be cutting the edges of the guard using an MDF template, I could easily make a jig or template using some scrap MDF. Since I am fairly new to routing anything more than a groove and 45 degree edges, I am somewhat remiss to attempt this without some guidance, as I have hade some of my templates jump out of my hands during cutting. It's not a great feeling afterward, and its one I tend to try to avoid. Would you recommend the hand router over the table, then?
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for the additional info, Paul...

The most important thing you will master soon is securing the template or jig so that it does not escape. Double side tape, screws (if appropriate), pins, vice, etc...

5x7 piece is a little small for beginning work...you might consider making a frame to hold the piece on a bigger piece of wood base, then attaching the template to the frame. This would sandwich your 5x7 in a manner that a small router would then ride in to make your slot. You could also consider drilling holes at either end of the desired slot and then using a jig saw. Not everything needs to be done with a router.

You probably don't want to consider dropping the piece on the bit to make the slot although many of the most experienced folks on here would not have a problem doing that.

I would suggest a small compact router guided using the first method I suggested using a 1/2 straight or spiral bit to make the slot with multiple passes both for width and for depth.

I'm sure you will hear plenty of other ideas...weigh what you're told and pick the MOST COMFORTABLE method...

If you look in my uploads (View Nickp's Uploads under my avatar), 2nd page, you will see a jig I made for myself for doing just what you are trying to do. Other forms of the same thing will also work...you will hear from others...

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 02:32 PM
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Snapper

Still not quite sure what you are trying to accomplish with the "guard". Is it more like a hilt that will rest below the handle at the top end of the blade?

Since you need a piece 5" x 7" are your creating a slot through the long side or the short side?
Is it possible for you to start with a longer piece, then after you route the slot, cut it to the proper length?
If that is the case, and you have a long enough piece that will keep your hands well away from the cutter, you could drop the piece onto the bit, and use to stop blocks at either end that will determine your 2" length of slot.
If you do it that way, I would start by taking small cuts, no more than 1/16", and raise the bit slightly for each additional pass. Don't try to take a 3/4" depth all at once.

Can you post a picture of the sword and the workpiece so that we have a better ideal of what you're trying to do? You can post pictures directly from your computer before you have posts.
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. I will likely rig up some type of jig using the remaining MDF. The 'drop down' method you refer to is the one that game me cause to reconsider my options, as it seems like a bit of a risk for someone with my lack of router experience. It will take a little extra work, but I would rather spend the extra time in my garage than in the emergency room.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 03:22 PM
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Paul trying to cut that slot on a table is dangerous. The plunge is the way to go. Make sure that your 3/4 bit is designed to center cut. Not all bits are. You can use a bit that isn't designed to center cut if you pre-drill to the correct cutting depth. Spiral bits will center cut but they are more money and a 3/4 would be fairly expensive.

There is a jig I make for grooving that would work for you. It's a frame you build on top of a piece of panel board that uses spacers to center your work and then you use the frame to guide the router and the cut. There is a sketchup drawing in my uploads of the concept and I think there was a picture I took to give the basic idea. You access member's uploads by clicking on the uploads link below each member's user name. There is a link beside the pictures that will take you to the post they were originally featured in.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 05:30 PM
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Paul, all these gentlemen have plenty of experience. You will do well to heed their advice.

The last thing you need is a piece of wood sent flying out from under you to who knows where. Caution should always be the order of the day when dealing with anything to do with a router.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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You can see what I am attempting to accomplish from the attached image. In past builds I have drilled two holes at opposite ends of the slot then used a jig saw to cut out the material. The results have been sufficient, but less than stellar, as I am often left using a file to get rid of a lot of material that gets left over. A hole cut via a router and template seems like it would be much, much faster and smoother, but also inherently more, shall we say 'dangerous' to perform. These wooden knives are a much smaller format than my swords, which have 2" slots, as opposed to these, which only had 1 1/4" slots. I am attempting to find a way to speed up the process without putting my hands in danger.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 06:11 PM
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Welcome Paul to the forum and world of routers....
starting W/ this post you can have acess to the library and it it will take several posts...

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