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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Default Router hazards

Hi. Just wanting to get my feet wet here. The first power tool I ever bought was my Craftsman router. I was 16 and still can't explain why I bought a router before owning a drill or even a power saw. Still have the same router today but I have only used it on occasion over the past 25 years. I'm looking to build a guitar and have noticed some guys warning that a router is too dangerous to warrant it's use in building guitars.
I'm not so much worried about the efficacy of routers in building a guitar as much as the fact that I never though of a router being any more dangerous than other power tools.
Can someone tell me a few basic things to keep an eye out for regarding hazards that may come along with using routers?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 08:59 PM
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Mike,

Compared to most other power tools - routers run at tremendously high RPMs. Certainly you can get hurt with any power tools - but routers running at high speeds really tend to be dangerous. Think of it like a motorcycle - you need to always be aware, hold on tight, and plan all of your moves in advance MAKING CERTAIN TO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT CAN GET YOU HURT. In about the 7th or 8th grade many of us learned in basic physics about gyroscopes. The tendency of gyroscopes is to stay on-path. Be acutely aware of this if you ever take spinning (hand held) router off of the workpiece. They can and often do have a "mind of their own". Actually, very rarely would there be a legitimate need to do this - but it is something that has gotten many people hurt.

I am by no means musically inclined. I cannot even get a radio to work right and our church choir director asked me to never come back, but I am going to guess that the danger of working on guitars with routers might be: guitars could possibly be difficult to clamp into a fixed position and routing really thin pieces of wood can be very awkward.

And...OH YEAH, Welcome to the Router Forums - where safety is a priority. Good luck!

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 09:05 PM
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welcome mike!

it is as dangerous as a table saw? no
is it more dangerous than a jigsaw? yes

the thing that makes a router more dangerous than, say a jigsaw, is that the router spins at 20-30 thousand rpm, and you can get kickback from it if you use it incorrectly.

the kickback may be more of an issue if you are using it in a table, but should you get kickback, it is a violent event. it can grab the piece and throw it across the room, and it can pull your hand into the bit if your hand is close enough to it when it grabs the wood.

also, if used incorrectly, you can break a bit. imagine what it might do if you broke a bit that was spinning at 25,000 rpm. i would definately not want to be in its path.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 09:07 PM
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Welcome to the router forum.

Thank you for joining us, Mike.

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I don't profess to know everything, and I may learn something new.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 10:46 PM
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Hi Mike
A little about a router. I'm sure some of this has been covered. A router is a very valuable tool in your wood working arsenal and very effective when used properly. When used improperly it can be a very very dangerous tool. Like mentioned it spins at a rate of 15,000 to 30,00 rpm. Imagine a small piece of carbide breaking off at any speed, there is noway of knowing where it is headed. Yes I have a bit throw it carbide tips due to bad brazing. Not a fun thing to go through. One piece was still in the wood, no idea where the other went. Like a table saw, it will cut you fast, and deep. So safety is of the utmost importance. If you are not familiar with using a router, have an experienced woodworker show you the proper way and techniques. Used properly it is a very valuable tool. It can do many things. Learn how to take smaller cuts leading to deeper cuts, they are done in steps. Safety glasses and hearing protect are required, and it wouldn't hurt to wear a dust mask. Someone mentioned about kick back, trust me you don't want to be in the path of that wood. When it happens it is very violent. Think of a table saw that kicks a board back at you, and table saw blades spin at approximately 4,000 RPM. The wood flies and is not controllable. If you are new to this, or unsure, find a resource to learn the proper way and usage. It will turn into a life time of safe usage and many pleasurable projects and memories.

Last edited by WayneMahler; 06-19-2012 at 10:48 PM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalon7 View Post
Hi. I'm looking to build a guitar and have noticed some guys warning that a router is too dangerous to warrant it's use in building guitars.
I'm not so much worried about the efficacy of routers in building a guitar as much as the fact that I never though of a router being any more dangerous than other power tools.
Can someone tell me a few basic things to keep an eye out for regarding hazards that may come along with using routers?
Can you tell us what exactly was considered dangerous to do in guitar building? I haven't seen too many, if any, router use problems that can't be solved.

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 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 09:21 AM
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I'm glad there are plenty of level headed woodworkers on this forum. I have used my router enough to experience most issues regarding kickback, the Gyroscopic effects, etc... The flying carbide pieces is the thing that has crossed my mind, really that is what I was afraid some guitar builders might referring to regarding dangers of using a router.
I have been known to buy cheap bits.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 01:09 PM
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Mike,

As someone who has been 'bitten' by a router, remember that it is a power tool like all the others. Unplug when making any adjustments. I learned that one the hard way, and believe me it's not very fun.

One of the biggest dangers is letting the 'safer' tools make us complacent. Even a screwdriver can lead you to get stitches if you don't give it the respect it deserves!

Doug
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 04:30 PM
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I use my router for almost every bit of woodworking that I do. I do have it mounted in a homemade table, which I think adds to the safety of using one. I also use patterns, or templates, whatever you want to call them, and pattern bits, the straight ones, with a bearing on the end. The only real problem I have had is the bearing seize, come off, then the bit bite into my wood AND pattern, making it necessary to make a new pattern. I have found that a couple three drops of Marvel Mystery Oil on the bearing before starting seems to extend the bearing life immensly.

My patterns are two 1/2" plywood pieces laminated, giving a solid piece to hold on to. However, if you are routing a small piece, that's where you can run into real problems. For the small pieces I prefer making the pattern with a handle or something to grasp on larger than the basic pattern to hold it, rather than my fingers. So far that's worked very well. I've got chess piece patterns with basicically a handle on each, and I can route out small chess pieces with no issues at all.

As for use in guitar making. Well, I would have no issues with it. I'm about half way thru a banjo build, and the router is used. But, like I say, I make patterns for my routing. And welcome.

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