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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Default Help lol


I'm new to routing and made my first cuts earlier which unfortunately didn't turn out so well. I've followed a few you tube videos in setting up my router but does anyone recognise why the ply is splintering this way? I tried it on a few other pieces of wood and it was consistent. It was a straight cutter plunged to approx 5mm.


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 01:44 PM
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Default Consider this Matt

Hi Matt and welcome,
There are four (4) considerations one should take into account while starting out to acquire routing skills: 1. Becoming familiar with the machine (the router), 2. depth of cuts, 3. speed of movement while making the cut, 4. sharpness of the bit/cutter.
1. FAMILIARITY of the machine-get yourself plenty of soft (pine) "practice wood" and try some "free-hand and straight edge guided shallow cuts (about 1/8th" deep then try these same cuts with harder wood. DEPTH of cut-it's always better if you make several shallow cuts (passes no less than 1/8th" deep) as opposed to a single deep pass. The cut is cleaner and the bit's/cutter's life is extended. 3. SPEED of moving the router as it cuts. Be aware of the stress you place upon the router while making a pass (initial or follow-up passes). The router will let you know if you are attempting to move it too fast through the cut via a different pitch in motor noise, loss of RPMs. or burning the wood. SHARPNESS of the bit/cutter. Dull bits/cutters will always result in a "shaggy" cut (especially with plywood), "Harry" edges is another indication of a dull bit/cutter along with signs of burnt blades and/or "shinny" leading edges along the blades' edges and/or tips (points). I prefer carbon bits/cutters as opposed to high speed steel (especially when working with the harder woods. They're more expensive but last longer if properly used. Hope this input will prove helpful to you.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 01:59 PM
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Hello Ron
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 02:37 PM
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Adding to Ed's description... there is an additional 5th consideration... "Knowing how to work with the material at hand."

Specifically, you are working with a plywood with a thin "Veneer"... If you use some blue tape to cover the edges of where you are going to route, Mark the edge with a pencil... Then score that edge (the veneer) with a craft knife (scoring the veneer), then you can cut it without all that tearout. Just scoring without tape would help. The tape would add extra support to keep the veneer from "lifting."

Another method would be to back the veneer by using an edge such as hard board at the edges, so that it acts as a zero clearance backer to help support the veneer and help it get cut cleanly. (To hold the veneer in place as it's being cut...)

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
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Last edited by MAFoElffen; 11-30-2013 at 02:47 PM.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 04:03 PM
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Thumbs up You SCORED a big one with me Mike

You know Mike, I've never tried it but I'll bet you are 100% RIGHT about, "score that edge (the veneer) with a craft knife" to get a pretty nice sharp cut. I'll bet with two (2) parallels scored appropriately one can achieve some pretty nice dados too?
Thanks Mike, IOU,

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 04:21 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Matt.

I see that Ed and Mike have already answered your question.

Veneered ply or MDF is prone to that result.

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

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the replies, some great feedback and areas for me to look at.

Best regards

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 06:46 PM
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A down cutting spiral bit would help too but I would make a smaller groove first so that the down spiral had a way to eject chips easier.

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 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 03:13 PM
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Matt if you look at the outside edge of your image you will see that they are also very chipped and that was most likely cut on a saw table so this makes me think that your material is prone to chipping, I would also look at how sharp your cutter is as a very sharp cutter should not rip the veneer as badly as that is torn, I also wonder what you are putting into that trench? I find it hard to see that your cutter is the true actual width of the material that you are going to insert and when I do this type of construction then I use a cutter that is not as wide as the material that is going to go into the trench and I then rebate the underside of the, shall we say a shelf, that is being inserted and this rebate would create a shoulder that not only sets the size of the unit but it also deals with the issue about the cutter not being the proper size of the inserted material, in your instance the rebate could cover the chipping if it was not too bad so if the chipping could not be fixed then you could rebate both sides of the shelf to help cover these face chips, when I work by hand then I do use a knife to score the work if I think that it will chip and if you were going to try this then you would have to get that cut very accurate with where your cutter was going to cut the trench, anyway if you are making a unit that you want to finish as a very nice item the consider using some different material as this chipping may be very hard to stop if the veneer is so prone to chipping, it should not chip like that if the cutter is very sharp and the material is good quality. N

Last edited by neville9999; 12-01-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 11:43 PM
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I think Mike nailed it. Typically Lowe's and Home Depot do not carry decent plywood. From the photo you can see how thin that veneer is. I just read a the reviews on some Lowe's plywood this weekend and they were almost all negative, due to the veneer thickness and brittleness. Most of your local lumber yards carry a better grade of veneered plywood and usually at about the same price. They supply the Pros, and the Pros will not tolerate that lack of quality. I buy from both but there is always a huge difference in what you get. The bad thing is most of the lumber yards aren't open on the weekends.

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