First timer questions - Router Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2009, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default First timer questions

Hi everyone. I apologize if this has already been discussed.

My dad recently gave me a brand new Ryobi router he's had for a while but never used. My primary interest in it is picture frame moulding, so I picked up a small table from Lowes.

I've only ran a few pieces through it with a straight bit, and I'm having difficulties keeping the wood from lifting up or away from the fence. Also, when I use pine or cedar, it splinters a lot. It's also extremely hard to push through.

Any ideas? Am I making beginner mistakes, or is this normal?

This is the first time I've used a router, on or off a table.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2009, 09:57 PM
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Hi Austin,

There are lots of helpful links and videos on the internet for first timers. Just browsing around this forum I am sure you will find many. Here is a good "router table basics" link I found helpful.
I am sure most of your issues are just beginner mistakes, we all make them. Just remember to keep your fingers a safe distance from the router bit at all times.
Pine and cedar are soft woods and tend to tear or splinter. If the wood is hard to push you may be feeding it too fast. If your router is a variable speed model, make sure you are using the higest speed for smaller bits.
I'm a newbie to woodworking myself, so I can't help you much but the guys and gals on here are a great source of information.
Google is also a woodworkers best friend
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2009, 11:28 PM
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Austin, the direction of feed is very important, and having sharp bits really helps. To help you get started stick to the simple 1/4" rule; never remove more than 1/4" of material at a time, make multiple passes to remove greater depths. By way of example: to remove 3/4" of material make 3 - 1/4" passes. A bit of reading and you will know how to deal with end grain and reduce tear our.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 01:35 AM
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Welcome to the forums Austin.

the "Doctor"

In woodworking there is no scrap, only firewood.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 09:15 AM
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A very easy way to stop the timber from riding up or moving away from the cutter, is to first rout a tunnel rebate, or as I think you call it over there, a dado in a piece of timber, this to be a little larger than the finished size of the framing, leave an aperture at the centre for the extraction of the waste, cramp it to the table surface at each end and push your timber through, this will give you a very good finish.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 11:06 AM
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AFC, many materials are very dry (cedar, fir) and splinter just breathing on them. Some materials are from fast growth trees and have a helter skelter grain pattern, (growth rings), moving all over the place as opposed to an orderly straight line grain pattern.
The mill cuts timber in to take advantage the material offered, from what part of the log and how the cut is taken will produce different quality grades, (plain or quarter sawn). Cutting against the grain flow even on tight growth ring patterns can cause chipping/splintering.

Material push, there is an optimum range at how fast or slow material should be moved past the bit. Too slow = burn, too fast = splintering, stress on the router and bit and may cause a bit to snap. Each species, (hardwood/softwood) and how it's cut will have its own speed, with practice comes confidence.

As mentioned sharp bits can make or break a cut, dull bits require more pressure to move the material and may burn it and again stress out the router. Always ensure when edge profiling that you have the bit turning into the wood instead of with it. Be very careful placing the material between the bit and fence.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 01:17 PM
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Deb, thanks for asking the question, I sure learn a lot from others questions as I have from yours. I knew some of the answers but not all.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 01:22 PM
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Howdy, and welcome.

If your fence has a T-slot for accessories, consider the use of feather boards (sometimes called finger boards) to hold the stock in position as it passes against the bit. You can buy commercially-made versions, or make them yourself. If your fence doesn't have a T-slot, get or make ones that you can hold in place with a couple of C-clamps.

- Ralph
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