Sommerfeld Router Bits and the Muscle Chuck - Router Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Default Sommerfeld Router Bits and the Muscle Chuck

There has been a lot of discussion on the Triton Router lately, and it's pluses and minuses, I have a question kind of related and thought I would start a new thread rather than lead the old ones in a different direction.

I have watched the Sommerfeld Cabinet Making videos, and am intrigued by the tongue-and-groove method of construction that he's demonstrating. He uses a Triton router in his videos and it appears to work well for his application. However, I have a P-C router in my Bench Dog lift and am pretty happy with it in the limited use I've given it so far, and really don't want to spend the money to replace it - no, while I realize that two router tables are better than one, I don't have room for a second one. I was a little concerned that the P-C might be a little underpowered compared to the 3-1/4 HP Triton, Marc assures me that the P-C will be fine as long as I'm not running it continuously.

Finally, to my question. The whole concept of the Sommerfeld router bits are that they are "matched sets" and can be swapped back and forth without having to reset the height every time. I did though read a review where the poster had problems with repeatability, and this was attributed to slight differences in the collet tightening torque causing the downward force due to tightening compressing the "O" ring a little differently each time. One other thought - the Triton has a spindle lock so only one wrench is needed to change out the bit. The P-C needs two, and I'm not sure if there is enough access from the top to allow changing the bits without raising the spindle and losing the depth setting. If I was to change over to a Muscle Chuck on this router

- without knowing how far down the chuck would be with the bit installed, would the opening shown in my router table (see photo) allow me to change out the bit installed in a Muscle Chuck without raising the spindle - assuming that I use the normal 90 hex key?

- I'm assuming that the "O" ring recommendation for the Sommerfeld bits is to give a consistent length of shank inside the chuck while not bottoming out the bit and so allowing the bit to move down (compressing the "O" ring) when the collet is tightened. Because the Muscle Chuck doesn't produce any downward force, could the bit be bottomed in the chuck to give a constant height? - although the "O" ring could still be installed I guess.

Without knowing how much the chuck winds up below the surface, I don't know how far down the lower (spindle) nut falls below the table surface, and whether the wrench has enough offset to reach down there - and I'm not sure that a wrench with more offset could be tilted in around the router bit. I've got enough spare P-C wrenches around that I could bend one to try it, although I guess I'd need to buy the bits first to get an idea of how far down the spindle nut would be.

Anybody have these bits that could give me an idea of how far the nose end of the collet winds up below the surface of the top? And any Muscle Chuck owners that could comment on whether the bit could be dropped to the bottom without a problem - or, probably as important, how deep the opening is in the Muscle Chuck so I could compare it to the length of the shank?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 11:43 AM
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I have own Sommerfeld tongue and groove set for a number years, using a hitachi 3-1/4 hp router, use a rubber grommet in the bottom,
This system works great i have never had problem with it, use it just like Marc tells you
I use this type rubber grommet, you could not squeeze down enought to make any differents.
Order the set from Marc if it does not work , call him he will make right!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 11:49 AM
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This cedar chest i used the tongue and groove system also used it on my router table
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Semipro View Post
I have own Sommerfeld tongue and groove set for a number years, using a hitachi 3-1/4 hp router, use a rubber grommet in the bottom,
This system works great i have never had problem with it, use it just like Marc tells you
I use this type rubber grommet, you could not squeeze down enought to make any differents.
Order the set from Marc if it does not work , call him he will make right!
John,

Thanks for the info, good to get some first hand feedback. A quick peek on the Internet shows that the Hitachi router has a spindle lock button like the Triton so no need for two wrenches - could you please give me a rough number as to how far the top of the collet is below the top of the table with the bit installed so I can get a feel for how far down the second wrench needs to be to hold the spindle on my P-C? Thanks.

Love the blanket chest, remember when you posted it a while back. Great job, and I like the way that the carving on the front sets it off.

Tom
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 02:34 PM
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I have several Sommerfeld sets and they are terrific. The grommet works great. Don't have a muscle chuck, so I can only speculate, but I recall that the tightening "nut" is toward the top and pretty easily exposed. I seem to recall it uses an allen wrench so reaching down with an L shaped wrench isn't likely to be much of a problem. You are correct regarding the fact you aren't tightening the collet, so the height should be stable. That should apply to your router as well. You can always drop the router down a bit to allow for the Muscle Chuck's added height. But you won't have to reach as far down to change bits since the allen "nut" is on the top.

As to reliable height from bit to bit in his sets, use the Yellow EasySet jig, which matches most of his bit sets, and a second one in red that matches similar sets from Freud. Set the first, change it out and check with the jig again until you're confident in the setup. I love the EasySet jigs and they're cheap. The fact they allow for the thickness of your workpiece makes them far more reliable and accurate. My experience so far is that his bits are top notch, stay sharp a long time and have plenty of carbide for sharpening (touchups only). I also have his Katey jig for cutting dovetails and like it and his dovetail bits a lot. Very easy compared to the conventional PC type jig. I like the boxes the sets arrive in as well.
@harrysin Harry Sinclare in Perth is the guy who turned me on to the Triton in the first place (while they were jumping from distributor to distributor in USA. He also uses a Muscle Chuck, and hopefully will comment--He'd know for sure. I have also interacted a couple of times with Marc Sommerfeld--very helpful and will be able to definitively answer your question. I do wonder whether using a Muscle Chuck in the Triton would eliminate the switch interlock step? Don't forget you have to do a little setup on the Muscle Chuck to make sure it's balanced.

BT
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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@DesertRatTom

Tom, Thanks for the input. The feedback on the Sommerfeld bits has been positive so far (and very highly rated on Amazon too) so I'll probably go ahead and make the buy. I really like the whole concept of the tongue and groove joint at the face frame, particularly that the edge of the face frame is flush with the face of the plywood. I used biscuits on the cabinet I'm working on at the moment, but hedged my bet by offsetting the slots in the back of the face frame by 1/16" (actually the thickness of a piece of laminate) and am having to deal with trimming the overhang flush - sure would be nice to eliminate that step. I was planning to buy his set-up fixture with the bits, not sure about his featherboard as I have a similar one that I bought from, I think, Peachtree Woodworking.

If the spindle nut winds up too far below the surface for the offset wrench, I'll go ahead with the Muscle Chuck - been looking at one for a while, but just couldn't justify the cost for a little bit of time saved. DeRosa Engineering is right down the road from here - about 30 minutes maybe, depending on traffic - so I may give him a call and see about dropping by to get my questions answered and pick up what I need.

Tom
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 05:10 PM
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John,

Thanks for the info, good to get some first hand feedback. A quick peek on the Internet shows that the Hitachi router has a spindle lock button like the Triton so no need for two wrenches - could you please give me a rough number as to how far the top of the collet is below the top of the table with the bit installed so I can get a feel for how far down the second wrench needs to be to hold the spindle on my P-C? Thanks.

Love the blanket chest, remember when you posted it a while back. Great job, and I like the way that the carving on the front sets it off.

Tom
Ok went to the shop install the tongue cutter adusted to work( from the top of my table to the top of the collet nut was 5/8
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Last edited by Semipro; 11-18-2017 at 01:41 PM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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@Semipro

John,

Thank you so much for doing that, I really appreciate the effort. 5/8" is good news as I think I'll be able to reach down to the spindle nut with the offset wrench. My next project is a pair of bookcases for my son and daughter in law, they'll have face frames on them and I plan on using the tongue and groove method to attach the face frames to them.

Tom
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