What wood to use for test cuts - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2010, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Default What wood to use for test cuts

Hi all; I'm just beginning to get more serious about woodworking and I have been setting up my router table to do some raised panels. To run test cuts and make mock-ups I bought some standard 1x pine boards from a box store . (I had to go through the hole rack just too get two mostly straight boards with as few knots as possible and none on the edges.) Well, now I have very fine caked on saw dust in my lift and fence. Most of it came out, but I had to take a stiff brush or use my finger nail to get it to release. This is mainly on the in-feed side of the fence and lift. None of the hardwoods, clear pine, or MDF I have ran through before has done this. But then again, this was the most cutting I have done at one time before cleaning. I believe the caking of the dust was from sap that may have been in the pine. Could this be it? Or could the wood have had too much moisture?

Any suggestions on an inexpensive wood and source for test wood? I would like to use some kind of 1x instead of MDF or is MDF ok for test purposes? Thanks for any info or suggestions.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 02:33 AM
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You could use the mdf for your test cuts. Then just cut off the machined surface with table saw or miter saw to reuse for another test cut till you get it where you want it before using actual pieces. I don't prefer sappy & knotty wood like pine. Clear pine is usually ok. 1x material is usually measured out to 3/4" & mdf is cheap. I also use mdf for a backer or push block. If your build up is sticky then it probably is the sap from the pine.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 11:37 AM
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Craig,
If you are setting up for rails and stiles you should use a piece of the same lumber you are using for the rails/stiles. The reason being is the setup lumber should be exactly the same thickness as your rail/stile or the setup will be off.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 11:58 AM
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Craig, I just went through the same thing, for the same reason, yesterday. I used the pine for the big box store....not the cheap knotty pine, but the more expensive stuff....the setup blocks I made are really pretty good....I guess it was dryer, because I didn't have any build up like you described.....the project I am working on is being made out of the same pine.....
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 12:26 PM
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Craig,
If you are setting up for rails and stiles you should use a piece of the same lumber you are using for the rails/stiles. The reason being is the setup lumber should be exactly the same thickness as your rail/stile or the setup will be off.
Thanks George, Your right about using the some of the same type of material as project for joints such as rail & stile. I do the same. I do use mdf to test for depth settings on basic profiles but not for bits involving joints. There I use same material as project. So Craig buy extra to test before you machine finish parts for your rail & stile. You can keep trimming until you reach setting that works then make a setup block incase you have to remake a part down the line.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I will use the same wood I intend to use in the finished project. I just wanted to make a mock up as this is the first time I have tried raised panels. Mainly I wanted to get the technique down and see if my dimensions were correct before committing to more expensive wood. I guess, once you start using the better wood, eventually you will have plenty of extra to use for test pieces. At least that is what happens when I do woodworking. The more I think about it, I do believe that the buildup was sap. That will not happen again, next time I'll at least try and use clear pine or poplar. Thanks again....

Craig
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 04:58 PM
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Hi,

It is always best to use the same material intended for the project. The reason being, each wood type reacts differently when cut and or routed. It's just another reason as to why to purchase more than needed.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlord View Post
You could use the mdf for your test cuts. Then just cut off the machined surface with table saw or miter saw to reuse for another test cut till you get it where you want it before using actual pieces. I don't prefer sappy & knotty wood like pine. Clear pine is usually ok. 1x material is usually measured out to 3/4" & mdf is cheap. I also use mdf for a backer or push block. If your build up is sticky then it probably is the sap from the pine.
I use MDF too. It is very stable and uniform (mics great). Makes for a great jig to set up bits with. I am slowly adding phenolic jigs. I find wood changes too much over time.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 05:04 PM
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I use the same stock as the project.
Also, I don't recommend MDF. It has a tendency to dull the bits faster.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2010, 03:04 PM
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cgreene,
The build up, (caking) on the infeed side of the fence can also be from the general moisture content of the stock, (water). you should also see a build up on the bit.

Quite often sappy wood may feel a little bumpy to the finger tip. Even though you may not see anything, a look with a magnifier will show mini beads of sap.
As far as I can tell this happens more often with sun dried than kiln dried pine.

The only places I know of to sell lumber that's kept indoors and occasionally turned to cure properly is furniture shops/mills, everyone else keeps them outside. Even though they may be in sheds the ambient air is unconditioned.

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