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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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My apologies for the crude drawing I've attached...

I am trying to router a slot in a 3/4 X 3/4, oak. The slot needs to be about 5", overall length of piece is 9". The slot needs to be 3/8" and needs to go all the way thru the piece (3/4"). There will ultimately be a screw that will be loosened/tightened at the appropriate adjustment. Hope the drawing is self explanatory...couple of questions now...

1. What is the safest way to do this...meaning, do I drop the piece over the router, a little at a time, move the piece from stop to stop for the 5" distance, repeat...or different way...?

2. What is the best bit for this...? Straight, Spiral, etc...

3. Should I not be doing this on the table...? If not, how else...?

I am uncomfortable dropping the piece onto the bit using the fence as the guide...it seems I would lose control over the piece, no matter how slight the height of the bit into the piece...

Thought I would seek sage advice before running off on my own...not afraid of the routing but I do respect the need for caution for something like this...

Thanks in advance...Nick
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 04:30 PM
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I'd start with a larger piece of stock, something that can be secured to the bench. Mark the location of the cut. Use a plunge router and a edge guide. Route with a 3/8" bit. I like those spiral bits but I'm sure you can do this with a straight bit. Make 3-4 passes. Use sacrificial stock under the piece. Rip to final size after the routing is complete.

May the grain be ever in your favor.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 04:36 PM
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Hi I just finished a job where it had many such slots and I used a saddle jig with a template guide. You need a plunge router for this. In the past I have done as you suggested taking light passes with stops and feather boards. It was quite safe but Required a lot of passes to accomplish. If you are only going to make one piece it may be best. As long as you have proper feather boards it should control the piece.

Regards Bob
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 06:16 PM
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Nick your instincts about not wanting to drop your pieces onto a spinning bit is right on the money. It's far too dangerous with small pieces like that and I avoid it with large pieces although not everyone agrees with that.

I've tried an edge guide like Berry suggested but it is hard to keep it up against the workpiece. I have seen in router book where the author used the standard edge guide with a home made one on the other end of the rails which traps the workpiece securely between them. However, your pieces are pretty short so the clamps are going to be a problem and it needs to be clamped well using that method.

You need a sacrificial piece of panel under it so I would take 2 pieces of board or mdf the same thickness as your strips (let's call them spacers) and put one on either side of your strips and then screw down some more pieces on top of the spacers so that they are the same diameter as your router base and centered over your strips. You can do the same thing at the ends to block the work in and create stops. It will take a few extra minutes to get set up but it will go fast after and the grooves will be very accurate.

By the way, you can use a straight bit but it has to be a plunge cutting one. Not all of them are.

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 #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 12:11 AM
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Nick, you should have no problem dropping your material onto the bit until it cuts through and then moving it 5'. The ideal situation would be to do this on a longer piece and then cut it to length. This allows you to have more control of the piece while keeping your fingers away from the bit. This is how I made the through cuts on the plywood ski jig. Set your bit so it just cuts through the material.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 12:15 AM
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Another option is to build this simple morticing jig and attach it to your router. The plans are on the forums.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 08:04 AM
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I suppose the question is do you have to use a router on this job, personally I would cut two strips the width of the edges either side of the slot and another two the width of the slot, then glue them together such that you have the strip with the needed slot, obviously the lengths of the centre strips will determine the length and position of the slot. Use a good wood glue and you should have no problems. If you are tightening a wing nut or similar down on the piece use a penny washer to spread the load, just to be sure.
Whilst not the answer you were seeking you will be safer with this method.
Read fender washers for penny washers.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Berry, Bob, Charles, Mike and Alex...

Since posting I continued to think of what to do...I like the idea of a mortising jig as Mike suggested, in fact, I had started to build myself a jig (similar to Mike's photo) for shutter rails (adjustable, of course) and considered that it would do the job. Also working with a larger or longer piece and guide fence and then cut it down. Since it is only one piece I am making I finally decided to drill a 3/8 hole on the inside end and bandsaw in from the end and then put a "cap" on the end...that worked fine. By the way, the piece I am making is for an adjustable featherboard to use when I am standing the piece on its end for resawing or routing - I will post pictures when finished - credit goes to a video I saw on youtube)

I think ultimately I will finish the shutter jig and make sure it's adjustable enough to do these kinds of cuts (and mortises)...

Thank you all for the advice...I'm glad you guys and others that have posted so much about safety have influenced me to consider safety first, cut later...

Nick

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 09:23 AM
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Skinny stick, third pix down, may have your sample in it.
Done on this jig, sized as shown, not harvested.
Use the design as you see fit. Can be done with precision and safety.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 10:10 AM
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Nick, just so you don't regret the lack of advice: To do this, I have bored a through hole with a drill, placed the workpiece over the appropriate-sized router bit (set high enough to take a thin cut) with the router off, and routed the slot in successively deeper passes. The hole needs to be centered on the router bit when the router is turned on to avoid conflict and you should hold it firmly, as well. I would be interested to know if others think this unsafe.
Phil

Last edited by Phil Dalton; 03-25-2014 at 10:49 AM.
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