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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello one and all.
I'm obviously quite new here, have NEVER used a router and have some very fundamental questions that need answering before embarking on this journey.

I make little wooden training knives for martial arts.
I'm doing it all by hand now, and it can take anywhere from a few hours to an entire week to complete one.

I'm looking for an option that will save me time on the grunt work.
I saw a fancy table router set up at a show and I'm wondering if this is just such an option?

Can I use a router to quickly cut out a shape, again and again using some kind of pattern/template/jig?

Do I need any special equipment to do this?

I imagine it's a lot like inlay, but going all the way through the piece.
Any thoughts?


All help is most appreciated.
Thanks;
- Andrew Dodd
 

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Hi, Dodd: Welcome to the forum. Yes, you can do the task with a router and a template. You will also need the proper bits to do it with. A template could be made
by hand as you now make the knives. I would use either a hard wood or some decent plywood about 1/2" thick. the template should be sanded so the edges are exactly what you want, because any imperfections will show in the finished product. Cut blank material for the knives on a band saw or a jig saw leaving about 1/16th" around the perimiter. Use either a bit with the bearing above the cutting edge of the bit,
or use a bit with the bearing below the cutting edges. Two sided carpet tape can be used to attach the blank to your template and depending on which bit you use either the blank would be above or below your template. A starting pin must be used to safely get the blank to the bearing surface, it gives you a point to start the cutting
once you start the cut you can then more away from the pin and direct the material into the cutting edges of the bit. I would suggest you get a book on basic routing be fore attempting to do this, so that you can see how it is done.
Hope this helps, Woodnut65
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's very technical. I will read ait over a few times beforehand.

A note about cutting out blanks with a bandsaw. I've tried cutting out the whole knife with the bandsaw. It's TERRIFYING (Home made loud, rusty, and 26 years old now), and would like to simply cookie-cutter the shape using only the shiny new, safe router to do so, much as one might cut out holes in drywall with a rotary cutting tool.

Am I on the wrong track with this manner of thinking?
A CNC machine does it this way, i believe, and the difference between a CNC machine and my fantasy method is that I myself would be guiding the material rather than an expensive machine.

Again, am I anywhere near how it atually works?

My other option was to buy a scroll saw and a sander. then i would go MUCH slower, but not have to use multiple tools for each cut.
 

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Dodd said:
Hello one and all.
I'm obviously quite new here, have NEVER used a router and have some very fundamental questions that need answering before embarking on this journey.

I make little wooden training knives for martial arts.
I'm doing it all by hand now, and it can take anywhere from a few hours to an entire week to complete one.

I'm looking for an option that will save me time on the grunt work.
I saw a fancy table router set up at a show and I'm wondering if this is just such an option?

Can I use a router to quickly cut out a shape, again and again using some kind of pattern/template/jig?

Do I need any special equipment to do this?

I imagine it's a lot like inlay, but going all the way through the piece.
Any thoughts?


All help is most appreciated.
Thanks;
- Andrew Dodd
Welcome!

Do you have a picture of what these look like or a drawing with dimensions?

I know one could make something like this with a router but depending how how complex they are you might want to use a mix of tools or maybe make several piece that would fit together to do this. How real do they look? How many do you make? Give us somemore details please.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
reible said:
Welcome!

Do you have a picture of what these look like or a drawing with dimensions?

I know one could make something like this with a router but depending how how complex they are you might want to use a mix of tools or maybe make several piece that would fit together to do this. How real do they look? How many do you make? Give us somemore details please.

Ed
Nice tardis!

I have some pix, and I'll try to attach them.
I'm running a Mac with OS X 10.4, so things are still undergoing their usual 'upgrade' woes

They're currently anywhere from 6-10 inches with larger ones coming (which aren't exactly practical for contact training)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
pix of trainers:

Small one is 6 inches long; Hornbeam blade and purpleheart handle,
pinned with maple dowels

crossed ones are maple Blades with Walnut handle on the left and what i think is Black Palm on the right side. i don't actually know what it is because I got all the wood from the bin at a flooring store.

 

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They look great! Yes these can be done with a router and having the knife done as a real knife might be done makes it easier.

Do you own a plunge type router and guide bushings with short barrels and a bit that is designed for plunge operations? If so have most of what you need to do the job. It's a little to late tonight for me to fill in to many details..... But:

What you will be doing is makeing a pattern larger then the knife, how much larger depends on what bit a guide bushing you pick. Masonite that is 1/4" thick works well and is easier to sand and get smooth then thicker materials. You will want the overall size of the pattern to be large enough for you to keep the router flat on. You will need to have a backer board for the bottom that will allow you to do full depth cuts in the project wood. You will need a way to clamp the material and the template together and some way to keep the knife from moving after it is cut free. Since you have holes for the handle this should work for that part of it. Depending on how thick the blade is you might be able to stack the cuts???? If you do them one at a time then 1 or 2 passes should be all you need to get the knife to the basic shape.

If you have a table mounted router you could then round the edges of the "blade" with a round over bit.

The handles would be done in a like manor but since they are getting a little smaller then you want for safety you would do a set of them at a time with a couple of inches of wood betweent he handles that will be cut off after the cut out and rounding is done. This can be done using two cut outs or by "flipping" the stock around to do the second handle.

As always this is only one of several ways to do this.

If you need more details ask..... Want to do it a different way.... fine.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
reible said:
They look great! Yes these can be done with a router and having the knife done as a real knife might be done makes it easier.

Do you own a plunge type router and guide bushings with short barrels and a bit that is designed for plunge operations? If so have most of what you need to do the job. It's a little to late tonight for me to fill in to many details..... But:

What you will be doing is makeing a pattern larger then the knife, how much larger depends on what bit a guide bushing you pick. Masonite that is 1/4" thick works well and is easier to sand and get smooth then thicker materials. You will want the overall size of the pattern to be large enough for you to keep the router flat on. You will need to have a backer board for the bottom that will allow you to do full depth cuts in the project wood. You will need a way to clamp the material and the template together and some way to keep the knife from moving after it is cut free. Since you have holes for the handle this should work for that part of it. Depending on how thick the blade is you might be able to stack the cuts???? If you do them one at a time then 1 or 2 passes should be all you need to get the knife to the basic shape.

If you have a table mounted router you could then round the edges of the "blade" with a round over bit.

The handles would be done in a like manor but since they are getting a little smaller then you want for safety you would do a set of them at a time with a couple of inches of wood betweent he handles that will be cut off after the cut out and rounding is done. This can be done using two cut outs or by "flipping" the stock around to do the second handle.

As always this is only one of several ways to do this.

If you need more details ask..... Want to do it a different way.... fine.

Ed
WOW!

That's a really excellent and unexpectedly friendly response. thank you SO much.
I will try to answer your questions:

I do not yet own any sort of real power tools. My plan was to get a table mounted plunge router once I learned if it would work, and how.
In fact, all I know about table routers is what I saw at a demonstration at a wood showby the oak-park guys. It was inspirational. i now want to do a traditional japanese knife with all the fittings make entirely from wood, and then make the box.

now I'm ahead of myself.

the wood is 1/4 inch thick. i don't know how long router bits are, but I'd be willing to try stacking them if you think it would work.

I think using the handle mounting pin holes as a method of securing the knifes is my preffered choice in that matter.

The round-over bit is a good idea, but don't they have a bit that can round both sides at once? I ask solely out of curiosity.

Using a table, do I need a bit with a bushing on it? do they have a pattern-cutting bit with such a bushing? Do i need a 'pin router' arm for this?

My alternate methodology was to cut everything out with a scroll saw and then hand sand or get a belt sander for it. I am researching a table router hoping it might be faster to do the same cuts, and reduce the number of tools I need to buy initially.

Sorry about the questions. i'm rather excited about the possibilities, and I've just started a little web store idea to sell these things (which I clearly haven't found a method to manufacture yet.)

So thanks again. You help me make sense of all these myriad options which are often overwhelming.

- Andrew
 

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Dodd said:
WOW!

That's a really excellent and unexpectedly friendly response. thank you SO much.
I will try to answer your questions:

I do not yet own any sort of real power tools. My plan was to get a table mounted plunge router once I learned if it would work, and how.

If you have the $$ I would go for a combo plunge and fixed base router.
In fact, all I know about table routers is what I saw at a demonstration at a wood showby the oak-park guys. It was inspirational.

They sure are! I use to look forward to Sundays at noon but my local PBS replaced them about 6 weeks ago. I wrote to complain but I guess not enough of us did so now the Chicago market is without a good router show.
i now want to do a traditional japanese knife with all the fittings make entirely from wood, and then make the box.

now I'm ahead of myself.

the wood is 1/4 inch thick. i don't know how long router bits are, but I'd be willing to try stacking them if you think it would work.

A 1/4" is not much for a router.... you could stack 2 or 3 without problem.

I think using the handle mounting pin holes as a method of securing the knifes is my preffered choice in that matter.

The round-over bit is a good idea, but don't they have a bit that can round both sides at once? I ask solely out of curiosity.

They do make bits that do that but sometimes it is easier to just flip the pieces over and do the other side.....

Using a table, do I need a bit with a bushing on it? do they have a pattern-cutting bit with such a bushing? Do i need a 'pin router' arm for this?

Again there are a lot of ways to do this..... and a lot depends on the equipment you get. The descriping I gave before was using a plunge router "hand held" for the shape and the table mount for the rounding.

My alternate methodology was to cut everything out with a scroll saw and then hand sand or get a belt sander for it. I am researching a table router hoping it might be faster to do the same cuts, and reduce the number of tools I need to buy initially.

Scroll saws will be slow compaired to a router but the bit in the router limits you to rounded corners which you might have to square later????? I would also look to make a stack of knife blanks, you should be able to cut many at a time...... I have cut some plywood blanks that totaled about 1- 1/2".

If you wanted to sand these I would be thinking about a spindle sander and maybe a strip sander rather then a belt sander.....

Sorry about the questions. i'm rather excited about the possibilities, and I've just started a little web store idea to sell these things (which I clearly haven't found a method to manufacture yet.)

So thanks again. You help me make sense of all these myriad options which are often overwhelming.

- Andrew
A few more things for you to mill over included above.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's a lot to mill over. In the meantime, here's what I've done:
I bought a cheap scroll saw, leaving me time and money to study how a router works before making a sizable investment therein.

The scroll saw is quite versatile for the simple job I'm doing, but it is a little slow, or I suppose I'm a little slow.

Now for the god part: Are there any books, video or other learning materials for router use that I absolutely can't live without on the road to learning to use this piece of equipment as a tool?

Given the number of posts you have, I'll assume you have a great deal of experience, and concequently wisdom to share.

thankyou for all the wonderful information you've provided thusfar, BTW.

Cheers;
- Andrew
 

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Dodd said:
Now for the good part: Are there any books, video or other learning materials for router use that I absolutely can't live without on the road to learning to use this piece of equipment as a tool?

- Andrew
Oh yeah, there are so many books out there on the use of the router. If you go to barnesandnoble.com and search router you will get lots of books. Also oak-park.com have books, videos and dvds to show you all the great things you can do with the router. Cheers! :D
 
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