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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tried router carving today, for the 1st time. Used a compact router with a V-groove bit on a paper template; it carves alright, but I spent thrice as long on cleaning up the grooves with a creatively shaped sandblock. Is there a dedicated bit for carving, barring CNC ?


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Mike
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Pictures would be a big help in trying to figure out what the problem might be.

It might also be the wood you used for the project. If it is softwood then you might get some tearing instead of cutting leaving a lot of cleanup. If it is in large open areas then the stepover could be the problem so you might need to use an end mill to clear the bottom of the cut.
 
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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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60º and 90º v-bits work well for sign making, I carved a lot of signs freehand before I got my CNC. As Mike says, it may the wood. The white mystery wood from the big box stores often has problems. Cedar fence boards carve easily and cleanly. Both of these signs were freehand carved from cedar using a v-bit in a Dewalt compact router. Perhaps you need a sharper bit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
60º and 90º v-bits work well for sign making, I carved a lot of signs freehand before I got my CNC. As Mike says, it may the wood. The white mystery wood from the big box stores often has problems. Cedar fence boards carve easily and cleanly. Both of these signs were freehand carved from cedar using a v-bit in a Dewalt compact router. Perhaps you need a sharper bit?

It’s not the tearout, more like an inability to produce a clear, flat bottom carving. Had to take multiple passes and then chisel and sand the edges and the groove itself to make it look somewhat satisfactory. It’s also not the bit, because that’s the 1st time I used it. Tried it on pine, will post pics later.


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Too high a moisture content in the wood could cause a poor finish. Wet wood tends to be a bit stringy.
 

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Mike
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It’s not the tearout, more like an inability to produce a clear, flat bottom carving. Had to take multiple passes and then chisel and sand the edges and the groove itself to make it look somewhat satisfactory. It’s also not the bit, because that’s the 1st time I used it. Tried it on pine, will post pics later.


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From that, I would say you are having problems because of the small stepover you need to clear the bottom of the pockets. They do make V-bits with flat bottoms that would help you get a cleaner cut at the bottom of the pocket like these

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QPYCP4...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W681QK...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000P4O9N...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
 

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Mike
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Oliver I believe the white mystery wood from the big box stores is Aspen. I use it for some of my Dogwood Crosses to get the pure white color and it takes a lot more sanding than anything else I use.
 
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Mike
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Looks like you had a little bit of tear out in a couple of places. Of course, we don't know what the bottom looked like before it was cleaned up but a flat tip v-bit will help a lot.
 
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The wood appears to be pine which should rout okay in most cases. Part of the problem may be that you aren't able to hold the router steady enough. I found that when routing signs hand held that anchoring one hand down on the material and swinging the router into the cut with the other worked best for me. Since I'm right handed, anchoring my left hand works better. Basically I just swivel my wrist on that hand. I don't get much range of movement but I'm able to maintain better control than trying to swing the router around with both hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The wood appears to be pine which should rout okay in most cases. Part of the problem may be that you aren't able to hold the router steady enough. I found that when routing signs hand held that anchoring one hand down on the material and swinging the router into the cut with the other worked best for me. Since I'm right handed, anchoring my left hand works better. Basically I just swivel my wrist on that hand. I don't get much range of movement but I'm able to maintain better control than trying to swing the router around with both hands.

I clamp the workpiece down before working on it. Maybe it’s the router itself, mine doesn’t have an LED.


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Tried router carving today, for the 1st time. Used a compact router with a V-groove bit on a paper template; it carves alright, but I spent thrice as long on cleaning up the grooves with a creatively shaped sandblock. Is there a dedicated bit for carving, barring CNC ?


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Take a look a these bits. Sold specifically for sign carving.
Sign carving bitshttp://https://www.makeawoodsign.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=4
 

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I clamp the workpiece down before working on it. Maybe it’s the router itself, mine doesn’t have an LED.


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It's not the sign moving on you I was referring to but the router dancing around during the cut. Even a small router is hard to hold onto when it catches grain. Being able to see what the bit is cutting is important. You need good light. And unless you are cutting one pass then leave a small amount of wood on the first pass and make a finish cut. The router is easier to control if it's only taking off a sliver.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's not the sign moving on you I was referring to but the router dancing around during the cut. Even a small router is hard to hold onto when it catches grain. Being able to see what the bit is cutting is important. You need good light. And unless you are cutting one pass then leave a small amount of wood on the first pass and make a finish cut. The router is easier to control if it's only taking off a sliver.

Ah, gotcha. That’s how I was trying to do it, with both hands on the router. I think I just need way more light on the cut. Will definitely heed your advice on the shallower cuts.


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@OutoftheWoodwork Has Barb checked in on this string yet? She does some very nice freehand signs and is pretty darn practical. I haven't made signs, but I think holding on to a router itself is not a good idea, so I'd want to use a plunge base at least. Barb also prints out a computer image of the sign and uses some kind of oil to transfer that to the wood.
 

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