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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new here so this subject may have been discussed a million times, but hey, I'll open the door again. No doubt there are plenty of ways to true up a piece of wood or at least create a flat surface.

Over the past plenty of years I've built a number of bridges for my router to ride on, cutter down, where I wanted to create a perfectly smooth and flat surface to begin work with. Mill one surface and then turn it over and mill the other side to either just a parallel surface or to a specific thickness dimension. This has worked great for me where I have layered up a number of different woods (mostly scraps) for bowl blanks, jewelry boxes, and just to make usable wood rather than burn it.

Just another way to use the router. Questions? Just ask.
 

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Hi,

Would you mind expanding on the subject like do you do the crown side first or ? And what type of bit seem to work best..... How do you clamp things? How about a picture of your set-up?

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #3
New here so if I can figure out how to post pictures and what have you I'll post a sequence and some information. Give me a day or two to collect everything I need. Thanks for the reply and interest.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Milling with the router

OK, here goes. We'll see how far I get. I'm not sure what the order is that the files will upload but I assume it will go top to bottom in order or bottom to top in order so if something looks out of place try looking at it in the other direction.

All I've done is to build a simple bridge to straddle over an uneven piece of wood and run the router across it, creating a level surface. I used two pieces of really good plywood to make the bridge and then used the smooth side of hardboard as the surface which the router slides back and forth on.

I use a piece of plywood clamped to the top of my tablesaw. Two reasons here. First, when it's clamped down it is flat against a known flat surface, the top of the tablesaw. Second, when you put the uneven piece of wood on it, you have a surface you can screw into, allowing you to keep the piece from moving during the milling process.

With the router bit cutter side down, I adjust the cutter head down below the bridge just enough to touch the highest surface of the wood. Then move it and adjust it down to take maybe a forth of the material that will be removed. The more you try to mill off at one time the higher the chances are that it will come loose. I just take my time. Move the router back and forth over the wood surface until you've got a smooth surface over as much of the board as you can. Then adjust it down a bit and do it again until you've got the best you're gonna get on that side.

When you turn it over and secure it, decide what you want as your finish thickness dimension to be, and then set the router cutter head to that height off the hold down board. As you can see from the pictures, I made usable boards out of a tree branch. By first cutting it rough through the bandsaw and letting it dry, I think I got six usable pieces, all exactly the same thickness. You can see some of the projects I made with the scrap wood on my website.

On with the pictures. They probably show more than I can say in words. When I had bigger boards I just built a bigger or higher bridge. Have fun.
 

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Thanks for the details!

I'm a little unclear as to how you hold the wood down could you give a couple more details? I keep picturing the router bit hitting a screw!!!!!!!

Since this is a little more "raw" wood then I've ever routed does it seem to dull bits quickly? When I've re-sawn wood with the bandsaw it seems to dull the blade very fast. I know this a bit off the subject but sense you had a branch shown........

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Milling with a router

If you look at picture bridge_13a.jpg you'll see I secured the piece to be milled with small boards at the side. I try and never use clamp boards thicker than half the finished thickness of the piece being milled. In this picture it was 1/8th inch ply with wire brads. If you don't take more than you can chew at one time, it doesn't take much to hold things in place.

One thing I missed explaining was how to keep the piece from rocking on an uneven bottom for the first pass. I just use old business cards snugged up under the gaps. Just enough to keep it from rocking if it got loose.

As for the router bits, those shown in bridge_08a.jpg are probably two or three years old and miles of routing. For the most part, some light sanding after the finish pass and you're ready for stain. I've never had a carbide tipped bit go bad except for those I dropped. I don't own any high speed steel or hardened steel bits. Like anything else, you get what you pay for.
 

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I used a technique like this when making my first workbench. I didn't have a planer and I used a router with a 3/4" bit to flatten the top of a construction grade lumber bench top I glued up. I ended up sawzall'ing the whole shebang and I am in the process of making a proper back bench with 6 pull out drawers. Using this technique it was verrrrrryyyyyy tedious passing the router back and forth and it wore out my bit. I think a used 12" Delta planer was a good purchase. That being said, I think your technique makes sense for smallish hardwood pieces-not an 8 ft long benchtop like mine was.
 
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