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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have never used a router table before this week and it's been decades since I've used a router at all. My goal is to create a small production shop. If things work out, I'll improve the quality of equipment, but for now, everything I have is pretty much entry level. (I posted some of my equipment in my intro.)

I've begun a project and have routed several piece from a template/pattern I've created. I've learned a few tips from here that will be helpful, but I'm still concerned about safety...and the occasional kickback, pull-in. I upgraded bits from a $2 bit to a bosch flush trim 3/8" x 1" (bearing on bottom (opposite shank), but am still nervous...I want to keep all my fingers. . I found a pattern routing jig on the Fine Woodworking website I think will be helpful, but the shape of my piece is such that it may still be difficult to hold down....and I may have to create multiple jigs for this one piece. The fewer the better. It is an 11" x 6" (overall) h shape with a brace between the legs of the h - an oval cut-out creates the brace - this is the profile of a chair). I currently drill 3-4 holes with a spade bit before placing the piece over the router-this can be a bit tricky...and I've had some troubles on a couple pieces. The width of this piece averages about 5/8".

I'm using 1/2" Baltic Birch for both my template and the finished product. I have some 5/8" as well, but nearly everything on the router will be done with 1/2". If I make a form of the jig mentioned above, I'll need to switch to a top bearing router bit...but due to the odd shape, I'm interested in ideas to keep my fingers safe and the piece secure....there may be days that I need to duplicate 10-20 or more of these at a time. I have another small item that has a curve on 3-4 sides of a rectangle approximately 4-1/2" x 5-1/2". I think a single toggle clamp would hold this one...so I'm not as concerned.

Before I write a book, I guess my questions are as follows:
  • 1. Do you think the above mentioned pattern jig would work for these items?
  • 2. Do you think I need a separate jig for each side?
  • 3. Are there any other safety or production concerns that I should be concerned about?
    • 4. I've been trimming the waste with the scroll saw to within 1/8-3/8" of the finished piece. Should I use a larger (wider bit than the 3/8"?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. I've thrown a lot out here...it's difficult for me to explain without offering a lot of details...I jumped in and got started...but if I'm going to be duplicating a significant number of pieces, I want to be both safe and efficient.

    Blessings,
    Eldon
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
If there is an area of the site I've missed that has info on these questions, please point me to it...I'll continue to peruse...perhaps I've missed something. Thank you!
 

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Elrod,
So you've got a pattern and pattern bit and a router, you now need to temporarily fix the pattern to the piece you need shaped, how you do this is up to you, I have used hot melt glue for many years for this just a few blobs, cutting patterns is far easier with a bottom bearing bit mounted in a router table, much safer and no chance of kickback, but if you are without one them you must do it freehand, use bench dog to hold down one end and rout to as far as you can, then turn around, always remember to rout in the proper direction, that is with the bit biting into the timber as you pull backwards.
 

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Have you ever considered a collet system like on porter cable routers for duplicating pieces? You can get base plates for all routers now, I've found them simple and useful with templates for cutting out shapes.

I'm making some business card holders using 1/2" thick red oak and since every piece is the same width and thickness I have made a jig that all I have to do is slide the wood into the jig clamp it make 2 passes since oak is fairly hard and also since there are tight inside corners I have to get into, but anyway I can do quite a few in no time and perfectly the same.

Safe, simple, easy. Let me know if it might help or interest you and I'll try to upload some pics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Elrod,
So you've got a pattern and pattern bit and a router, you now need to temporarily fix the pattern to the piece you need shaped, how you do this is up to you, I have used hot melt glue for many years for this just a few blobs, cutting patterns is far easier with a bottom bearing bit mounted in a router table, much safer and no chance of kickback, but if you are without one them you must do it freehand, use bench dog to hold down one end and rout to as far as you can, then turn around, always remember to rout in the proper direction, that is with the bit biting into the timber as you pull backwards.
So far I'm affixing the workpiece to the template with 4 screws. This works good on the "h" shaped item because I use the screw holes to attach it to another part. However, on other pieces, I'm thinking a jig and toggle clamp should work...maybe 2 jigs for an oblong/rectangular piece...or one jig with "keys" to alllow for easy adjustment between sizes.

I'm afraid the glue would peel the veneer on the plywood if near the edges and not sure how well/tight it would hold. Perhaps I could sand it off, but I'm not sure it would work in a production application. It's worked for you, so maybe I'm misunderstanding...or haven't clearly explained my application. Thank you for sharing you tips...always appreciated whether I can use them on this particular project or not! :thank_you2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you ever considered a collet system like on porter cable routers for duplicating pieces? You can get base plates for all routers now, I've found them simple and useful with templates for cutting out shapes.

I'm making some business card holders using 1/2" thick red oak and since every piece is the same width and thickness I have made a jig that all I have to do is slide the wood into the jig clamp it make 2 passes since oak is fairly hard and also since there are tight inside corners I have to get into, but anyway I can do quite a few in no time and perfectly the same.

Safe, simple, easy. Let me know if it might help or interest you and I'll try to upload some pics.
Thanks...it sounds interesting. I may have a use for it...it may be similar to what I'm looking to make. I'll have to look up the collet system. I'm not sure how it would work. Does it require a smaller template to create a larger finished piece? I may have forgot to mention, I'm doing this work on a router table. Again, I apologize for any ignorance...I'm new to the game. :blink:
 

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Is it something you feel you have to do on a table?

Not quite sure what exactly your trying to accomplish but would like to know, please explain, that is if it's not a trade secret, I'd like to help for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No trade secret...I just need two more posts and I'll post a picture of the item I'm most concerned about right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is it something you feel you have to do on a table?

Not quite sure what exactly your trying to accomplish but would like to know, please explain, that is if it's not a trade secret, I'd like to help for sure.
I think it would be more difficult to do with the router overhead. I need to cut 360 degrees around the piece...and completely relieve it from it's original spot. I'm using a flush trim bit to do so. I've looked at some people's "skis" on here and though they look like their good for engraving, I'm not sure how efficient they would be for what I'm doing. Again, I"m new to this...and not aware of all the techniques. I want to do many of the same piece...so I'd like to be able to duplicate them fairly quickly...maybe 5 minutes each if that's reasonable. I'll take a pic and post it soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Here is the piece I'm attempting to safely duplicate. There are smaller pieces around 4"x5", but the odd shape of this is what's tricky. I can see where an overhead might be good for the center, but if I can stabilize the piece I think the table should work fine. I'm just holding it with my hands right now though...grabbing the table with my pinky fingers in some cases to keep from getting them dragged into the bit if it grabs. I'm thinking of switching to a top bearing bit and using one of the jigs I've seen with toggle clamps and "pockets". I think they'll be a bit slower...but safer. I just wonder if there's another way...or if they would even hold down a piece like this...or how many jigs it might take to do a piece like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks bobj. This looks interesting. One more thing to research. I'm wondering how I would mount the piece to be routed without damaging it to keep it perfectly still. I looked at a couple pics and the theory looks good, but clamping again seems like it would be a challenge. Have you ever used one?
 

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Lookin at the pieces , They do not look to big and I may be wrong here but what about tracing on the stock piece and cutting with a scroll saw then dress up with router ? Might take a little bit longer but I could be way off base just thinking
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks papa. That's sorta what I do now...cutting within 1/8" in some cases. I could take my time and cut closer...still requires getting the piece on the router for "clean-up". I do think your idea would be safer, albeit quite a bit slower...but would still require I put it on the router...though with less "meat" to grind. I think it would be less accurate piece to piece if I traced it. Maybe I'm more obsessed with speed than I need to be '-)

So far, I'm thinking my best solution is to try and trim a little closer and then use either a small parts jig. This will require I turn it several times and clamp it several times, but as long as there's not too much horizontal pressure, I'm hoping the toggle clamp would hold. I've never used toggle clamps though and just not sure how strong they are in keeping something side to side. The adjustable "pocket" should help. I guess I'll just have to try it and see. Maybe a 1/2" top bearing bit will also help on those meatier areas where I don't get as close with the scroll saw.

I think the pattern jig I found on the fine woodworking site will work for the other pieces which just have basic arcs...but these shapes require a little more attention and holding power...make me nervous. I may start cutting out the centers with a scroll saw and leaving minimal work for my router to finish.

I do appreciate all of the feedback. I've learned something and been able to look at the project from a different angle from each post. If I had a couple/few grand to spend...I'd just buy a cnc machine...but then what fun would that be? :)
 

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Hi Eldon

I have used it many times for about the same thing as your chair, I stick the part down with GOOD DSCT "tape" and I need to use a pry bar to get it free from the MDF back up board, no need to use a bearing on the bit just a good 1/4" bit, if the blank is 1/2" thick or less the bit will do it easy with a pass or two...so to say no need to precut it on a scroll saw or band saw..plus with tool you can make the project bigger or smaller if you want..

It came with a 1HP router when I got it but I put a VS Roto-Zip tool on it, so can use the small bits without cooking them...1/32" and smaller and up to 1/2" in diam.

Just a note, Mark is working on some things so I can upload the BIG PDF file ( Manual) 17mb it shows how to use the tool for many things, so to say keep checking the manuals for it..
It's a great little tool for many router jobs..i.e. sign making for just one of them... :)



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Thanks bobj. This looks interesting. One more thing to research. I'm wondering how I would mount the piece to be routed without damaging it to keep it perfectly still. I looked at a couple pics and the theory looks good, but clamping again seems like it would be a challenge. Have you ever used one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Bob! I'll have to keep an eye out for that manual...and one of these. Do you know of any alternate manufacturers that currently make this? I would imagine I really wouldn't have to worry about it much because I could screw the the template right to the backer board and it could stay there permanently...I'd just reclamp the backer board and all whenever I wanted to use it.

I also have a rotozip I'd love to put to use if it's capable. I bought it for drywall a few years back and used it once. If the router and bit will plow through the solid 1/2" baltic birch I use and leave a decent finish this seems like the best option so far. I'll keep my eyes open for one of these. Are you aware of any other manufacturers? I like it!
 

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Hi

Not like this one but you can find bigger ones on eBay that will copy most anything....but they are not cheap..

Wood Carving Duplicator * SPECTACULAR! Carves in 3-D - eBay (item 130498706971 end time Apr-16-11 19:42:50 PDT)

The Sears one is made in the KISS way, not to many parts but it works very well, pulley and some rod and cable very simple.

here's snapshot of the parts..

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Thanks Bob! I'll have to keep an eye out for that manual...and one of these. Do you know of any alternate manufacturers that currently make this? I would imagine I really wouldn't have to worry about it much because I could screw the the template right to the backer board and it could stay there permanently...I'd just reclamp the backer board and all whenever I wanted to use it.

I also have a rotozip I'd love to put to use if it's capable. I bought it for drywall a few years back and used it once. If the router and bit will plow through the solid 1/2" baltic birch I use and leave a decent finish this seems like the best option so far. I'll keep my eyes open for one of these. Are you aware of any other manufacturers? I like it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
not cheap is right....wow! I found some others for similar prices. It seems like a pretty simple setup...like something I should be able to find at HF for about $200. I just posted a want ad on CL...I'll keep a lookout. Thanks again. your help is much appreciated.
 

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Hot melt glue will hold, it will not peel veneer, and any residue left can be removed very quickly with methylated spirit without affecting the surface finish, I've been doing it for nearly 20 years.
 
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