I agree with Glenmore - sounds like dull bits to me too - or else you're routing your passes wayyyyy to slow (doubt that) - I believe there are some power sharpening devices out there but have never used one - I'd be leery of trying with a file by hand - for me, I'd replace it - and the ones that would seem too expensive to replace are the ones that might the biggest disasters to file (like panel bits, lock miters, etc). Maybe someone who has used the power sharpeners would have some insight for you?
Hey here's my take on this. And it is really no different then what other have said. My first guess is that the bit is really dull, if it is HSS and got hot enough to burn the wood the edge is most likly in really bad shape and a new bit would be well worth it. If it a carbide bit it could be sharpened but by the time you find some place to send it in to have it done it might cost as much as a new bit........ bottom line get a new bit.
It sounds like you might be trying to do wood burning and signs at the same time... so now comes a few other things that can cause problems, things like not using a plunging style bit, this would mean the burning occurs when you start the cut but clears up as you are moving along. You could be moving to slow, taking your time to get the job done might mean doing it in two passes or three rather then one deeper slow one. This leads to just how deep are you trying to do in a single pass.... to deep is not good.
The other problem could be the material you are routing. Some materials are very hard to work and dull tools very quickly.... This is also an issue with what type bit you are using, HSS will dull much faster then carbide and things like glue really dull those bits quickly.
Just for the record grinding bits is not something most of us will ever do, some bit have very complex angles and rakes that take fancy machines to deal with. A standard file is not going to touch up a carbide bit, you would need diamond files for that...
More horse power is not going to help..... slower speeds are not going to help as long as you are using smaller bits, they need to spin fast. One last thing, make sure the bit is not all the way to the bottom of the chuck/collet as the motor can transfer heat to the bit or so I have been told.
Nothing really new here, either... Just my experience(s)
My first attempts at using a rounter were exactly the same, (HSS bits back then).
I will not go into router problems here (I shall on the Router Poll), however with my third router, I started using nothing but carbide bits - WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! (Actually I first tried just one in my second router!) Super clean cuts, nice chips, and NO SMOKE!!, when routing at any speed! Prices of carbide bits have come down greatly and the difference in cost is worth it on the first use!!!! I find sticking with bits one can obtain ratings or opinions on - tend to perform the best. Bits alone convinced me to go from 'never (even) wanting to use a router', to 'what project can I do next?!!', and I work more with metal than wood.
I would suggest looking into buying bits in a set, with all the bits included that one intends on using in the future.
Good Luck, Lou
Hi Mblanc, First of all, Welcome aboard.
Since you said you have a very old router, I'll assume you also have very old router bits. If the bits you're using are HSS and have solid guides rather than ball bearing guides, it is very easy to burn your work piece by putting too much pressure against it while cutting. If the router is pushing off of the cut, you should route in the other direction. The router should pull it's self into the cut, not push away.
To elaborate on onother point already mentioned in several replies, you should only hone a router bit on the flat face of the cutting edge, never try to sharpen on the contour of the bit. This is true for both carbide and HSS bits. The only difference being, the carbide requires a diamond file (hone). If you or someone else has tried to regrind or use a file to resharpen the contour of the bit, replace it.
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