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Router Bit Recommendation

3318 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  DaninVan
I'm having an issue with routing tenons on SYP. Lots of tear out on the shoulders and tenon face and ends. I'm using a DW 621, a 3/8D straight bit, the Microfence to dial in the width, and one of Pat Warner's tenon jigs. Is it a bit issue, router speed, or...? I have spiral bits as well as shearing straight bits (those whose cutters are not at 90* to the flute).

The tenons are to be 3/8" wide x 1-1/4" long. They are two-faced tenons.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
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two-faced tenons.

SYP is a terrible wood for fine WWing..
what brand of bit are you using???
have you tried a dado blade on your TS???
Are you using a down spiral bit...? Should be...
Stick, I was using a Whiteside bit. I'm just making a router table and the tenons are on the rails that go into mortises on the legs I already cut. The tenon was done on a piece of equal dimension scrap to get the settings dialed in. And no, I haven't tied making tenons on a TS yet.

Nick, I'll try the downshear spiral bits next.
A table saw is quicker. I never use a router when the TS can do the job. Plus saw blades last many times longer than bits which makes that job cheaper in the long run.
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When using a Leigh FMT, they recommend a light climb cut to prevent the chipping, followed by a second cut in the normal direction, and then a final pass around the tenon to clean it up. I've found that this works quite well when using my Leigh FMT Pro. The climb cut causes the bit to cut into the wood and as the bit exits the wood there is nothing left to chip out. Once the surface has been climb cut the cutting point in the wood is below the surface and the shoulder created by the climb cut will prevent the chipping. Yellow pine is difficult to work, but I have achieved good results using this Leigh method. Of course, a good sharp carbide spiral bit helps too. I use the up spirals with my FMT.

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Charley, I climb cut as well, but it didn't help much. Going to the bits you guys have suggested and see which one(s) gives me the best result. This is a necessity project because I need a mobile router table. I have one that I mount onto my outfeed table and used to make the stopped mortises on the legs but it's somewhat limited. If anyone has Pat Warner's "The Router Table CD" it's the small one he shows on page 45. I'm building the bigger one he had. The next version will be made of much better wood.

Thanks for the help gentlemen. I appreciate it.
I'm thinking down spiral bit, but also wonder whether you could use a sharp marking knife to scribe the cut line. Are your bits really sharp? I also prefer to use the TS rather than a router whenever possible.
Is SYP your Southern variation of our Northern Spruce/Pine/Fir? Never heard the expression "SYP" before now(?).
Obviously, Charles has.
Is SYP your Southern variation of our Northern Spruce/Pine/Fir? Never heard the expression "SYP" before now(?).
Obviously, Charles has.
Just about everybody down here has...
SYP and SPF are different animals...


With more than 100 types growing worldwide, almost everyone gets pine confused. Only a handful of domestic pines commonly are used and may be separated into hard and soft -- or yellow and white. Yellow pine, consisting of shortleaf, longleaf, slash and loblolly, is classified as hard. White pine, consisting of sugar, eastern and western, is classified as soft. Both groups generically are referred to as white or yellow.

Yellow pine is a native of the Southeastern United States, growing naturally on plantations as far west as Mississippi and south to Virginia. It is one of the least-expensive applications for flooring that requires durability in high-traffic areas. Yellow pine has excellent strength-to-weight ratio. For this reason, it's used more often than white pine for structural members such as trusses, joists, poles, sheathing, subfloors and plywood

White pine grows prolifically on the East and West coast of the United States, and in Canada and Mexico. Lightweight and soft, white pine is even textured and easily milled and carved. White pine is used for items such as carvings, molding, millwork, trim, boards for boxes, crates and specialty items such as knotty pine paneling, cabinetry and furniture. White pine is the least resinous of all the pine species, lacking the pitch pockets found on other pine varieties.

Color is not a deciding difference between yellow and white pine. All of them are amber colored, ranging from yellow to off-white. Grain patterns are a bit more obvious, and all of them are relatively straight. Yellow pine tends to have a bolder, more pronounced grain pattern than white. Density is the deciding difference. Yellow pine has a density rating of about 870 on the Janka scale,, which ranks it up there with cedar at 900. White pine, with a density rating of only 380, is one of the lowest-rated woods on the scale.


Fir often is confused with pine in regard to construction-grade lumber. With the prevalence and availability of Douglas fir, the use of yellow pine -- which is harder than fir -- is declining. If you live on the West Coast, its likely you'll use fir for your framing needs. If you live on the East Coast where yellow pine is prolific, it's more likely to be available -- but it's becoming harder to find. If you have a preference, make it clear when ordering that you want yellow pine for your construction needs.

SPF is an acronym, which stands for spruce, pine and fir and it's a combination of those Canadian trees grown in various regions of the country. All produce high-grade timber with relatively small, sound tight knots and the color of ranges from white to pale yellow.

Lumber produced from these species is marketed together as SPF. The lumber you see could be any one of the three types of trees, and possibly contain one or more species within the type (for example, more species of spruce).
SPF Species

Eastern species

Black spruce (Picea mariana)
Red spruce (Picea rubens)
White spruce (Picea glauca)
Jack pine (Pinus banksiana)
Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)

Western species

White spruce (Picea glauca)
Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni)
Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)
Alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa)

Western SPF lumber is usually available in larger sizes than eastern SPF given the climate and size of logs. Eastern SPF trees grow slowly and have superior strength.
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As I mentioned earlier I was pretty sure it was a regional thing. I've never seen the SYP offered up here, and that makes perfect sense considering the vast areas of the Northern species growing N. of 49.
It really took off after the Spruce Bud Worm and Pine Beetle epidemics devastated so much of the available timber. The indusry's objective was to salvage as much as possible before it became garbage.
The 'Denim Pine' was a brilliant marketing ploy to make the blue staining more acceptable.


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The 'Denim Pine' was a brilliant marketing ploy to make the blue staining more acceptable
now that's some beautiful wood...



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They couldn't give it away before some bright spark came up with the 'Denim Pine' moniker.
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