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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

I just started to learn and do some routing, right now I am staying with the table.

But I am having trouble choosing the right size bit for the thickness of wood I am using. Also, positioning the wood and the bit on the table.

I have a Wolfcraft 490 router table with a Port Cable 692L router (1 1/2 HP). I also have a Trim Router, and this Huge 21/2 HP Chinese Plunge Router. Right now I am only using the table.


I have got some good results, but only after chewing up a fair amount of wood with trial and error.

Are their any "rules of thumb", a table of some sort, or is this pretty much a trial and effort deal.

I am keeping a log book, of my trial and error work .. but there has to be an easier way.

Thanks .

-Fred
 

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Fred, it would be easier to help if we knew which specific bits you are using and what the specific problems you've had with each bit. Also, what you were hoping to accomplish when using that bit. Some bits can be used more than one way. For example, a roundover bit when used with a smaller diameter bearing can leave a convex edge with fillets at top and bottom depending on how high its set.
 

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Yeah, details, need lots of details. The Devil is in the details. And if you're chewing up wood, practice with scrap.

When you feed the wood, feed from right to left. You doing that? And your bit(s) sharp? Definitely need details.
 

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Frad,

As said above, more details about what you're doing and the problems you're having would be helpful.

But you asked for"Rules of Thumb" so here're mine for the router table:

1) Keep the bit inside the fence when routing edges. Trapping the work between the bit and the fence is asking to injure the work or yourself.

2) Feed right to left as you're facing the fence. Feeding the other way will allow the bit to grab the work and pull it along and you with it. See above for reference to injury. This is called climb-cutting and it is Not A Good Thing.

3) When routing grooves you obviously can't follow ROT 1), keep a firm grip on the workpiece and hold it tight against the fence. Follow ROT 2). If you need to rout a groove wider than your bit rout the inside edge first and move the fence away from the bit for subsequent passes.

4) Don't try to take off too much material in a single pass. For edge routing, I consider anything more than the equivalent of a 3/8" roundover to be too much, you might could do 1/2" if you have a big router in your table(you don't) and easy stock(like MDF). Like Charles Neil says, "Sneak up on it." For big cuts make multiple passes and change depth or fence position between. If you're taking off too much your router and bit will talk to you, learn to listen.

5) Actually, 4) for grooves. You'll read that you don't want to cut deeper than the width of the bit. Try cutting a 1/4" deep groove with a 1/4" bit and listen to it yell at you. I generally won't cut more than 1/2 the diameter in depth, listening to the router and bit all the way.

6) Small work needs to be held in a jig or fixture, not your fingers. If I can't keep my fingers at least a couple inches(preferably more) from the bit I'll figure out another way to do it. Routers will bite you just as quickly as a saw and there's nothing that will put a project on hold like a trip to the ER.

As said, more info on specific problems you're having would enable more specific responses but these general rules have served me well for almost 40 years of dealing with these noisy beasts and I can still fingerpick Layla on my Martin without any Jerry Garcia modifications. :sold:

HTH,
Bill

P.S. Suggested reading
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hi Folks,

Thanks for the replies .. sorry I did't give you details

First the good news, I don't have an issue with a simple round over bit, or Camphor bit, I have been able to cut slots without a problem.

Then I tried the:
Porter Cable 42901PC 3/16" 1/2 Shank Roundover Router Bit

This a small 1/2 shank bit, I tried round off the edge of some 4/4 Poplar.
I could only produce sawdust and splinters. Once it kicked out the stock.


The next toublesome bit is:
Porter-Cable 43537PC Shallow Bull Nose Router Bit

Using this bit I turned a 1"x4"x 8" long Pine board into a pile of saw dust
in minutes. I could not get any edge, very scary bit, it just eats wood.

I really post the question because I am about to make a closet organizer out of very expensive hardwood (Macuba), and I will need to use these bits:

Bullnose: for thin strips (5/8")
Rabbet bit: for lap joints. I really wanted to use Dovetails but I don't think my experience level will allow that.
Straight bit: for dead on accurate slots (wonder if I could do these on a table saw).
Round Over bit: for 2"x 4" support boards.

I have played around with a small Macuba board, it is very hard and heavy. I was amazed at how heavy this wood is. The batch I got is very dry as well, could be a bit brittle.

Thanks Folks ..
 

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Once it kicked out the stock.
It sound to me like you are feeding the stock the wrong way, taking too deep a cut or trapping the stock between the fence and the cutter.
 

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Are you using a fence to guide the stock? Silly question, probably, but I must ask anyway... I learned from 35+ years in the repair business to never assume! And not running the stock between the bit and the fence?

A picture of the setup you are using would help!
 

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Fred,

I have to echo Duane's question: you are using a fence, right?

I have no idea why the round over bit is misbehaving. Have you tried it on other stock? If your other round overs work on the same stock it may be defective but that's pretty rare. It's not removing that much material, as long as you're feeding the right direction you shouldn't be having a problem. It may be you're routing against the grain, flip the piece over end for end and see if the other edge routs OK.

The bullnose bit removes the entire edge of the board, DO NOT use this bit without a fence! To cut the full profile you need a fence that you can adjust the infeed and outfeed halves independently. Center the bit vertically on the edge of the stock, set the outfeed side of the fence to the deepest point of the cutter(center) and the infeed for the depth of cut. That way the work is supported on both sides of the fence as you push it thru.

If you don't have a split fence you can still use it, just set the fence so it removes almost all of the edge but leaves a small flat in the center to maintain contact with the fence on the outfeed side. Then smooth up the edge after routing with some sandpaper.

Either way you need to maintain consistent pressure against the fence and the table to get good results with this bit, any up-down movement of the stock will ruin the piece. Feather boards or other hold-downs are a necessity.

Pix of your setup would help.

Best,
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Folks,

A quick note, I have never used a router table without a fence. The last of a fence is one of the reasons that I have not touched the plunge router.

When I use the Plam router, I try to setup a fence with board clamps.

Thanks again
 

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Folks,

A quick note, I have never used a router table without a fence. The last of a fence is one of the reasons that I have not touched the plunge router.

When I use the Plam router, I try to setup a fence with board clamps.

Thanks again
Fred, the only suggestion I have left than is post either pictures or an accurate description of exactly what you are doing when the problems occur. Pictures of the setup( router doesn't have to be running) would be easiest. Or perhaps find a youtube video of the procedure you are attempting. But at this point without a better idea of what you are doing and how.. can't venture a guess!
 

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Hi Folks,

Thanks for the replies .. sorry I did't give you details

First the good news, I don't have an issue with a simple round over bit, or Camphor bit, I have been able to cut slots without a problem.

Then I tried the:
Porter Cable 42901PC 3/16" 1/2 Shank Roundover Router Bit

This a small 1/2 shank bit, I tried round off the edge of some 4/4 Poplar.
I could only produce sawdust and splinters. Once it kicked out the stock.


The next toublesome bit is:
Porter-Cable 43537PC Shallow Bull Nose Router Bit

Using this bit I turned a 1"x4"x 8" long Pine board into a pile of saw dust
in minutes. I could not get any edge, very scary bit, it just eats wood.

I really post the question because I am about to make a closet organizer out of very expensive hardwood (Macuba), and I will need to use these bits:

Bullnose: for thin strips (5/8")
Rabbet bit: for lap joints. I really wanted to use Dovetails but I don't think my experience level will allow that.
Straight bit: for dead on accurate slots (wonder if I could do these on a table saw).
Round Over bit: for 2"x 4" support boards.

I have played around with a small Macuba board, it is very hard and heavy. I was amazed at how heavy this wood is. The batch I got is very dry as well, could be a bit brittle.

Thanks Folks ..
The Porter Cable roundover bit is either out of round or you are climb cutting. It should be easy to use. When you are climb cutting the router will try and pull itself out of your hands and when you are going the right way there will be some resistance that you will have to push against.

The bullnose bit has to be set so that the center of the curve is exactly even with the fence- no more and no less.

If you are trying to rabbet the ends of drawer sides I would use a sled to guide them. My definition of a sled is a piece of ply or mdf that is around 8 to 12 inches and perfectly square. You hold your workpiece against the sled and push it along the fence past the bit. That is even if your are using a bearing guided rabbet bit although you can use a straight bit with the same results on a table.

Yes you can do the slots on a table saw but if the piece is too large it may be too difficult to keep it going straight over the saw blade. In that case you may be better off using a router. There is another post running about a Circular Rail Guide System. Have a look at the picture and then read what I posted about it.

If this and the other posts don't help then I guess we need more info.
 

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is it more like it LAUNCHED the stock out the other side?

usually if it kicks the stock out, you are almost certainly feeding it the wrong direction.

are you running the stock between the fence and the bit? if so, that is generally considered a dangerous practice.
 
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