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I am making multiple cutting boards for Christmas. I have many of them made already. I have a couple of routers but not sure how to cut the channel. Would a guide attached to the router be the best solution? I made them without them but found out most real cooks want a channel. Thanks for any help.
 

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Routing juice channels

As stated by a previous poster this is a ideal pattern routing with a guide bush exercise. I laugh to myself when I read articles showing a 'male' pattern. You are guaranteed to overshoot on the first corner. I use a 'female' pattern and rout in clockwise direction. The router co-operates by pulling in toward the pattern and it is impossible to overshoot the corners. A blind man could rout using this approach.

A problem arises when the cutting boards are different sizes. This is often the case as they are made from offcuts. The answer is an adjustable pattern as shown in my first slide. The rectangular piece of MDF in the centre is a balancing block. The next two slides show how the adjustment 'mechanism' works. The slots were formed by laminating three strips of hardwood. The hardware are standard knock-down bolts and barrel nuts.

The final slides show the result. Of course this only works for rectangular boards.

Denis Lock - "Routing with Denis"
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Excellent demonstration, Denis.
 

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You are absolutely right Denis. I tried on my first attempt to do it with an edge guide and ruined a cutting board. then made a template like you did for the whole board and succeeded. I like your adjustable jig for holding the cutting board for routing.

Herb
 

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I bought a Trend Vari-Jig when Sears closed them out for something like $32 or $35 a few years ago. Perfect for this job, works similar to Denis' jig in set-up. (I like the Vari-jig a lot, but i'd not have even tried it at retail--would have made Denis' jig instead. For under $40 shipped--the Trend was a great deal!!)
earl
 

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Here is a general representation of the one I use. You take a piece of some spare panel board, osb, mdf, particle board, or ply and attach four strips to it. The strips can be 2x4 or whatever you have as long as they are thicker than your cutting board. In the center will be your cutting board and four spacers the same thickness as your boards. The width of the spacers depends on how far in you want your drip groove to be. If the distance from the center of the router to the edge of the baseplate is 3 inches and you want a 1/2" wide groove 1/2" in from the edge you would want the spacers to be 2 1/4" wide for example.

The cutting board has to be tight in the frame or you will get a wobbly line. You can shim them tight or slot two of the guide rails. In the photo I show two boards with black marks that indicate slots. For multiple boards this would be the best way to go. Snug those two guide rails against your cutting board. The black mark on the end board is there if your cutting boards have a handle. Cut that section out and slide them under.

I purposely left a lot of space between the corners to make a point. Unless that distance is greater that the distance from the center of the bit to the edge of the baseplate it won't make a difference. When you rout the groove you go in a clockwise direction. Unless you are going to make a lot more cutting boards then take this one apart when you are done and save the good parts and burn the rest. It only takes a few minutes to build this jig and it cost virtually no money so why have it take up valuable shop space? Jigs are to get a job done, they are not THE job so it doesn't make sense to spend money on nice wood and brass fittings when you don't need to. Save that money for buying bits and hardware. You can't build those.
 

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Hi Charles

The wood used for my jig was from the scrap box and the hardware was left over from an earlier project and they were certainly not solid brass. I didn't spend any more than you did.

Your jig has one advantage over mine. You can vary the distance of the juice groove from the edge of the board - mine can't.

Your router must have a round base - not one with a flat or two. I would have to add a sub base to my router. I actually don't understand why most of the router manufacturers do what they do to the base. I find it easier to keep a single point on a round base against a guide than to keep a full flat against a guide. Arguments about concentricity don't hold water - I am not going to twist the router through 90 degrees when I am routing. A few degrees doesn't matter even if the router has a base concentricity problem.

Denis Lock - "Routing with Denis"
 

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Nice jig , Denis ; like other posters I have looked at the Vari-jig and considered it too pricey. Perfect for Router Table inserts too ......

Thanks for posting.


Rog
 

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Hi Charles

The wood used for my jig was from the scrap box and the hardware was left over from an earlier project and they were certainly not solid brass. I didn't spend any more than you did.

Your jig has one advantage over mine. You can vary the distance of the juice groove from the edge of the board - mine can't.

Your router must have a round base - not one with a flat or two. I would have to add a sub base to my router. I actually don't understand why most of the router manufacturers do what they do to the base. I find it easier to keep a single point on a round base against a guide than to keep a full flat against a guide. Arguments about concentricity don't hold water - I am not going to twist the router through 90 degrees when I am routing. A few degrees doesn't matter even if the router has a base concentricity problem.

Denis Lock - "Routing with Denis"
You're correct about keeping the round part of the base against the guide rails but it's not hard to do that. This is a version of a jig I used while working at a mantle factory about 12 years ago so not my idea. They were using it to put stopped rounded grooves in the face boards on the columns. The two outer grooves were made with just the guide rails but with spacers at each end to stop the router short from the ends. Then another spacer was used against one side to create the center groove and the spacers removed from the ends so that the center groove was longer the outer two. All of this was done in 2-3 minutes. A version of this jig would also be good for making fake Shaker cupboard doors. Just keep adding spacers between the router and side guide rail. I've always loved the simplicity of this jig and on e you get it ready it's fast to use and really fast for doing multiples of something.
 
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