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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all! This is my first post here.

I don't do a lot of routing, but when I do, I usually have pretty good results. This is my first attempt at using a bearing guided flush trim bit to rout the edges of a rough cut piece to match a "Masonite" template. By rough cut, I mean cut with a band saw about 1/8"-1/4" outside my finished line. The material I'm using is 5/4 (1") oak stair tread. Template is attached to work piece with double faced mounting tape.

On my first attempt, for the most part, it went pretty well but in a couple of spots the router bit "grabbed the grain", caused some splitting, and ripped out some of the material inside the profile of the template. Unfortunately, I will need to cut a new piece and try again.

I am using a 3/8" X 1" X 1/4" shank flush trim bit with a guide bearing at the top to follow the template. My template shape has a few inside "corners" so I thought the 3/8 diameter bit would get into the corners a little better than a larger diameter bit. I considered buying and using a 1/2" X 1" bit but the 3/8 diameter bit was on sale at Lowes so I thought I would try that one first.

My questions are as follows...

1) Would the larger diameter 1/2" bit do a better job with less splitting and gouging than the 3/8 diameter bit?

2) I used the black Scotch brand HD (30 lb) double face mounting tape to attach the template to the work. Just to be safe I probably used more tape than I should have, pretty much all along the outline of the template. It held very well: perhaps too well, as it was very difficult to remove the template from the (damaged) work piece. Some of the hard board template stayed with the tape. Is the 30 HD tape overkill for this? Would I be better off with the regular 9-10 lb Scotch mounting tape with the white and green backing be sufficient to hold my template securely to the work piece?

3) I'd appreciate any tips or suggestions on how to avoid the above problems I had the first time around!

Thanks much for any assistance on this project! ZT

EDIT: While I am using a table mounted router, I just noticed there is another sub-forum dedicated to template routing. If the administrator believes I'd have better response on the template forum, or this question would be more appropriate in the template forum, please move this thread over there please!

Thanks! ZT
 

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@ZTAtZAU - Welcome to the forums. When you get a chance, please update your profile with at least, a first name.

Just so we're all on the same page:

A flush trim bit has the bearing at the end of the bit, furthest away from the shank
A pattern bit has the bearing between the shank and the cutter.

You said you were using a flush trim bit with the bearing at the top. Does this mean your router was in a table "with the bearing at the top"?

You also said your template has some rounded inside corners - were you routing both inside and outside edges?

Routing direction is important: if your router is in a table, when you router inside edges, the bit travels in a counter-clockwise direction. For outside edges, the bit travels in a clockwise direction. When hand held, it's the opposite. Tough to explain in words, but I'm sure Stick will be here soon to add some pictures.

So, was your router in a table or hand held?

Were you routing in the right direction?

You also indicated that you rough cut to 1/8 to 1/4 inch and were using a bit with a 1/4" shank. Perhaps 1/4" was too much material to route. A 1/2" shank would be much better.

I can't advise on the tape you used as I've never used it. If I can I tack my templates down to the work piece with a pin nailer, in an area that isn't conspicous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi Vince! Thanks for your reply!

@ZTAtZAU - Welcome to the forums. When you get a chance, please update your profile with at least, a first name.

Just so we're all on the same page:

A flush trim bit has the bearing at the end of the bit, furthest away from the shank
A pattern bit has the bearing between the shank and the cutter.

You said you were using a flush trim bit with the bearing at the top. Does this mean your router was in a table "with the bearing at the top"?

You also said your template has some rounded inside corners - were you routing both inside and outside edges?

Routing direction is important: if your router is in a table, when you router inside edges, the bit travels in a counter-clockwise direction. For outside edges, the bit travels in a clockwise direction. When hand held, it's the opposite. Tough to explain in words, but I'm sure Stick will be here soon to add some pictures.

So, was your router in a table or hand held?

Were you routing in the right direction?

You also indicated that you rough cut to 1/8 to 1/4 inch and were using a bit with a 1/4" shank. Perhaps 1/4" was too much material to route. A 1/2" shank would be much better.

I can't advise on the tape you used as I've never used it. If I can I tack my templates down to the work piece with a pin nailer, in an area that isn't conspicous.
I am using a flush trim bit with the bearing at end farthest from the shank.

My very basic Craftsman router (limited to 1/4" shanks) is mounted in a very basic bench mounted router table!

I've done a limited amount of routing on this setup over many years (but never with a flush trim bit) on this setup! I always feed the work from right to left in the direction of the feed arrow embossed on the router table's surface.

I've included a picture of my overall project. While some of the pieces have what I described as "inside corners", I started the routing today with what I thought would be the "easiest piece". (i.e. no inside corners). A basic tear drop shaped "Gas Tank" side for what I hope will soon be my new grandson's Rocking Motorcycle. I've also included a picture of the damaged gas tank piece.

While some of my pieces were rough cut with as much as 1/4"oversize, the gas tank sides were cut pretty close... averaging only about 1/8" extra.

I'm glad you mentioned inside vs outside cuts as some of the pieces (such as the wheels), as you can see in the pix, will require inside cuts with the router when I get to that point.

Any suggestions are much appreciated! ZT
 

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Hi and welcome. By now you should know which grain will cause you grief. Rout the parts that go well and then either remove the template and apply it to the opposite side or switch to a pattern bit and leave it where it is. That causes you to reverse direction which will either greatly reduce the problem or eliminate it.
 

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Theo
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What Vince said. All of my routing is done on my table, with what you call templates, I call them masters. I nail them down, the holes are where they will be concealed on the finished project. My normal bit is 1/2"X3/4" or 1", and 1/4" shank - all I have are old Craftsman routers. All my bits are flush trim (I do have about 3 other, different, flush trim bits, they are basically unused). I routinely rout inside, and outside. My masters are all two pieces of 1/2" plywood, glued together. The way I handle grain tearout is to make very shallow passes, slowly, and repeat until the bearing rides on the master. Very seldom have tearout issues this way, but if I do, if it is on the inside it will be hidden, so no biggie; but if it is on the outside, depends on where it is located whether I start over or not.

With small pieces, like those wheels, I would rout the inside first, then rough cut the outside, then very carefully, and slowly, rout the outside. Partly to keep tearout at a minimum, but mostly to be sure it doesn't get my fingers in the bit.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your reply Charles!

I think you give me too much credit here! I haven't a clue as to which grain is likely to be problematic; or why what split did indeed split! Does this have anything to do with traveling up vs down a curved edge? Or more generally related to working across any of the end grain?

Also can you, or anyone else, tell me if I'd be better off or worse off using a larger diameter bit as I asked in my original post? 1/2" x 1" vs 3/8" x 1"???

ZT
 

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Thanks for your reply Charles!

I think you give me too much credit here! I haven't a clue as to which grain is likely to be problematic; or why what split did indeed split! Does this have anything to do with traveling up vs down a curved edge? Or more generally related to working across any of the end grain?

Also can you, or anyone else, tell me if I'd be better off or worse off using a larger diameter bit as I asked in my original post? 1/2" x 1" vs 3/8" x 1"???

ZT
Only problems I have had are with end grain. Don't know about bit size, because, like I said, all I use are 1/2" diameter. Oh yes, 99.99% of my routing is with plywood - I happen to like plywood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you too Theo!

You said... "With small pieces, like those wheels, I would rout the inside first, then rough cut the outside, then very carefully, and slowly, rout the outside. Partly to keep tearout at a minimum, but mostly to be sure it doesn't get my fingers in the bit."

When you say, "partly to keep tearout at a minimum, are you talking about when routing the inside? Due to there being more stock on the outside if not already rough cut? Or is the tearout more likely to occur on the outside?

Please clarify and keep in mind this is all quite new to me! ZT
 

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A 1/2” bit may help, but did that happen when you started the cut I see in your picture you are not using a starting pin
You may be taking to big a cut in one pass by changing the bearing to little larger size make a pass then change back to the original bearing.
Utube has a lot of video on template routing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks John! I appreciate your reply!

I think perhaps I'll watch a few videos as you suggest! But can you tell me what you mean by a starting pin?

EDIT: As you were, John. I just watched a video on using a starter pin! I had the impression, when the term was first mentioned above, a starter pin had something to do with starting a cut. had something to do with starting. Now I see what a starter pin is and how it is used. And yep, a starter pin would have likely gone a long way toward keeping me from having the trouble I experienced.

The two damaged areas of my gas tank side were both accompanied by kick backs as I worked the piece free hand. I still have a lot to learn about this.

Thanks! ZT
 

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lrt'd muddy the waters...

..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you Stick!

I appreciate the images you posted. I've downloaded them and will have a good look at them before I get started on the router again!

I appreciate all the assistance I've received here today! ZT
 

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ZT - a starting pin is set into the table, somewhere "in the vicinity" of the bit. With no fence to guide your work, the starting pin acts to support the work piece as you guide the piece into the bit, and prevent, to some degree, the bit grabbing the work as you feed it in. When I use a starting pin, I generally will cut into the work piece about an inch from the end (for a straight edge) so that I don't feed the end of the piece directly into the bit (that's bad), back up towards the end (this is a climb cut), then continue to feed the work into the bit into the correct drection.

If you look this picture of my home made table, you'll see the pin just to the right of the bit (although that's not a bit, it's a centering cone).
 

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Theo
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Thank you too Theo!

You said... "With small pieces, like those wheels, I would rout the inside first, then rough cut the outside, then very carefully, and slowly, rout the outside. Partly to keep tearout at a minimum, but mostly to be sure it doesn't get my fingers in the bit."

When you say, "partly to keep tearout at a minimum, are you talking about when routing the inside? Due to there being more stock on the outside if not already rough cut? Or is the tearout more likely to occur on the outside?

Please clarify and keep in mind this is all quite new to me! ZT
I very seldom get tearout inside. Likely because I tend to go a bit slower on the inside. I always rough cut my stuff, inside and outside. With something as small as those wheels look, when you get to the outside, you won't be able to get as good a grip on the material - one reason why my masters are 1" thick, to allow a better grip, and less chance of it getting flung, and finger hurt. Even rough cut, something relatively small, I have found needs going slower to lessen tearout. I seldom rout anything very small, and when I do I make sure to rout slow, and if the piece is smaller than I feel comfortable routing I make some sort of jig to hold the piece so I don't have to. Might want to do some practicing with cheap wood, rather than diving right in with good stuff.
Important, I am not telling you how to do it, I am telling you how 'I' do it.
 

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A 1/2” bit may help, but did that happen when you started the cut I see in your picture you are not using a starting pin
You may be taking to big a cut in one pass by changing the bearing to little larger size make a pass then change back to the original bearing.
Utube has a lot of video on template routing.
@ Semipro, John ,you nailed it.you can see where the bit has grabbed because of not using a starting pin..I've had the same thing happen but changing to a larger bearing & using a starting pin as you suggested---no problem.Jamesjj.
 

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The two damaged areas of my gas tank side were both accompanied by kick backs as I worked the piece free hand.
By free hand, do you mean just routing without using a template? Usually not a good idea.
 

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By free hand, do you mean just routing without using a template? Usually not a good idea.
gotta disagree w/ you on this one..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks again Theo! I appreciate the follow-up and will keep in mind everything you've tried to explain here...

I very seldom get tearout inside. Likely because I tend to go a bit slower on the inside. I always rough cut my stuff, inside and outside. With something as small as those wheels look, when you get to the outside, you won't be able to get as good a grip on the material - one reason why my masters are 1" thick, to allow a better grip, and less chance of it getting flung, and finger hurt. Even rough cut, something relatively small, I have found needs going slower to lessen tearout. I seldom rout anything very small, and when I do I make sure to rout slow, and if the piece is smaller than I feel comfortable routing I make some sort of jig to hold the piece so I don't have to. Might want to do some practicing with cheap wood, rather than diving right in with good stuff.
Important, I am not telling you how to do it, I am telling you how 'I' do it.
You've got me wondering if my pieces look smaller in the photos than they really are??? Those wheels are actually about a foot in diameter. Did you think they were smaller? Or do you look at a 12 inch piece "relatively small"?

I'm trying to put everything new I've learned here today in perspective!

And...

By free hand, do you mean just routing without using a template? Usually not a good idea.
No! I was always using the template but simply holding the work freehand without the use of a starting pin! My little router table doesn't feature a designated spot for a starting pin though figuring out where and how to securely install a starting pin is now one of my next priorities.

ZT
 

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Thanks again Theo! I appreciate the follow-up and will keep in mind everything you've tried to explain here...



You've got me wondering if my pieces look smaller in the photos than they really are??? Those wheels are actually about a foot in diameter. Did you think they were smaller? Or do you look at a 12 inch piece "relatively small"?

I'm trying to put everything new I've learned here today in perspective!

ZT
the wheels on the bike's body or the donut looking rounds above the body...
 
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