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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought Infinity's T-Slot Router bit. It is advertised as perfect for 1/4 X 20 Hex Bolts.....which is what I will be using to make a jig. I'm wondering if it would be better to cut a channel in the wood with a saw blade prior to using the bit in order to remove some of the wood and make it easier on the T-Slot bit or just use the T-Slot bit to do the whole job. I will be using the bit on Poplar.
I will be cutting the slot on a router table.
Thank You for any advice.
 

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Yes, cut a channel first. It will make the T-slot bit cutting easier and reduce wear on the T-slot bit.

One other comment: it might be easier to use a hand held router with a template and template guide to cut the T-slot. I used that method for my featherboard holders and for dados in shelves.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Yes, like Tom says, cut a channel first. I use my box joint blade on my table saw. Then I cut the slots with the T-track bit on the router table. I have a set of Jessem Router stock guides that helps keep the board flat to the table and against the fence. Featherboards would do the same thing.
 

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One more for the saw slot first. One of the issues with type bit is that it has a hard time getting rid of the chips so lots of them get recycled in the cut and generate a lot of heat. The saw slot will also give it air to cool itself with. I worked at a place once that used a proprietary bit to fit a plastic clip into for attaching kick boards. The saw slot extended the life of the bit times 3.
 

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I pre-cut the 1/4" slot with a 1/4" router bit, then without changing the fence location replaced it with the slot-cutter.

And, yes chip removal is an issue if you don't precut the slot.
 

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Most definitely cut the slot first.

I over heard a discussion at the register in the local Rockler store where a chap buying a T-slot bit was asked how we was going to cut the slot. He was a bit surprised by the question as he just assumed the bit would handle the entire job. The clerk was kind and pointed out that the only cutters on that bit were at the tip for the T per se. He added an upcut spiral to his collection. I asked the cashier later if that was a common oversight and he advised that they routinely ask that question now as several customers had returned with badly burned T bits and/or complaints of failure to cut.
 

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Most definitely cut the slot first.

I over heard a discussion at the register in the local Rockler store where a chap buying a T-slot bit was asked how we was going to cut the slot. He was a bit surprised by the question as he just assumed the bit would handle the entire job. The clerk was kind and pointed out that the only cutters on that bit were at the tip for the T per se. He added an upcut spiral to his collection. I asked the cashier later if that was a common oversight and he advised that they routinely ask that question now as several customers had returned with badly burned T bits and/or complaints of failure to cut.
VOE, in my early days of using a router table I went thru 3 bits in a hurry and never used that kind of bit again. Same thing chuck them up go 3"-4", Bing the bit was gone. and an ugly slot burned around the edges.
That is a problem for a beginner is that the bits come with no instructions on how to use them. I have seen recently notices "to use in router table only" on the packaging of the larger bits.

I have never seen a notice on the package of a "T" slot bit, or a ball slot bit to cut the slot first.

Herb
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll cut the channel on the table saw, then use a straight 1/4" bit on the router table to widen the channel, then finish up with the T-slot bit. This should be the least stressful for the T-sot bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I cut the channel on the table saw and then used the t-slot cutter on the router table......worked like a charm. Thanks to all for your advice.
 

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I pre-cut the 1/4" slot with a 1/4" router bit, then without changing the fence location replaced it with the slot-cutter.

And, yes chip removal is an issue if you don't precut the slot.
Yeah, that is how I do it. No issues with aligning the slot to the fence - just change the router bit and go. You do need to go a bit slow when cutting the slot first, especially if you are using a solid carbide spiral.
 

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Jim you don't have to have the saw cut dead centre for it to work better, you just need to have it within the slot that the bit will cut so that can save you some set up time not trying to perfect something that doesn't need perfection.
 
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