Router cut issue

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brittonc

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Hi all,

First time using a router and found the cut very poor. Against the grain seems to chip and burn. Admittedly its a cheap set of bits so wonder if that's the problem or maybe not fast enough speed. I currently only need one router bit and I've seen a Trend one in Toolstation for about £30 (twice what I paid for the cheap kit). Don't mind paying it if that is the answer.

I've included a couple of pics to show the issue. Any feedback welcome. Thanks.
 

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Spectric

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First thing is direction, are you moving the router in the right direction for the cut? Then router cutters will make a difference, I use mainly Wealdon and Infinity cutters with the occasional CMT and they are good cutters.

I should have said the right direction is where the cutter cuts as it exits the wood and not where it enters the wood, it may give more tendency for tear out but gives better control. The wrong direction is a climb cut, avoid. Also your router bit spins clockwise when looking down at it. This may help.

1652021592757.png
 
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brittonc

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I try to cut in a direction that the grain is supported. So in the pic where the wood is burned, I started at the bottom of the wood and worked up. Is this the correct method?
 

robgul

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Direction is probably the issue (although cheap/blunt blades don't help) - search YouTube for some tips and reasons why for direction. Predominantly left to right works for me.

If routing an edge (e.g. a roundover as you seem to be doing) - if the cutter is "my side of the wood" then left to right, if the wood is "between me and the cutter" then right to left.
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
apart from the cutters, soft wood is never easy to get a good finish on end grain.....
did the cutter have a bearing or was it just run against a solid shaft.....? really cheap router bits have no ball bearing.....
also,
depending on the router collet size 6mm or 1/2"......u may be taking off to much in one bite.....
6mm or 1/4" bit are not that great although many here use em....
plus u gotta ease up to the final full cut.....cheap bits and lightweight router plus soft wood and low experience are batting against you....it takes a while to gain experience and after many years I still make a mistake....usually not concentrating enough......
the first photo looks like the router body tilted when cutting....often dif for the inexperienced user being able to balance the router 1/2 over the edge.....
I use a 3 HP router freehand for almost all jobs, I like the weight and the 1/2" cutters.....
Think about building /buying a router table....it will help with confidence....
here's mine, only a cheapie...it's been all over Europe working for the last 15 years.....
I perm have another 3HP Hitachi router hanging under it......
I think it was €50 when new.....some will laugh but it's so portable and done miles of work.....
besides if u need more get a spindle mnoulder....it's able to do heavy work for long periods....
but for some it's just a dream....
IMG_5867.jpeg
 

gcusick

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Endorse all the comments above. Good quality bits undoubtedly help - Wealden is my normal starting point (Wealden Tool Company Limited).

From your description, you are cutting in the right direction - @Spectric ’s drawings lay it out clearly.

As @clogs says, softwood endgrain is always tricky, more so if the router is tending to tip off the edge you’re cutting. A router table is the best answer, but running the outer side of the router base on a piece of scrap the same thickness as the workpiece will help.

Finally, you may need to take the cut in 2 (or more) stages, with a very light final cut.

Good luck!
 

brittonc

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Thanks for all the advice. The router is only a cheap 450w 1/4" hand held. I may invest in something bigger in time if I use it enough but I will try some sort of table or putting a scrap along side the piece. As mentioned, the router did tip a couple of times even with me doing my best to keep it flat. The bit does have a bearing on it but as the set of 6-8 bits was only about £15, I'm not sure the quality is there. Maybe investing in one quality bit now may help. And lots of practise!
 

Thingybob

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apart from the cutters, soft wood is never easy to get a good finish on end grain.....
did the cutter have a bearing or was it just run against a solid shaft.....? really cheap router bits have no ball bearing.....
also,
depending on the router collet size 6mm or 1/2"......u may be taking off to much in one bite.....
6mm or 1/4" bit are not that great although many here use em....
plus u gotta ease up to the final full cut.....cheap bits and lightweight router plus soft wood and low experience are batting against you....it takes a while to gain experience and after many years I still make a mistake....usually not concentrating enough......
the first photo looks like the router body tilted when cutting....often dif for the inexperienced user being able to balance the router 1/2 over the edge.....
I use a 3 HP router freehand for almost all jobs, I like the weight and the 1/2" cutters.....
Think about building /buying a router table....it will help with confidence....
here's mine, only a cheapie...it's been all over Europe working for the last 15 years.....
I perm have another 3HP Hitachi router hanging under it......
I think it was €50 when new.....some will laugh but it's so portable and done miles of work.....
besides if u need more get a spindle mnoulder....it's able to do heavy work for long periods....
but for some it's just a dream....
View attachment 135339
Toolzone table Aldi but a stacka to lift it ? I got a bargain when aldi changed to Ferex sold these of for a fiver
 

Lorenzl

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Wealden is my normal starting point
Very nice cutters; but I have only manage to buy one cutter from them since I started 8 months ago Most of the ones I am looking at are out of stock and on a long delivery.
 

Bingy man

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Cheap cutters are best used for practice and keep it simple until your confidence increases, make simple cuts and repeat until your results are fairly consistent-don’t expect too much to soon .I have a drawing similar to spectric,s -it also shows the correct direction if using a straight edge , fence or bearing guided router bit and I refer to this when using my router-but I still make mistakes. As mentioned above quality cutters can make a huge difference but if your experience is limited then I would not buy top shelf cutters just yet . Imo start with your current set or similar just to get the feel of using a router , once your results are reasonably consistent then I suggest the trend craft or the better trend pro range and again more practice and hopefully better/ more consistent results . Use the turret stops and make 3 passes (again as per above posts ) by now if you are happy with your results then consider the top shelf cutters ( wealdon cmt etc ) I did all my practice with a 1/4 inch router as I found the 1/2 inch too powerful to use freehand. But same advice again once accustomed to the 1/4 inch then upgrade to 1/2 inch . Clogs has the same small router table I had and they are ok for smaller jobs and perfect to start with-I still have mine somewhere as it’s perfect to take to the job .take your time, practice and most of all stay safe - never attempt to use a cutter intended for a table freehand ..
 

Stevekane

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The little 1/4ins routers are okay esp when starting out as they tend to feel a bit more controlable than the bigger ones when being used handheld. Nearly all my cutters are either cheap or knackered but with care I can get by, and looking at your pictures I would say that the endgrain wood your routering looks to be a bit of a pig, a wide grain which might consist of alternating soft and harder layers, it does look as though the bit was bumping along, however there is also some burning and along with everything thats been said above I would add that its important not to dwell for too long, you need to be moveing along so that the cutter is being cooled by the wood its cutting into, its a delicate balance of cutter speed (is it a variable speed router?) chip size (how deep your cutting) and rate of cut. If you have variable speed then genrally its a faster speed for small dia cutters, bigger bits are run a bit slower. So, dont try for too deep a cut, dont hang around and finish with a final very fine cut,,,and accept that on some crappy old whitewood your never going to get a great endgrain cut!
Others more skilled and experienced will no doubt have their own and perhaps better ideas.
Btw, I do think that routers are a tool that you get a feel for, the more you do the better you get at it.
Steve.
 

mikej460

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To avoid tipping place a piece of timber of the same thickness close to the piece being worked on and bridge both pieces with the router. If the shape is too awkward to achieve this then stick a small piece of equal thickness to one side of your router with double sided tape.

To avoid burning take more shallower cuts if that's possible and try and route in a smooth motion without stopping or slowing as this can cause burning. You may find you have more control if you go left to right or pull the router towards you.

To solve the end grain problem, buy a decent router bit, cheap kits are always a big disappointment and you rarely need most of the cutters.

Test and practice on scrap softwood

Hope that's useful
 

brittonc

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Thanks Steve. Yes, it is variable and I'm using a small bit. I'll try bumping the speed up to see if that helps. I was also probably moving a bit too slowly so will try improving that too. I'm just making a few wooden toys to get a feel for it so am using standard PAR board from B&Q. Didn't want to spend loads on better wood until I've improved a bit. I will look around and see if there are any hard wood planks that don't cost the earth and try that to see the difference.
 

brittonc

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Thanks Mike. I'm looking at better quality bits or a kit to see what's around. The kit I have now was very cheap so I'm sure that is part of the problem. The rest being me! :)
 

Stevekane

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If you have a go with some bits of wood from a skip, old scraps of anything, it doesnt need to be hardwood, and you will get a good feel for what the router does, the wood in B&Q etc is strange stuff, I might be completely wrong but I suspect its some sort of extra fast growing tree thats a crop, and it seems somehow quite dry and dead. If you pick up a bit of older wood from a skip its an altogether different material, I dont think you were helped by the matetial you had.
Steve.
 

Spectric

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Cheap cutters are best used for practice and keep it simple until your confidence increases
Using cheap tools or cutters can have the opposite effect, it can dent your confidence and put you off the task in hand. Good example is the chisel, for many years I had some cheap ones that every time I used them the results were like a woodpecker had been involved and so they only got used in desperation. Then a combination of threads on these forums and a woodworking show I brought some Ashley chisels and my results were transformed, not perfect but ok and now I use them more often and so am getting better.
 

Thingybob

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If you have a go with some bits of wood from a skip, old scraps of anything, it doesnt need to be hardwood, and you will get a good feel for what the router does, the wood in B&Q etc is strange stuff, I might be completely wrong but I suspect its some sort of extra fast growing tree thats a crop, and it seems somehow quite dry and dead. If you pick up a bit of older wood from a skip its an altogether different material, I dont think you were helped by the matetial you had.
Steve.
But make sure the skip wood has no hidden screws/nails embeded
 

Phil Pascoe

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A few of observations. Good quality old pine and virtually any hardwood will machine better than what you are now using. Cut your material close to the finish line so you are removing very little, your feed rate will be quicker so burning is less likely. If you are using a bearing guided cutter you can stick a bit of tape around the bearing (it doesn't matter that it doesn't go around), take a cut then remove the tape and repeat, giving a very fine last cut. If you have to plane or seriously sand the surface, if your moulding has no undercuts (e.g. an ogee) you can run the moulding first then work the surface, then repeat the moulding giving a nice clean final finish. B&Q (and other sheds') junk is usually spruce, not pine, and best avoided for anything other than structural carpentry.
 

brittonc

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I agree with the B&Q wood being no good. Within 48 hours it had started to warp! Good to practise on but need to find something else for final pieces. I did look at birch or maple planks but very pricey, especially if you need the wood planed, which I do.
 

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