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Routing on end grain

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edmund

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Question for all who use routers. I'm planning my next project and part of it will require cutting a groove (1" deep by 1/4" wide) running through the length of end grain on a jointed board 1" thick by 24" wide. I've done this before by hand on a restoration project but it was such hard graft that I want to do it this time using a router (which I have never used). So questions as follows:
1. will a straight 2 fluted bit do the job on end grain?
2. what depth of bit do I need? If I do 3 or 4 or more passes, presumably I don't need a 1" deep bit?

Thoughts gratefully received.

Thanks, E
 

MikeW

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Hi Edmund,

I would not use a straight bit as there could be a lot of chatter, aside from the quality of cut may not be what you expect. It will not clear the chips.

I would use an upcut spiral bit. And if you need to buy one, I would get one with as long a cutting length as you can justify cost wise.
 

SlimShavings

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Does the cut go clear through or is it a mortising cut. Mikes right about using a spiral cut bit. Unfortunately 1/4 inch spirals are not notoriously strong especially on deep cuts. If it was mine I would run a cut on the table saw down the middle about 15/16 deep first. YOU can plunge cut it, Then use the router bit to finish the cut. Router bits have a tendency to wattle aroune in end grain depending on the type of wood you using. And if you try and in do it in several small cuts you end up with a groove thats wider than 1/4 ". A horizontal router table works best, next would be a router table with a high fence. If you just use a router and an edge guide I would clamp the board to something else to give you plenty of support for the router.
Good Luck
 

Philly

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Edmund
You should find a router much easier than using hand tools through the end grain.
If you use the router freehand clamp extra timber to the piece to give more support to the base of the router.
If using a router table a high fence makes the job easier. Also a featherboard clamped to the table will help keep that rebate dead centre.
I've cut lots with straight bits-you should be fine as long as you take it in small amounts (try 3mm depth at a time) Spiral bits cut that bit smoother and get of the waste far better but a straight bit will work.
Which timber are you using?
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Mcluma

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Edmund - do you have a router table?

If so you can also use a biscuit router bit, (or the lower part of the rail and style set) and will give you the same result as a table saw. les change of breakout.

And if you use a straight bit, then do like Philly suggest - make the groove in a few passes.

McLuma
 

edmund

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Thanks for this. I am, in fact, so new to routing that I don't yet have a router let alone a router table :lol: - I'm one for planning ahead though :) By spiral bits, do you mean something like this http://www.wealdentool.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Up_Cut_229.html? The link refers to fixed head routers and CNC - what does CNC stand for? Presumably you should also do several passes with this type of bit as well?

Sounds like there is a trade off between strength of a straight cutter and smoothness of the spiral bit.

The wood I'll be using is American white oak. When I did this by hand the wood was English oak, so I'm expecting the American oak to act pretty similar.

Oh, I don't have a table saw either :roll: I'm apprenticed to myself to do all the donkey work :lol:
 

Dewy

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Yes, those are the spiral cutters.
They are identical to slot drills used in engineering milling machines.
I have a number of 1/4" 3 flute milling cutters which I use in my 1/4" router.
They are made from HSS (high speed steel) so produce a cleaner cut that 2 flute carbide tipped cutters.
CNC = Computer Numerical Control in otherwords a computer controlled machine for precise cutting and costing many thousands.
 

jasonB

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Like Mcluma says I would use a grooving bit as there is less chance of the groove becoming oversize or the bit snapping. A biscuit cutter will not have enough depth of cut, even with the biggest one that wealden do you will be limited to 22mm depth of cut. Thats where my wobble saw in the spindle comes into it's own :D

http://www.wealdentool.com/acatalog/Onl ... 0_130.html

Jason
 

jonny boy

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Hi,

I'm with Mcluma and Jason on this one, running the router (base on the timber surface) with a slot/biscuit cutter would be best.

cheers, jonny.
 

edmund

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Thanks for this.

I had a look at the Wealden groover and it says it doesn't come with an arbor. Dim question, but what's an arbor? Would this come with the router?? :?

Wonder if I count as a CNC "... a computer controlled machine for precise cutting ..." although not costing many thousands and with variable cutting precision :lol:
 

Chris Knight

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Edmund,
The arbor is a shaft that the cutter attaches to. The shaft (with cutter) is placed in the router's collet.

Most router cutters for non-industrial use come with cutter and shaft as one piece but a few - notably slot cutters - are separates, to allow different sizes of cutter to be used more economically
 

jasonB

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You need one of these as well, one arbour then buy as many cutters as you like and add bearings so no fence is required especially if doing curved work.

Jason
 

RogerS

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I would also clamp some scrap on both sides of your grrove to protext against breakout (ie splinters of wood being thrown out by the cutter as it exits the wood. Alternatively make a light cut from both directions first (ie on both ends of your groove) to get a clean cut.

Of course, the WoodRat excels at this but guess you've not got of those :wink:

I agree with what's been said about a firm base for the router to rest on. As it's your first attempt I would try and make the base as close in size to your router base plus wide enough for a fence. Alternatively you could make the supporting material exactly the width of your router base and then add two slightly higher pieces of wood on either of the supporting wood. These will act as guides for your router.

Do you have a workmate? I've cut grroves this way by setting my piece of wood flush with the surface of the workmate. The workmate jaws then give me all the support I need. I then clamp some fences/guide rails (bit of wood !) to the top of the workmate to act as my guide. The only possible drawback I;ve found is that thwe jaws are not always 100% parallel with the surface...but may be close enough for your needs


Good luck

Roger
 

edmund

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waterhead37":1t3mug7s said:
The arbor is a shaft that the cutter attaches to. The shaft (with cutter) is placed in the router's collet.
Thanks for the enlightenment. I could have looked in the dictionary and it would have given me the answer :oops: Feel like I need huge amounts of equipment to do this :eek: Excuse for buying new toys to play around with though :)
 

edmund

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waterhead37":10xngx4r said:
Curiosity gets the better of me. Why do you need this slot?
Ah ha... Well, my next project will have a top of 1" thick oak measuring approx. 24" by 38". I was thinking that that I might put a fillet in the end grain to stabilise the wood. I suppose it may not need this additional stabilisation as the top will be secured by cleats to the frame. The reason I was thinking of this was because I needed to do it on a restoration project for shelving - the Victorian house I live in still has its library in pretty much unchanged condition, but unfortunately some of the shelves had been replaced with veneered chipboard :shock: All the original oak shelves - measuring 9" by about 36" had a fillet in the endgrain, 1/4" by 1" deep. Picture of my results
http://www.filehigh.com/serve.php?u=3221&i=27837&t=.jpg. I even used hide glue for them.
Haven't decided if I'll do this but I'd like to know the approach to take using power tools, rather than the time consuming and sweaty hand method.
Curiosity sated? :) [/url]
 

Noel

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Edmund, it the spline decorative or does it help stabilise such a wide board?

Noel
 

Chris Knight

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Edmund,
Thanks for the explanation. However, now I am curious as to whether you have considered the problems for a 24 inch mismatch in grain direction. I would have though that you were virtually guaranteeing that the tabletop will split owing to wood movement.

A breadboard end is the usual solution for this situation.
 
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