Cranky Sailor Workshop - The retirement chest #3: Routers and panels and tearout, oh my!

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Blog entry by DynaBlue posted 05-23-2011 07:39 PM 1151 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: First cuts, first changes Part 3 of Cranky Sailor Workshop - The retirement chest series Part 4: Hiding your mistakes »

I hate routers. There, I’ve said it. Oh, for you fanboys, I freely admit that routers CAN do a wonderful job and many things they do are almost impossible to accomplish easily by hand. Even so, I hate them and avoid using them whenever possible. They are of the devil and, for all their benefits, are THE fastest way to ruin pieces of wood. The panels, you see, are free floating in grooves routed on the curved surfaces of the arches. Really the only good way I could make them was with a slot cutting bit and bearing. But any mistake would be difficult to repair without replacing, at the least, the arch itself. I did gird up for battle and rout away 19 good slots. But the last inch of the last slot ripped off a chunk of my arch point. Oh, did the invectives flow. My shop cat supervisor even vacated the area for a bit..and she’s heard me on a tear before. My wife, bless her sense of timing, walked out into the garage just as the safety glasses impacted the wall next to the door. She left without saying a word. I have matured as a woodworker though. Once upon a time I probably would have tossed the piece as well but that just isn’t cool. Now I just swear and throw glasses that can be replaced for $1.50 on sale. One day that too shall probably pass. My wife can hope.

Since I’d done about all the damage I could do to the stiles I moved on to the panels. I was torn between using the full width (16”!) sapele or trying my luck at resawing the panels and bookmatching them to conserve material. I did finally decide to resaw and I’m very glad at that decision. Again, wood movement was a motivating factor. I didn’t want my wide boards to turn into potato chips as thin, wide boards are want to do. At least bookmatching them would reduce the curling. No great secrets to this, I just made two deep cuts on the opposing edges with my table saw and finished the deed on the bandsaw. I took my time with the jointing and with a combination of the jointer (followed up with a pass or two of a #8 stanley to remove the scallops) and my newly tuned up tablesaw doing the opposing side rips the joints came out nearly perfect. I could hold the two mating surfaces up to one another against a strong backlight and with no pressure at all there were no light gaps from any angle. I was so stoked. Glued it up, drum sanded it to near final thickness, traced my arches, bandsawed the shape, final drum sanding and a nice chamfer along each and every edge. Bingo! 11 panels all ready for installation. At this point the astute readers will undoubtedly say: “but wait Blue..there are only 10 places for them to go.” Ah yes, gentle reader, but we always make one for practice finish..and if you make it big enough you can always use it to replace a damaged panel later. You, if you needed to. Just a tip from ol’ Uncle Dynablue. it is. Oh look! You can hardly notice where the router ATE MY FRIGGING CORNER!:

I hate routers.

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

4 comments so far

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3317 days

#1 posted 05-23-2011 10:50 PM

could you have not glued a piece back on and re did the arc? probably be less noticable then the missing piece

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3317 days

#2 posted 05-23-2011 10:58 PM

lol nevermind i just saw on part 7 where you fixed the arc. should have read the whole thing first

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2743 days

#3 posted 05-23-2011 11:01 PM

I hate routers, too, although I own many. I can’t remember the last time I used a handheld router, except for maybe a laminate trimmer (out of laziness). I also use the table-mounted variety out of laziness, when I’m unwilling to setup a plough plane or sharpen a molding plane. Routers are generally loved by all, so we may have just ostracized ourselves:) I thought buying an oversized powerful router with fancy table would help, but I’d still rather use hand tools.

Regardless of routers, this is a very handsome project.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View DynaBlue's profile


131 posts in 3240 days

#4 posted 05-23-2011 11:34 PM

I’m currently setting up a nice router and table which I hope will help me out. Only have a small table benchtop model right now and it really makes long pieces hard to rout easily.

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

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