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Stepped Depth Cutting Jig for the Router Table

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Blog entry by Randy Price posted 07-07-2011 04:20 AM 3503 reads 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

With this jig you can make your router table behave like a plunge router.

Having the ability to easily make multiple shallow cuts on the router table will improve the quality of your work with smoother, cleaner cuts and will extend the life of your router and router bits.

In the video below see how to make and use a jig that allows you to make a series of shallow, increasing depths of cut on the router table without readjusting the router bit depth.

Benefits of Multiple Shallow Cuts

Making a single deep pass, especially in hardwoods can cause burning, tear out and sometimes splintering. It can also overload the router. Multiple shallow passes results in a smoother cut. This is the reason behind the stepped turret on plunge routers which allows a series of 1/8” deep passes to accomplish what would otherwise be done in a single deep cut.

Don’t Readjust the Bit Height

A plunge router avoids the need to readjust the bit height with each pass as would have to be done with a standard router. The problem with readjusting the bit depth for each pass is that when the router motor is turned to adjust the height, the router motor changes orientation in the router base and the bit doesn’t always stay the same position laterally, or side-to-side. this causes ridges on the cut face.

With the stepped cut jig the bit height doesn’t have to be adjusted each time and thus avoids the out of alignment bit.

Using the Jig

Since discovering this technique I use this jig on most cuts I make on the router table. I find making relatively shallow cuts in hardwood I get much smoother cuts using multiple shallow passes. It also is less taxing on the router motor and extends the bit life by avoiding overheating.

Do you think this technique would improve the quality of your cuts? Do you plan on trying it yourself? I would like to hear how this technique works for you.

Thanks for looking,

Randy

http://www.randallprice.com

-- http://www.plankandplane.com



9 comments so far

View Skylark53's profile

Skylark53

2565 posts in 1806 days


#1 posted 07-07-2011 04:24 AM

Great idea and a very good job with the video.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#2 posted 07-07-2011 04:33 AM

I’m no router guru (that’s a guarantee) but why not get it all with a single pass, then a second to clean it up ?

The jig and the idea are great, I’m just trying to associate it with a need.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Randy Price's profile

Randy Price

208 posts in 2246 days


#3 posted 07-07-2011 04:46 AM

Thanks for the comments.

In my experience, making a single deep pass, especially in hardwoods can cause burning, rough cuts and sometimes splintering. It can also overload the router. Multiple shallow passes results in a smoother cut.

The problem with readjusting the bit depth for each pass is that when the router motor is turned to adjust the height, the bit isn’t in always the same position laterally, or side-to-side. this causes ridges on the cut face.

Using the technique above, the bit height doesn’t have to be adjusted each time, which avoids the out of alignment bit.

The demo I did in the video may have been able to be done in one pass, but imagine if you were making, say a 3/4” wide x 1” deep dado in walnut – it would need to be done in more than one pass. This technique could be used in that case.

I find in doing relatively shallow cuts in hardwood I get much smoother cuts using multiple shallow passes.

Thanks and sorry for the long winded explanation,

Randy

-- http://www.plankandplane.com

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#4 posted 07-07-2011 05:17 AM

No, thank you. That makes perfect sense.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11684 posts in 2433 days


#5 posted 07-08-2011 01:50 AM

Excellent presentation , Randy : )
And yet another reason for making shallow passes with a small diameter bit is to avoid breakage of the bit…..less wear and tear all around.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Trev_Batstone's profile

Trev_Batstone

317 posts in 1238 days


#6 posted 08-01-2011 05:27 PM

This is a great tip and a very quick and esy way of making several shallow cuts.. a novel idea. Thanks for sharing.

-- LIVE, LAUGH, CUT WOOD.

View SawTooth1953's profile

SawTooth1953

281 posts in 2051 days


#7 posted 08-05-2011 08:00 AM

Excellent technique… I use a similar method, but there is always something to learn… in this case, I learned about the top piece of hardboard with the ends that keep it in place on the router table while using it to “house” the other hardboard layers beneath it. My hardboard pieces are loose and I was using clamps, requiring unclamping and reclamping as layers are removed. I like your method is better. Thanks for making the video to demonstrate the method.

(while it is obvious to most, I thought it best to state the obvious: the fence position and bit height are carefully set beforehand… then the routing procedure is as simple as you made it look.

Spence

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View Randy Price's profile

Randy Price

208 posts in 2246 days


#8 posted 08-05-2011 06:33 PM

Hi Spence -

I was originally using clamps to hold the hardboard too until I came up with this method. I probably should have explained the initial set up better.

I also didn’t mention that the hardboard jig could be made larger to accommodate the size of the piece being milled.

Thanks,

Randy

-- http://www.plankandplane.com

View DamnYankee's profile

DamnYankee

3240 posts in 1307 days


#9 posted 08-05-2011 06:47 PM

Great idea and presentation.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

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