Routing hardwood

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by BobD posted 12-19-2010 04:21 PM 1972 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BobD's profile


52 posts in 2830 days

12-19-2010 04:21 PM

I used a new ½” shank Amana 2 ½” flush trim bit with lower bearing to route some Cocobolo (hardwood from Mexico). I had a pattern piece with 2 pieces of ½” Cocobolo attached using double sided tape. I band sawed the pieces as close to the finish line as possible. During the flush trim routing on the end grain portion of the pieces, the bit grabbed the end grain and literally ripped the assembly out of my hands and threw it across the shop. Luckily, no one was hurt. I became a little more wary of using this procedure. Maybe it was my setup. I mounted my Porter Cable router in a table and had the bit protrude until the bearing was resting on the pattern piece (to clarify, the layer was hardwood, hardwood, pattern piece on top). I didn’t use a fence rather just fed the assembly into the bit until the pattern piece touched the bearing. All went fine until I hit the end grain. Wow, that was scary. My question is…was my setup wrong or are some hardwood just not conducive to routing?

-- Bob, San Diego

4 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2491 days

#1 posted 12-19-2010 04:36 PM

I’ve done exactly what you did with cocobolo and some other very hard woods with no problems.

My only real advice is to not take very much of a bite. You can keep the bite smaller by cutting with the band saw closer to the line. Another option would be to replace the bearing wheel with a slightly bigger wheel for an initial pass.

In general, it’s better to route the end grain first.

You may also want to finish the job with a climb cut (moving the router in the opposite than normal direction).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2468 days

#2 posted 12-19-2010 07:26 PM

Use a fence. Nothing eleborate, a 1×3 clamped to the table will do. Drill a hole at an edge somewhat larger than the bit and cut part of the arc out on the edge to allow you to hide the bit, and advance it a little at a time each pass until the bearing makes contact the last pass. Climb cutting in this way is much more controllable, and Rich is correct; end grains first. Cocobolo end grain is coarse and tough. A dangerous situation for a big bite. On really hard wood with wild grain, big is relative. Good that no one was hurt. Sstay Safe.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View mfike's profile


100 posts in 3083 days

#3 posted 12-19-2010 10:55 PM

That happens to everyone at some time. Rich and Steve give good advice. The only thing I can add is to push your piece into the bit very slowly using push pads on top with a lot of pressure instead of just holding the workpiece. Another thing I do especially if working thick endgrain is to use a starter pin when routing endrain.


View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9324 posts in 3469 days

#4 posted 12-19-2010 11:33 PM

I had similar thing happen to me BUT I got CUT!

I was using a Dovetail bit cutting a very small amount checking the fit to other piece…

I was making 6 items… total…

As I was making the THIN slices to get the fit, I was gradually increasing the total cut required for the rest of the items.

After I got the FIT I wanted, I figured, OK, now for the rest of them! The same cut had to be made 4 times per item, 2 cuts with the grain and 2 cuts cross grain… With the grain worked nice and smooth…

As soon as it started the 2nd half of a crosscut, it GRABBED the piece turned it… and my hand went into the bit EVER SO SLIGHTLY… but it bled & bled BAD!

It did NOT LIKE the larger cut…

Read the thread… I finished the step on the table saw! Worked like a charm!

This was a special situation…

I have cut around a Box Top, for example, many times…
You always want to make the Crossgrain cuts FIRST followed by the With the Grain cuts… The cuts With the grain will clean up any tearout from the 1st cuts.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics