Can I use a router to shape the outside of a router bowl?

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Forum topic by Sumdume posted 1339 days ago 892 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sumdume's profile


67 posts in 1459 days

1339 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am working on a snowman shaped router bowl. The bowl is 2 layers of mahagony and 1 layer of maple. I have routed the inside and need to cut the outside to the final shape. I am considering making a template and using a router to shape the outside instead of cutting it with bandsaw and sanding. I am concerned that the router will cause too much chip out. Am I fussing too much?

-- Rule # 1 - Don't mix yer blood and sawdust!

8 replies so far

View DragonLady's profile


298 posts in 1632 days

#1 posted 1339 days ago

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Routing is used to make all sorts of shapes!

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

View StumpyNubs's profile


6163 posts in 1426 days

#2 posted 1339 days ago

Absolutely not. A router on the outside will instantly set the bowl afire and melt the router. It’s as volatile as dinamite. I lost three fingers and eleven toes trying it. That’s why they call that process the “wooden widow maker”. I think it’s banned in 53 states.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View richgreer's profile


4522 posts in 1700 days

#3 posted 1339 days ago

I would recommend that you use a band saw to get close to the line and finish it with a router. Taking a big bite with the router just doesn’t work well.

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

View spunwood's profile


1194 posts in 1461 days

#4 posted 1339 days ago

Have you watched this:

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View ROY53's profile


77 posts in 1803 days

#5 posted 1339 days ago

I’ve done it and it will work just take small bites.

-- Roy L, Arizona

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2654 posts in 2152 days

#6 posted 1339 days ago

The thicher the wood the more possibilities for disaster. If you use a router “richgreer” has a good approch. I think I would cut with a bandsaw then power sand.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Sumdume's profile


67 posts in 1459 days

#7 posted 1339 days ago

Thanks for the replies. I should have mentioned that I plan on using the bandsaw to get close to the line. Because I do not have a good spindle sander and my drill press doesn’t work well. I was thinking the router would leave a smoother edge and reduce the amount of sanding.

-- Rule # 1 - Don't mix yer blood and sawdust!

View Jonathan's profile


2603 posts in 1676 days

#8 posted 1339 days ago

As long as you get close with the bandsaw, I’d tend to agree with Rich that you should be just fine. You can always do a bit of hand sanding to fix any problem areas, but they should be pretty minor as long as you’re using the proper speed on the router, a sharp bit, and the proper feed rate and direction, especially if you’ve got the stability of a router table setup, versus trying to freehand it.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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