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Cutting a Slot?

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Forum topic by WoodJitsu posted 1311 days ago 6874 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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WoodJitsu

42 posts in 1418 days


1311 days ago

Hey guys, got a quick question. Today, I needed to cut a slot in piece of walnut. The wood was about 1/2 inch thick and the slot needed to be in the middle and about foot long (slot was to be all the way through the wood). I slowly dropped the piece on my router bit and it was going fine, but the wood eventually caught on the bit and was sent slamming against the stop, basically ruining my part. I was using a trim bit (the bearing was below the router table, it wasn’t a factor). Would I have been better served doing this with a spiral bit? When the bit caught the wood it ripped it out of my hands pretty violently, so I do not want to try to cut the slot in this manner again (I’ll admit it, it spooked me a little) Any advice would be great!

-- Family, Friends, Jiu Jitsu, Woodworking. Order varies daily!


10 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1652 posts in 1547 days


#1 posted 1311 days ago

easier done by spliting the wood down the middle and inserting two 1/8” shims one on each end of your slot and in this way “build” the slot

-- In God We Trust

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WoodJitsu

42 posts in 1418 days


#2 posted 1311 days ago

Hmm,
Not sure I would want to cut this down the middle. I’ve attached a photo of a similar project I built before. I’m essentially building the same thing, only larger. The part in question is the vertical support. I need to cut the center slot on that. I had trouble with the first one too, but the Mahogany was a little more forgiving than the Walnut.

-- Family, Friends, Jiu Jitsu, Woodworking. Order varies daily!

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#3 posted 1311 days ago

This is what I would do.

1. Start with stock that’s much wider than your finished piece.

2. Hog out most of the wood in the slot using a forstner bit.

3. Clean up the slot using a spiral up cut bit in your router table. (That will tend to pull the stock down.) Use those plastic handle thingys with rubber on the bottom to move the stock across the router so that at no time are your hands over the bit. Don’t cut the full depth at once, but only about 1/4 inch or less at a time. If you do a good job drilling out the slot before hand I don’t see a problem with a 1/4 inch cut.

4. Cut the slotted stock down to final size using table saw.

-- Joe

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WoodJitsu

42 posts in 1418 days


#4 posted 1311 days ago

All great ideas, thanks ajosephg!

-- Family, Friends, Jiu Jitsu, Woodworking. Order varies daily!

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ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#5 posted 1311 days ago

Thought of another way if you have the right kind of dovetail jig. My Porter Cable jig has a long slot for cutting sliding dovetails that might work depending on how long a slot you have to make. I’d still use forstner bits to remove most of the stock, but use the dovetail jig to cut the slot. Obviously use a backer board so you don’t cut into the jig. Edit: Also obviously you’d use a straight bit instead of a dovetail bit, lol.

This way the board is clamped securely and you move the router. It really works great with a plunge router.

-- Joe

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2301 days


#6 posted 1311 days ago

I would defiinitely hog out most of the wood with a drill press or hand drill, drilling from both sides to limit tear out. Clean that with a chisel and then go to the router. I’m no expert by any means, but I have always had the best results on a router removing minimal material per pass or trimmng up a started cut.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Loren's profile

Loren

7389 posts in 2273 days


#7 posted 1311 days ago

Cut two parallel slots by clamping the piece to the tablesaw
and raising the blade to cut the slots. You could drill out the
ends first. Cut out the waste with a jigsaw and if you want to
use a router after that to clean it up, go ahead, but for me
it would be about as fast to finish it up with chisels and files.

I found routing slots to be a pain until I got an overarm router,
but it’s still a messy process to demolish the waste wood with
a router when you could just drill and saw out most of it first.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2398 posts in 2152 days


#8 posted 1311 days ago

It looks like you could use a mortising machine if you have one. Since you are cutting through, use a backing board to prevent tear-out.

If I only had one to cut, I would probably drill out the ends and use a coping saw.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1700 days


#9 posted 1311 days ago

I think your approach on the router table is fine IF you take small bites in multiple passes. I never take more than a 1/4” at a time.

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

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1622 days


#10 posted 1310 days ago

Drill the 2 end holes, remove material from between with a coping saw !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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