Router Tear out on frame and panel construction

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Forum topic by Swyftfeet posted 10-09-2012 03:56 AM 1564 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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170 posts in 2138 days

10-09-2012 03:56 AM

I’m having significant issues with some tear out on black walnut when doing the end grain profile cuts specifically the rails on this hope chest.

One edge comes out great, as I am feeding it into the router with the complimentary profile first. The green edge comes out fine. The red line is where I am getting all the tear out due to feed direction on the router.

I have tried taking very small passes, and climb cutting with minimal success. This is the set I am using:

One 48” piece is bad enough that I have to redo it, but I’d like to understand how you guys go about it before I ruin another big piece of B. Walnut.

I didn’t try doing the end grain profile cuts first… Is that the secret? Maybe a sacrificial board taped to it at a 90* ?

Thanks for looking!

-- Brian

7 replies so far

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 10-09-2012 04:09 AM

do the end first
that way the side is still holding
rotate around counter clockwise
the other end will still have
the other side to hold it too

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2779 days

#2 posted 10-09-2012 04:10 AM

The best thing you can do is make the cut in three light passes. You can’t always adjust the depth of cut with bit height. Sometimes you have to change the fence setting for the three passes. And you will always get best results if you cut the endgrain passes first.
One of the only cuts I use that can’t be divided into three passes is a sliding dovetail. Even then I rout the bulk of the waste with a straight bit, then finish with the dovetail bit. The point is use multiple passes, endgrain first for best results.
Best of Luck!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3543 days

#3 posted 10-09-2012 04:12 AM

Just make you rails to long and cut off the tear out. Climb cutting should help a lot.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Loren's profile


10264 posts in 3614 days

#4 posted 10-09-2012 04:59 AM

You may want to bypass the bearing-guidance system and cut the
profile in a series of passes with a special fence you make to
limit the depth of cut. I would.

Climb cutting is tricky freehand.

In the future when planning these kinds of cuts you’ll know
to be extra careful and rip the other edge of the board to
width after you’ve milled the profile to your satisfaction.

In terms of fixing the ruined edge, one approach that
may be beyond what you are prepared to do it to make
a curved template and route off the entire profile. Then
bend a piece of straight stock to fit the profile, glue it
in and machine the profile again. Alternately the curved
profile can be laminated up out of a few 3/16” layers
with such a gentle curve.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3251 days

#5 posted 10-09-2012 12:55 PM

Swyftfeet, Here is how I usually do a arch top door/panel when working with that type bit. Don’t know if it’s the right way, but always worked for me.

1. I cut my top and bottom rails to the exact length. The width of my top rail I make a little wider than the finished size. ( if I’m going to end up with a 3” top rail when finished, I may rip my rail to 3 1/4” wide). My bottom rail I may oversize about an 1/8” or so in width).

2. Set up and run my end cuts on all my rails. I do hope you are using a router table of some sort and not trying to free hand using those type cutters. Multiply passes would probably help for a nice clean cut.
Now you can trim your rails to the exact width and that will get rid of any tear out from that cut.

3. Now take your top rail and cut your curve and sand edge. If you make a template the exact size of your top rail, then you will be able to index your template to the top edge of your rail and make your raduis.

4. Set up and make your cuts in your stiles.

Make a couple sacrificial boards with the stile profile run so you can place them at the end of each rail (you shouldn’t have to do it with the straight bottom rail for your panel, but for the top rail with the radius.

5. Tape or clamp sacrificial boards to the end of your rails and now run your stile profile on your rail. Usually tear out happens as you exit the cut, so with the sacrificial board in place, fit tight in the profile, you should eliminate any tear out.
Good luck.

-- John @

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170 posts in 2138 days

#6 posted 10-09-2012 09:55 PM

Thanks Everyone! Really good tips! I should have asked this before I began milling, but it was a case of not knowing what I didn’t know…

I am using a router table… Homemade in the right wing of my TS with a woodpecker plate, I made a tall sacrificial fence out of a couple layers of Laminated particle board, created a void for the bits on the BS. It’s rudimentary but it has been fairly good to me.

-- Brian

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3251 days

#7 posted 10-09-2012 10:33 PM


I’ve used that same basic set-up for my router for years and it works great for me. I do all my doors and panels on my door machine now, so I don’t use router bits for making stiles and rails, but did for a number of years before the door machine.

-- John @

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