Safe stopped grooves - how?

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Forum topic by opalko posted 616 days ago 596 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View opalko's profile


107 posts in 1667 days

616 days ago

Currently working on a project that involves a frame that holds a panel. The stiles of the frame actually extend up beyond the panel to another section that holds a mirror, which fits in a rabbet and not a slot. The lower panel goes into a 3/8” slot on all 4 sides. I’d love to cut this with a slot cutter but am in a bit of a time crunch to finish this and doubt I can get a bit here on time (I have one ordered btw, but it’s on backorder :( ).

In any case it looks like I have to do stopped grooves on the router table, which I dread. I’ve done them plenty of times before but they make me nervous as heck and invariably I end up ruining a piece when I go to lift the workpiece off of the bit.

What I usually do is mark the stops on the piece and the router table with penciled lines. When the lines line up, stop! I usually lower the piece onto the bit just inside the start mark at exactly the width of the bit (which is marked on the piece as well). Usually I don’t get it exactly right, have to go back and cut a little more and that is when the splinters fly!

Can someone share their technique that is safe and reliable?


9 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2709 posts in 1209 days

#1 posted 616 days ago

A plunge router and guide will work.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View rum's profile


148 posts in 1218 days

#2 posted 616 days ago

router to shy of the line and then finish with a small hand chisel.

View jumbojack's profile


1176 posts in 1256 days

#3 posted 616 days ago

Pre drill your stop. You will hear and feel the hole. Stop. Sometimes you may need to dress the stop with a chisel.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View patron's profile


13017 posts in 1973 days

#4 posted 616 days ago

i put a longer board on the router table fence sometimes
and have stops on it for multiple pieces
then turn the router off and lift off the board

these other ways sound good too
depending on how many you need to make

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

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1517 posts in 866 days

#5 posted 616 days ago

+1 jumbojock.
It is also a good idea to secure the piece to be cut between the regular fence and a low fence, like a board laid flat and snugged up to the workpiece and clamped securely. Work your way into the depth of cut with multiple passes, taking maybe 1/8” per pass. You will find this safe, secure and predictable (with the holes at both ends, start and stop) and if you ruin a piece it will be because you fumbled it on the floor!
Best wishes.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL

View Lifesaver2000's profile


512 posts in 1744 days

#6 posted 616 days ago

I kind of do all of what jumbojock, Dan and patron describe. Predrill the ends on the drill press, then use these holes as an accurate way to set stop blocks on a long fence for both the start and stop points. I also use a clamped board to hold the work piece tight against the fence, and take shallow passes.

When I type it out like that is kind of sounds like overkill, but it is accurate and has never felt unsafe.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1279 posts in 2369 days

#7 posted 616 days ago

You can send that old Ford tractor my way if you don’t need it.

Very cool. I learned to drive on one.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9806 posts in 1250 days

#8 posted 616 days ago

+2 for Jumbojock

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View bandit571's profile


6849 posts in 1315 days

#9 posted 616 days ago

Along with the pre-dill of a stop hole, BEFORE you lift the piece, shut the router off. A stopped bit can’t ruin much of anything.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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