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large bit hand routing safety?

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Forum topic by praspekt posted 03-25-2014 08:22 PM 976 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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praspekt

18 posts in 1354 days


03-25-2014 08:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router

i have several large boards, and table tops that i’d like to plane down with my router, and found a few size options.. there’s a 3” bit that is relatively affordable, though seems extremely intimidating to use. i was just wondering what size bit typically get’s used for such an application. 1 1/2” bit seems more comfortable, though would take a lot of time to plane down a 3’x6’ surface.

my question is, what’s the largest size bit that can be comfortably used in a hand held router application. i realize that the answer largely has to do with experience, and the users awareness, and patience.. i’m just curious to hear about peoples experiences on such a topic.

thanks.


15 replies so far

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

1913 posts in 1218 days


#1 posted 03-25-2014 08:31 PM

My thought would be that any bits of that size should only be used in a table. I think hand held would be pretty dangerous. Others may have a different take, than I.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View lateralus819's profile

lateralus819

2236 posts in 1352 days


#2 posted 03-25-2014 08:40 PM

i suppose if you made a sled to ride over top with a safety guard built in and a way to lock it down so it cant lift up.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1411 days


#3 posted 03-25-2014 09:12 PM

A little curve ball here, along the safety note. Certain size bits run at certain speeds. A 3” bit my cover more ground, but will need to be run slower speed and feed rate, and just the opposite for small bits. Smaller bits can be run at higher speeds, and feed rates. I think 1 1/2”-2” is about all you really want to handle. Another note if the bit gets away from you how much damage could occur to you, and-or the workpiece.

Just a little food for thought.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4026 posts in 1813 days


#4 posted 03-25-2014 09:13 PM

I don’t think I’d want use anything larger than 1” hand held. Make sure you have variable speed so you can slow that sucker down if you go w/ 3”.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

605 posts in 2545 days


#5 posted 03-26-2014 12:22 AM

I’ve run lots of large handrail profile bit’s in a hand held router. Some up to 4” in diameter.
Unless you have a “poopload” of experience with a router and largish bits…..don’t even think about it.

There’s just too many variables and considerations to be taken into account with bits that large, even with very light passes.

One simple miscalculation and your dealing with the devil.

It takes a lot more time to recover from an injury than it does to route a 3’x6’ surface with a 1” bit.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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praspekt

18 posts in 1354 days


#6 posted 03-26-2014 01:28 AM

thanks for all the info!!

Tony, this might sounds kinda silly, but how can i develop the experience with a router to be able to feel comfortable with such large bit hand router tasks? is it really just about slowly moving up in size

View jimr1cos's profile

jimr1cos

29 posts in 1348 days


#7 posted 03-26-2014 03:48 AM

I received a nice combo router for Christmas past; Some reviewers complained about the supplied base plate only having 1 1/4 ” clearance. some knowledgeable LJ’s chimed in that wider bits were too much to safely use in a hand-held application. Good enough reason for me.
Jim

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3039 days


#8 posted 03-26-2014 04:30 AM

praspekt
Tony’s use of large bits is not the norm at all for most folks . I have 30 years using routers and a 4” router bit scares the daylights out of me even in a router table. For the planing operation you want you could use a smaller router bit and still get the job done. When using hand held routers some kind of jig or guide makes things much safer particuarly when your not that experienced in using a router.

This type of jig works fine

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jake's profile

Jake

850 posts in 1093 days


#9 posted 03-26-2014 06:23 AM

Yeah, make a planing jig, which makes it harder for the router to get away from you and gives you some protection to if the bit does break. Also, anything bigger than 1 1/2” scares the hell out of me as well. I did a 2,5’ x 9’ planing with a 1” bit and a sled and it took me about 2 hours, not too bad.

I have done a lot of planing with router sleds so my tip would be to Get a big jackplane to take off some material in a hurry, then run a few grooves in your slab to give you an idea of the depth you are wanting to get to with your planing. And then instead of abusing your planer, take the bulk of the material away with agressive hand planing, using the previously mentioned grooves as an indicator of the depth.

That saved me a lot of heardache after my first large planing, taking of the bulk fo the material with a handplane gives you more safety, control and actually makes it quicker in my opinion.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

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praspekt

18 posts in 1354 days


#10 posted 03-26-2014 07:47 AM

good advice Jake, thanks! i realize that using larger bits in a hand router isn’t the safest, but at some point in the future i hope to be doing hand rails on a spiral staircase.. it’s been in my head for a while, and i’m really intimidated to used such a large bit, though over time and use i’m sure it’s just a feel that becomes acquired intuition to ensure safety.. i was just wondering if there were good exercises, or jigs that could be made to learn the centrifugal tendencies of larger bits in a safe way..

anyway, i think i’m going to order a 1 1/2” bit to do the surface planing and take it really slow. i like the idea of roughing out the piece first with a hand plane.. i’ve been meaning to get a scrub plane…

thanks for all the input!!

View Jake's profile

Jake

850 posts in 1093 days


#11 posted 03-26-2014 08:43 AM

This is how I did it on a smaller roughly 2 1/2’ x 9’ – the end is all covered in shacings.

Sorry for the bad quality, but anyhow you can see the main things: – the grooves I routed to gauge the depth, – on either side you can see the L profiles, within which my router sled runs (I have the sled made so it can’t run off the profiles even when the centrifugal force is very nasty)

The slab was badly cupped and warped, so you can also see that I have already made a lot of shavings to get it closer to the goal.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

605 posts in 2545 days


#12 posted 03-26-2014 10:30 AM

”at some point in the future i hope to be doing hand rails on a spiral staircase”

Yeeesh….Are you talking about profiling curved handrail on a professional level? Or on some other…just wanna ‘give it a go’ level?

I could type for hours and never even approach covering all the different variables, tools, tooling, techniques, precautions, etc.

I don’t mean to make it sound like some kind of mystical Obi-Wan Kenobi chit….but it ain’t something you learn (productively or safely) on your own, or on a woodworking forum.
There’s a lot of different variables that come into play before you even pick up the router, Then hundreds after that.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8244 posts in 2891 days


#13 posted 03-26-2014 12:56 PM

A1 Jim’s jig is the way to go, for sure. I use a bowl cutting bit and I believe it’s 1”.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View praspekt's profile

praspekt

18 posts in 1354 days


#14 posted 03-26-2014 06:15 PM

i’ve been doing general carpentry for about 7 years, and i’ve been getting into fine wood working over the last two years.. so im relatively new, and would like to develop my skills to be able to offer my work on a professional level.. though there’s no one really in this area that i can work with on intricate projects such as a curved staircase.. i’m mostly self taught and find my inspirations on youtube, and on here..

though at first, everything is a kind of ‘give it a go’.. and hope for the best.. though there is a level of intimidation with the hand routing with larger bits, that i would like overcome with experience…

anyway, i really appreciate every ones input on this!

tony, not to ask you type for hours.. but what are some of the key things to work on and develop? thanks!!

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1183 days


#15 posted 04-03-2014 06:27 PM

I have a Freud bit with about a maximum depth of cut around 1/2” and a diameter of about 1.5.” It works reasonably well with a 1.75hp handheld router and with the way I set it up, I try not to plow off more than 3/16” at a time.

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