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Safely routing in the center of a small board

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 04-13-2014 02:14 PM 1709 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HarveyDunn

328 posts in 1196 days


04-13-2014 02:14 PM

I was recently given this little box of chip carving knives. At this point I’m actually more interested in the box than the knives!

How does one safely rout cavities such as these in a small workpiece (each half of the box is 3/4” x 4” x 6.5”).

Can you use a router table and lower the workpiece onto the spinning bit? Or do you need to use a handheld plunge router?


13 replies so far

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 986 days


#1 posted 04-13-2014 02:30 PM

Harvey, I hardly ever hand hold a router unless I’m routing the edge of a large piece. I’m much more comfortable using a table.

Regarding that particular piece, I’d make each half in two pieces, the cavities and a top, glued together. Besides being easier to make, it would make it so you wouldn’t have to sand the bottom surfaces of the troughs.

I would not use a router as you’d have to make a template to rout against and, if you’re going to do that, you might as well make the cuts directly into the piece. I would rough-cut out the holes and use a spindle sander to sand to final shape. If you don’t have a spindle sander you can attach a sanding drum to a drill press but be sure to clean the sanding sleeve often. Then, if you want to round over or stylize the top edges of the holes with a profile, you could use a router with a bearing guide.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

826 posts in 1195 days


#2 posted 04-13-2014 02:31 PM

Since I have a pin router, I would make a jig with slots properly spaced and with a determined length. If I didn’t have the pin router, I would set up a router table with an oversized frame made from at least 3/4” wood. Screw it to the table compensating for the clearences required, carefully lay the wood you a re routing onto the bit, move the wood in the proper direction until you have completely routed the cavity, move the frame the distance needed to make another cavity and repeat until you have created all cavities required. Caution, it works, but as with all blind cutting, it can be dangerous..
Another option would be to cut out a template and use a top bearing router bit to get the cavities….. .......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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PaulDoug

1094 posts in 1169 days


#3 posted 04-13-2014 02:38 PM

I’d route out the pieces on the router table but start with a bigger board. Cut the board to size after I have the slots routed. I’d drill holes for the ends of the slots with a fornester bit, I know I didn’t spell that right, and then route out the wood in between the holes. don’t go all the way down with the holes so you and also clean up the bottoms of the drilled holes.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

328 posts in 1196 days


#4 posted 04-13-2014 02:50 PM

I would not use a router as you’d have to make a template to rout against and, if you’re going to do that, you might as well make the cuts directly into the piece.

Could you not use a plunge router with an edge guide attached to its base?

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#5 posted 04-13-2014 02:54 PM

Using a router table a shop made or factory made parts hold makes routing small parts a lot safer.

like this

http://www.amazon.com/MLCS-9542-Safety-Small-Holder/dp/B000NDOTB0/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1397400615&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=parts+holder+for+router+table

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 986 days


#6 posted 04-13-2014 02:55 PM

HarveyDunn : “Could you not use a plunge router with an edge guide attached to its base?”

Yes, but you’d still have to make a template.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#7 posted 04-13-2014 03:06 PM

If you just have stop blocks on you router table and raise the bit a little at a time you really won’t need a template.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

328 posts in 1196 days


#8 posted 04-13-2014 05:24 PM

Thanks Jim. Any tips on how to safely drop a small piece onto a spinning bit? Also, I assume I’d want to start in the middle; I also assume it would be dangerous to move the piece forward and back – correct?

View ex-member's profile

ex-member

186 posts in 1240 days


#9 posted 04-13-2014 05:40 PM

If you do as a1Jim says and nibble it it isn’t as scarey as it sounds. I still think that box was milled by a CNC machine, no hands involved.

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#10 posted 04-13-2014 05:44 PM

Harvey
Yes you would need to lower the wood onto the spinning bit,I know it sound scary but I’ve done it many times,but remember you taking small cuts raising the bit a little at a time, so the amount of material you take off is minimal.
you start with your wood against the right hand stop and lower the wood on the left side make your cut until you hit the left hand stop then lift the right side of the board off the bit and then raise the bit and repeat until you get the depth you want. If it makes you uncomfortable to pick the board up after making a stop on the left you can always stop the router each time and then pick it up. As you become more at ease with the processes you can eventually make deeper cuts. You are correct you do not want to go backwards .

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View levan's profile

levan

472 posts in 2445 days


#11 posted 04-13-2014 11:10 PM

Here is another option for routing out the grooves. I am big on making jigs for small items ,I just like to keep my hands clear of the cutter.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#12 posted 04-13-2014 11:13 PM

That’s pretty cool Levan

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5730 posts in 2833 days


#13 posted 04-14-2014 01:10 AM

When I do that type of routing I make a template out of hardboard and use a outer bushing. I must have at least 40 to 50 different templates hanging around the shop. Some of my templates are made of acrylic but these are typically very small.
I have a number of templates for picture frames of different sizes, bowls, dishes, false tenon cut outs, and others.
For this application there are two different ways to make the template, one with a single opening and place at different locations over the blank, the other is to make all the openings.

I no longer make templates, haven’t for about 5 years, or use a handheld router because I can’t hold the router long enough due to RA.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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