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Flattening end grain with router sled - Help identify my problem?

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Forum topic by Chris_PDX posted 10-27-2014 03:08 PM 2303 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris_PDX

4 posts in 768 days


10-27-2014 03:08 PM

I’m using a router sled to flatten end grain cutting boards, and cannot figure out why I’m left with a horrible finish. I’d love some feedback on what I’m doing wrong, or what I can do to improve… I’ve read so many posts about using a router sled to effectively flatten surfaces like this.

The sled functions well and the boards do come out flat. The problem is it appears that the bit is roughing or tearing up the end grain significantly (I’m not sure what to call this issue… tearout? fuzz?). See photos below. I’ve tried varying spindle speed and also the rate that I’m feeding the router over the board. Saw this same issue when routing pockets on the bottom of the board (not using the sled, following an edge guide)

I’m using a Ridgid 2hp router with a 1.5” Freud bit. Had similar issues with a 1/2” bit. Both 1/2” shank.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004T7CY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The wood is leftover butcher block countertop from Ikea. Beechwood. I haven’t had other issues working with it in table saw, circular saw, router to clean up edge of countertop, sanding, etc.
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40057853/

Other thoughts: the chips that come off are quite small and gritty almost like cornmeal. The surface can eventually be cleaned up with a combo of a cabinet scraper and a ton of sanding… essentially have to remove enough material to get down to clean end grain.

Any input is much appreciated!

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12 replies so far

View JayCop's profile

JayCop

35 posts in 1893 days


#1 posted 10-27-2014 03:25 PM

Not sure how you are clamping everything when routing but it may help to clamp everything as well as possible to get any vibration out.

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chrisstef

15656 posts in 2466 days


#2 posted 10-27-2014 03:34 PM

Maybe you could try wetting the board with a bit of water before routing to raise the grain? It looks like youre getting a bunch of chip out.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#3 posted 10-27-2014 03:40 PM

How deep is your cut?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1947 days


#4 posted 10-27-2014 03:51 PM

I was going to go with a dull bit until you mentioned Ikea.

Many times they will call wood one type when it’s actually another. A lot of the wood they use is “Mysterious Unknownus” wood and defies identification. I even got a piece of wood from a chair they sold that was so saturated with some kind of chemical that it was impossible to get a decent finish on it. It chipped out in the plane and in the table saw for no known reason. The only thing that made it like it was mahogany was the color and the grain, but as you cut into it, it would get lighter and lighter, like a stain or a dye hadn’t gone all the way through.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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Chris_PDX

4 posts in 768 days


#5 posted 10-27-2014 03:56 PM

Thanks for the replies. Some more info:

Clamps – I just had the cutting board on the cast iron saw top (no clamps). One hand on the router, one hand on the board. It didn’t seem to vibrate but I’ll see if clamping helps. I also had some chip-out when routing the pockets (handles) when the board was clamped.

Water – Hadn’t tried that. Should I just mist it on then quickly hit it with the router (to avoid the moisture further soaking in and warping the board.)

Depth of cut: Not very deep, likely ~.030” or 1/32”. It appeared that deeper cuts made the issue worse.

Router bits: tried a 1/2” and 1.5” diameter. Both brand new Freud bits.

Ikea: maybe Dallas is onto something. Although I’ve not had other major issues with it.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#6 posted 10-27-2014 03:58 PM

Good catch, Dallas. I wouldn’t make any judgments until you’ve tried it with known hardwood(s). You may be doing nothing wrong. If you think of pine, it, too, can be milled and cut with great results, but the end grain can act just like the “beechwood” you’re using.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View BigMig's profile

BigMig

385 posts in 2073 days


#7 posted 10-27-2014 04:41 PM

I’m not sure, but perhaps try varying the speed of the bit? Also, make sure there’s no buildup or pitch on your bit when you start the process.

Test pieces would REALLY come in handy now if you have any.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1056 posts in 1449 days


#8 posted 10-27-2014 05:20 PM

I have tear out issues when planning with a router sled, on hardwood, and on face grain. I have a 2” planing bit but I can’t remember the mfr. I also tried a couple of 1” bits with the same results. Anyone have specific router bits and speeds they have used that did not create tear out, especially with oak? I would think the Freud bits would be good, so I’m very interested in any hardwood testing the op can do.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#9 posted 10-27-2014 05:30 PM

I just use standard straight bits—initially a 1/2 and later a woodriver 3/4. Flattened two big cherry slabs with no tear out. That’s odd. Wish I had a good answer.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View patron's profile

patron

13533 posts in 2800 days


#10 posted 10-27-2014 05:52 PM

might try a bowl bit with rounded corners
and cutting into the grain
so there is more grain un-cut holding the fibers in place
the rounded corners will trim the grain down
as opposed to whacking them off at the base

more of a shear cut
instead of a full chop cut

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

View Chris_PDX's profile

Chris_PDX

4 posts in 768 days


#11 posted 10-27-2014 10:46 PM

Thanks all for the replies. I’m going to pick up maple and run some end grain through my current router flattening setup to determine if this problem is stemming from the Ikea “beeachwood”.

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Chris_PDX

4 posts in 768 days


#12 posted 01-22-2015 05:47 AM

Thanks for the help on this, here is a followup.

Turns out my issue was feed speed (how fast I was moving the router over the work piece.) Tearout was very sensitive to feed speed on the end grain. I successfully used both a 1-1/2” and a ½” Freud bit. Was able to sand out the marks/lines left with a ROS with 80 grit, 100 grit, then 220 grit. Worked quite well and got the board dead-flat. The larger diameter bit

Just finished this one, had been wanting to do it for a while. 660 pieces!

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