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Router Table WTF?!?!?!

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by bjh517, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. bjh517

    bjh517 TDPRI Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    South Florida
    So, I thought I had it all figured out. If I want consistency from build to build, I will abandon cutting out the bodies with the bandsaw and go with a router table and templates.

    I ran to Northern tool and bought a nice 2 inch flush router bit, then to Harbor Freight to get their little router table/router combo (1 3/4 hp). I used the bit first with a handheld 2 hp router and it worked great, cuts nice and cleanly. When I went to use the combo set up, all hell broke loose. No matter which way I fed it from, it started bucking and trying to rip it out of my hand! Chipping and breaking the mahagony in the process.

    I took a break to think things through.... Maybe I'n feeding it in too fast.... maybe I need to hold on tighter. So back out I went for another try. Fed the wood nice and smoothly. It went about half of an inch and it ripped it out of my hand and gouged a hole in my palm in the process! WTF??

    Why would this be different than using a hand held router? Shouldn't it be MORE stable? I like the concept of templates, but right now I'm almost scared of the damn thing! I have plenty of experience with power tools, just not a router table.

    Any suggestions?

    Attached Files:

  2. aikiguy

    aikiguy Tele-Meister

    Nov 2, 2010
    Alameda California
    Router finishes not starts the process

    This should be in the Home Depot area instead of finely finished.

    I can't see your photo. However from your description of your process you may have the steps messed up.

    1> Trace the pattern on the body
    2> Cut out as close to the line as you can with the BAND SAW
    3> Attach the pattern to the body
    4> Route the body using the pattern

    The band saw is still needed to do the heavy lifting by removing the majority of the wood, you try and route only the smallest amount of wood that you can.

    With a good band saw you are routing off less than an 1/8 of an inch with the router. If you try for more that that at one time the router is going to tear out the wood and try to throw it across the room.

    Routers are finish tools, not rough tools. You have to rough it out with the band saw first then finish with the router.

    Also is that 2" bit a straight sided bit or a spiral? The spiral bits cost more but work much much better. You still need to do the rough cutting on the band saw.

    Something is really wrong there. Looks like you are cutting off too much, and or that the router is not secure, or the shaft or collet is loose or not straight. Harbor Freight is not known for quality tools.

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012

  3. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    How much wood thickness are you trying to remove? you should be removing 1/16" or so with a router. You are still going to have to cut it out with a bandsaw.

    IMO a full 2" bit is too big to try to use in one of those little portable tables.

  4. bjh517

    bjh517 TDPRI Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    South Florida
    Three great points right off the bat! Thanks!

    1. I was just using scrap to test it out, but I was removing MUCH more than 1/8 inch. I was trying to do the rough work at the same time.
    2. It is a straight edge bit, I will look into a spiral bit.
    3. The table, router and collet are secure, perhaps the bit is too long for a cheap setup like this. I could get away with an 1 1/2 inch bit because I cut the body and the laminate top separately - perhaps that might help.

    Thank you

  5. Laurent Brondel

    Laurent Brondel TDPRI Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    West Paris, ME - USA
    Ideally your bit is sharp and your router powerful enough to spin a 2" long cutting bit. Is it a 1/2" collet? HF hardware is not the best BTW, I would stay away from that stuff.
    Even with a super sharp bit and a steady powerful router you don't want to remove more than 1/32" on a 1 3/4" thick chunk of wood, especially not close to or at the end grain. Climb cutting minimizes the risk of chipping out. Hold the piece steadily against the table and the bit and keep your hands away from the bit. Always start at the apex of a curve, and never on an inside curve or on end grain. Bandsawing and using a spindle sander to get as close as possible to the line is still the best option before going to the router table.

  6. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    1. You are using a straight flute router bit on a curve section. TEAR OUT will happen!!!
    2. You are attempting to remove too much material

    Lots of other factors as well, but those are the two that are giving you fits.

    If you intend on routing a full 2" thick piece of wood, you are going to have to invest in a quality router, quality spiral router bit, bandsaw, and spindle sander in most cases.

  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2008
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    This ^. I never take off more than a 16th with a straight bit and never have tearout.

  8. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    Man , that is scary , please read up on router use , read some of the challenge threads here , routers are great tools and big time savers but remember , that bit is spinning 20,000 - 25,000 rpm , bad things can happen if you are not operating it properly and safely , I never take more than 1/16" at a time and usually less than that , band saw , spindle sander , then router table , good quality bits .

  9. collectiveoasis

    collectiveoasis Tele-Meister

    Feb 13, 2011
    I have to agree with everyone else here, you're most likely trying to remove too much material! Routers scared the hell outta me to begin with as well, but since I've got some uses under my belt, I very much respect it and more importantly the damage it can do!

    I'd stick to band sawing close to the template line and then go for the router table. Good luck!

  10. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    A router is a sideways planer.

  11. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

    Oct 13, 2009
    Johnson City, TN

    Anyone using a router table should wear a heavy (think full grain leather) shop apron, and face protection. And even with face protection never put your head at bit level while the thing is moving.

  12. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Those are a couple of scary-looking pictures....

  13. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    I agree , I need to get a leather apron , already have a full face shield .


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