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Please help a router newbie

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by rdwhitti, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Hi, I am new to woodworking as some of you know from my other threads. I took an intro class a while back at Woodcraft and got the bug, and have been trying to outfit my small space since then. For the router I got a Bosch benchtop cabinet router table and a Bosch 1617 router. I ordered the basic Whiteside 401 router bit set to get me started. I also got the Kreg router table setup bars to make things easy. All is well so far.

    Anyway today I setup the router and table and installed a 1/4” straight bit to try it out. I was just cutting some soft pine scrap so of course there were no issues getting through it. The cuts were very smooth and clean as expected. However when I checked the width and depth of the cuts they seemed somewhat off. The 1/4” wide groove is very tight according to the Kreg bar and is somewhat shy in depth. When I setup the height I set it to slightly over 1/4”, but yet the groove depth seems to be shy of 1/4” which is strange, unless that is just the way it is.

    What particularly worried me was the width of the groove seemed somewhat narrower than it should be. Is this normal? The other dimensions can of course be set (depth, distance from the edge) but the width will be determined by the bit itself. Is it normal to have to take a second pass to get an exact width (I don’t think so but what do I know)? It got me wondering whether I had received genuine Whiteside bits or if Amazon had sent me imitations; how likely are imitation Whiteside bits? They came in a red plastic box with serial number taped onto the side, and a plastic-like coating that I carefully removed. I was very careful not to damage the cutting surfaces

    Am I doing something wrong? Is this to be expected? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Your bit width is determined by the bit. If it is 1/4, then the groove will be 1/4. That's what the 1058 bit is in that set. Depth is determined by the router in the table. I would go by a test measurement for height and adjust accordingly.

    Is the router tight in the router table? Is the bit tight in the collet. Whiteside is about the best you can get.

    I would get a caliper in the groove and measure it. I don't know the accuracy of the kreg stuff.

    The only thing I can think of is the wood is warping? You flatten it out and it comes back to a warped state when you are done routing. Maybe try a different piece of scrap and make sure you are routing in the proper direction. Don't try routing too deep in a pass either. You want the chips to evacuate.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  3. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the info. I need to get some calipers but have heard that the Kreg bars are extremely accurate. I will double check everything as you said but I have gone over it several times. Yes I have heard the Whiteside bits recommended highly so would expect that they are spot on if genuine which is what surprised me. Is it possible that pine would expand while cutting and the contract after the cut? I am just guessing here. I will try other wood but pine is the only scrap that I have at the moment. However I do have some balusters that seem to be harder.

    Is 1/4” too deep to try to route at once? Any recommendations?
     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    No, but just for the heck of it, try 1/8 x 2 and see if it make a difference. flip the wood around and see if grain direction changes anything. use a drill bit as a measuring guage. It shouldn't be tight and it shouldn't be loose, but just right.
     
  5. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the suggestion I will try that.
     
  6. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    When I'm routing grooves I always "sneak up " on the depth, especially if it has to be exact. Also you have to keep a firm and downward pressure on the piece right through the length of the cut otherwise the job can ride up on the bit. If you're a beginner as you say please keep your fingers and hands well away from the cutting bit. Don't be afraid of it but be aware of the damage it can do. Make some push sticks and some that will hold down and push at the same time............and practice!

    DC
     
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  7. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Thanks DC I will keep that in mind. I need to make some push sticks.
     
  8. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Feather blocks and push sticks are your friends with any spinning sharp blades on a stationary tool.

    Having done this for a number of years professionally, I will tell you that as I've gotten older, I've become much more careful about things... But, that has also taught me that things like feather boards also have upped my accuracy by keeping constant pressure on the workpiece.

    I am not familiar with the Kreg blocks. I've been using a combination square and calipers for years. Even the inexpensive caliper set from the hardware store are accurate enough for woodworking and easy to use.
     
  9. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, I am (or at least like to think) very safety conscious and am determined to do things as safely as possible. It scared the heck out of me when I took my intro woodworking class as Woodcraft and the instructor seemed so lax about safety precautions. Sure he had a fancy Sawstop but most of his students never will, and I would hate tho think that he could be responsible for somebody losing a finger (or worse) down the road in their own shop. He even said point blank that push sticks are dangerous and to never use them with a table saw because they make people "go crazy".

    And yes I was using the feather boards for basically the same thing, to add pressure downward and toward the fence.

    Basically the Kreg setup blocks are a lazy man's way of measuring since they are all precision cut to the exact sizes stamped on the blocks, and they are all exactly 1/4" thick. Instead of using your square and eyeballing the measurement you just slide the setup bar into position and tighten things up. They can also be used for checking the cut afterward to make certain everything is correct.

     
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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The width of cut is a mystery aside from the fact that when you get a bit sharpened, the size changes. Shouldn't be the case with new bits, but OTOH every damn manufacturer seems to be moving to a cheaper subcontractor at some point, and there is hardly a product line that doesn't eventually have some dogs.
    Maybe a Chinese factory used a metric equivalent that was a little off.
    Measuring 1/4" with the metric system at work hour 14 on a Friday could lead to a, gasp, mistake.
    I don't have a Kreg bar, do you have another measuring device to confirm the width?

    WRT depth of cut, you may find over time that keeping even pressure on the stock is harder than it initially seems, and you get some variation in the depth.
    If you change hands, or pause to reposition your hands, the depth will take a holiday.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    So the woodcraft instructor tried push sticks and now claims they make people go crazy?
    Yikes! He is confirmed crazy IMO, but somehow I doubt it was the push sticks!
    I wonder how he makes a rip narrower than his thumb?
     
  12. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    He did use them on the jointer but not on the table saw. Instead of standing on the left and using push sticks on the right by the fence he taught to stand on the right and press down with the fingers of your right hand that is hanging over the fence near the front edge, and use your left hand to push past the blade. Your left hand stays firmly on the fence and slides along with the board but stops before it gets near the blade, when the left hand takes over completely. When I questioned him and asked about using push sticks he said that if you MUST use one, use a Gripper, but that he never uses one.
     
  13. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I am with Dave & others on the safety warning. I have a finger with no feeling in the end after reconstructive surgery from a router. Flesh bone didn't slow the motor down even a fraction. I had been using them for years but got too comfortable.

    On your 1/4" bit, some bit specifically for plywood are a slightly different size.

    Eric
     
  14. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    I tried the same cuts with a somewhat harder pine baluster and the width was then more accurate. Is it possible that the first scrap was so soft that the fibers expanded out of the way of the bit and then relaxed back some to make a narrower final width? I'm just guessing here, I would like to hear from the experts who have been at it longer.

    And yes that is a very good point about variation in depth depending on downward pressure, thanks.
     
  15. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    The Whiteside 401 kit is not supposed to be a plywood set but I will check the bit model numbers to be sure.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If cutting the groove in the middle of a thin cupped board you could hypothetically press it flat if strong enough, and then when it relaxed back into the cut the groove would be narrower.
    But IMO the fibers are not going to stand a chance of getting out of the way at 40,000 cuts per minute.
    I've been running routers for maybe 30 years and have certainly seen width of cut variation plenty of times, but usually due to bits having been sharpened smaller.
    It seems like I may have at times found bits cut a little narrow without good reason, but I can't recall investigating since back then one got their dull bits sharpened and the variation was not surprising.

    Here's another thought, since plywood is largely metric and/ or thinner than our 1/4" in this case, maybe Whiteside took the plunge and went for a width that suited the potential use rather than the caliper.
    Edit: This is maybe what @eallen suggested. I have not noticed bits differentiated in this way, but generally buy bits for their appearance and brand/ price.

    A cheap micrometer would be handy at a time like this, I keep them around and find them surprisingly handy.
     
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  17. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    I think I will get a cheap micrometer and check. I have been wanting one for a while anyway.
     
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  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Never stand behind your table saw blade in case you get a kick back. Been there and done that with Plexiglas to the groin. My rule would be to keep your hands away from cutters of all types. A push block or push stick are very handy when your hand is in proximity to the blade/cutter, especially thin types of ripping operations. Plenty of folks out there fall victim to taking chances. I'm not one of them. I have found that as you get older, you do less dumb stuff. These days a dust mask and safety glasses are part of my daily work session. I have push sticks and blocks of varying sizes near the jointer and bandsaw. A drill press clamp is nice too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Heh heh, yeah I've been hit by some kick backs including a sliver of T&G that stuck briefly in me like an arrow!
    Also been hit by another operators kick back from 20 feet away.

    But IME kick backs are almost invariably operator error, and while it's not the only view, in my view it is an error to not fully commit to the operation, and place yourself where you have to most control of the work and least likelihood of losing control which leads to kick backs.
    The OP said his instructor suggested standing to the right of the fence, which will mean you pull rather than push the piece against the fence, while leaning or being tipped in such a way that pulling harder will tip you over into the work.
    Maybe a very large strong heavy man can maintain enough control and force to keep the stock from being kicked back by blade power when operator power drops below blade power, but many operators would likely not have the leverage or control to immobilize the stock in the event of basic chatter, turning it into an accident, due to accident avoidance.

    Again this in my opinion, but failure to maintain full control the leverage or power to apply that control, is already an operator error.

    I guess as time passes we get new theories about preventing shop accidents, but I gotta say, committing to the task is absolutely essential, and acting with fear of an accident may in many cases be the cause of accidents.

    Making a narrow cut with the table saw where the push stick if being cut along with the work, would lead to loss of control and possibly fingers in the blade, if weak sideways holding power is applied.

    Just my thoughts and experience on table saw safety!
     
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  20. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well the blame falls on the operator or the saw .....:). Point being, you can be well versed in table saw operation but sometimes stuff happens when you don't expect it to.
     
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