Routing problem, what did I do wrong ?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by zorgzorg2, May 24, 2016.

  1. zorgzorg2

    zorgzorg2 Tele-Meister

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    Hi all,

    I've been reading tdpri a long time, and I finally decided to try and build a tele myself.

    For the body, I glued two 18 mm birch finger joint boards on top of each other, with a thin (3mm) birch plywood layer on top, making it a 39mm thickness for the body (1.53 inches). (That all you find in hardware stores around here...)
    I made a template of mdf, cut the body with a band saw at a friend's to remove most of the wood. So far so good.

    The next was then to use a router to take away the remainder of wood, and that's when it went haywire:
    [​IMG]
    I didn't feel like I was applying a lot of pressure in the router (horizontally), just enough to keep the router from jumping around, but still the bearing from the router bit left marks in the mdf. Is MDF not hard enough for a template ?
    Then the wood chipped badly, am I routing too fast ? too slow ? is the wood bad ?

    Help ! Looks like I need a introductory course to routing...

    For reference, here is the router bit I was using:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Pattern routing with a straight bit opens up the possibility of tear out where the grain changes direction. Many have gone to a spiral bit that goes in a router table. That seems to do the trick. Some of us sick of the tear out have changed approaches and now sand to the line on the spindle and belt sanders instead of routing. Cutting close to the line before routing will help to some degree, but there are no guarantees. The party line says to reverse direction of your router ( climb cutting) , which to me is a big safety infraction. The people whose work shot across the room will probably agree to that statement.

    See post 6 here for the spiral bit:

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/spiral-router-bits-up-cut-or-down-cut.366768/

    The bottom line is that you should take more passes with a shallower cut on a body that is trimmed to within a 1/32" of the perimeter. Even doing that, I've experienced the annoyance of tear out and conceded that sanding is the way to go for me. Try using a 1/2" deep cutter like Stewmac or whiteside sells.

    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...n=2016-05-gp&gclid=CKLn5v_i88wCFYIBaQod6AoHOg

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...d_t=201&pf_rd_p=1944687522&pf_rd_i=B000HZX4WE
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  3. allen082

    allen082 Friend of Leo's

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    Did you try to take all that off in one pass?
     
  4. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The biggest problem is that this is your first project. It'll get better. Your first body should be something cheap, like whatever the equivalent of 2" dimension lumber is in your area.

    Looking at the waste wood at the bottom of your body, it looks like you didn't cut very close to the final shape, and didn't try to do a smooth job of cutting. Those things make a big difference. When you route you want to take very shallow, very light cuts. If you hear your router speed change, you're cutting too aggressively.

    Another thing that helps is what Jack Wells posted here:

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/body-building-101-routing-the-shape.80099/page-2#post-1788793

    This will cause howls of contempt, and predictions that you will shoot your body across the room and kill family pets for miles around. This method works, I use it. You have to be careful any time you use a router, and if you're routing on anything that isn't clamped down you're insane anyway.

    Remember, light, shallow cuts!

    As for the body that you have started, it looks ugly, but I'd bet that you could sand out the tearouts and end up with a usable body.
     
    chauncy likes this.
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The above response to a situation that is really considered unsafe is no benefit to somebody with little to no experience doing this sort of thing. Apparently a few of us forgot the threads where the flying body did actually happen a year or so ago.

    Jack Well's thread was an argument waiting to happen then, and still is. No chest thumping here...just common sense on proper power tool usage. You feed against cutter rotation when using a router. Anything is else risky and not for the novice woodworker.

    http://www.woodcraft.com/articles/605/understanding-router-feed-direction.aspx

    from the above link: "Climb cutting is a somewhat controversial technique for routing. It must be done cautiously, with workpieces safely clamped in place or with the router anchored in a router table. For more on how to make a climb cut, see Chapters Six and Seven."

    http://www.startwoodworking.com/post/routing-safe-and-sound

    quote from above

    4. Getting away with the climb cut

    "The direction of cut has great bearing on the quality of the cut. Typically, you should cut whereby the bit is clawing at the workpiece, not rolling in the same direction (climb cutting) as the feed. But there are times when you might want to climb cut.

    If you look at a router upside down, you'll see that the bit spins counterclockwise, and when the router is on top of the workpiece, it's spinning clockwise. When the router is pushed through the cut with the bit spinning into the edge of the workpiece, it's called a climb cut. The bit can self-feed or climb along the cut, wrenching the router forward. Though risky, climb cutting produces a superior edge, without the kind of tearout anti-climb cuts produce. It should only be used when you have mastered the tool. And above all, take very light passes."


    To me Risky means maybe I don't want to do it. Obviously not everyone feels that way. You OP have to decide for yourself.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/pattern-routing-practice-pattern-routing-safety.545034/
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  7. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I predicted that. I haven't forgotten any of the flying body threads, no more than I've forgotten the threads dealing with electrical shock or other assorted mishaps.

    With all due respect, and I do respect your opinion and ability, yours is not the only way to do things. Clamp your work down, take light, shallow cuts, and keep your head in the game.

    Or not. Don't care.
     
  8. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    A personal experience bon climb cutting in my furniture building days before guitars is it can be dangerous. I realized it during the plastic surgeon reconstructing the end of my middle left finger. The 2-1/2 horse router didn't even slow down for flesh. The only finger tip hat no longer feels cold in the winter.

    I still do climb cuts on bodies but with great caution and hands far away, and only with minimal material. I have actually ended up with router tear out while climb cutting as well from the bodies grabbing the body & jerking it. I can't recommend it for anyone not well seasoned.

    No mater which direction, routing means small bites & taking the time with a sharp bit.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  9. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    Besides the tear-out, it looks like your bearing somehow sank into the template. Could be the bearing is not turning freely and needs some lubrication. I don' see any burn marks, so it may be compressing the MDF, not grinding it off. It might be, that as the blades were grabbing the fibers where the tear-outs occurred, it created too much pressure on the bearing against the template.

    I've hardened the edges of MDF templates with Titebond glue, mixed about 1-3 with water, some people call this "sizing". Brush it onto the edges, don't soak it too much, water can swell the fibers and make things worse. When it dries, it may have raised the grain; a little light sanding may be needed to smooth it out. It works for me. Others may recommend CA, or super glue, I've never tried it for this purpose.

    Routers are definitely dangerous. Be safe. Climb-cutting, while hazardous, may be the only way to get a clean cut on some boards, but it can lead to calamity. Sharp bits usually cause less tear-out than dull ones. Keep the pictures coming.
     
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  10. zorgzorg2

    zorgzorg2 Tele-Meister

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    All,

    Thanks a lot for all the feedback! You're amazing :)

    • Spiral bit: it could be a solution, but I don't have a router table unfortunately, only a hand router.
    • I did not take out all in one pass, I tried to take small bits at the time, but router kept digging in the material. So yeah, I will cut closer with the band saw next time.
    • Climb cutting: as you realized, I'm a novice in routing, so I might pass on that for now. Even with regular routing, the router is "bumping" as soon as I am a bit too soft...
    • I will continue routing this body for practice, I'll even fill the holes with wood paste so I can use it in the end. As you said, it's my first build, so it's doomed anyway :)
    • Great tip for the MDF, I'll put wood glue on the edges for the next one.
    Thanks again, I will keep you all updated. I'll put the rest of the pics from the build so far in another thread as soon as I find the time!
     
  11. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Keep your fingers! ;-)

    I too have come around to the position of sanding to the line on bodies. When things go pear-shaped with a router, it can be all over in an instant; the OSS isn't so "sudden". It can take longer, but it's generally less stressful...
     
  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I certainly don't claim my way is the way to do things for everyone. In fact, in all my threads I've tried to show a variety of ways to do the same thing. It comes down to material removal and there are plenty of different ways to hurt yourself or not doing it.

    The bottom line is that the template routing has become mainstream for body shaping. You can't argue that 50 percent or more of people doing it experience tear out...and those are the ones we hear about. To me that sends a message. The technique may be do-able...but may not be the best method. Trying to compensate for a flawed technique in this particular situation with the changes of grain direction may be a way to do it or not, but that doesn't make it necessarily something that should be promoted to a group of woodworkers with little experience with the tool at all.

    Nobody is promoting climb cutting in any of those articles for new woodworkers. Yes, we should know it exists and what the results can be. It's good to know what happens when you use your power tool the wrong way. Experiencing kickback on a table saw is a pretty good lesson too. In the end we all make choices. We can choose to use a pushstick or not. We can choose to wear a motorcycle helmet or not. We can choose to get tear out...or not...:).

    DSutton, I'm sorry we butt heads on this topic. We both feel strongly about our different opinion. I spent half my lifetime trying to keep people from getting hurt doing this stuff. I will continue to promote safe practices and try to help reduce injuries. I certainly don't think that is the wrong thing to do. YMMV and do what works for you.
     
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  13. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

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    Routing like any other task in building guitars takes practice , experience , and confidence . There are some bits out there like the 2" up cut spiral flush trim bit that should never be used for climb cutting even in a router table , and climb cutting with a handheld router is something that experience helps a lot with and even then can be tricky . I prefer to route my bodies but sanding is a viable option . Bandsaw skills can be a big help , cut as close to the line as possible , sand before putting the template on to route , try leaving no more than 1/32 " to 1/16" to take off with the router , small bites depth wise . Most folks have had cases of tear out when starting out , most have learned how to avoid it or minimize it to the point of not being an issue . Routers are a great tool , they speed up the process , they can also speed up destruction of the project . Good luck with your project and looking forward to seeing updates .
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Think about petting a dog, which way do you do it? Head to tail or tail to head? The tear out you have here is due to the cutter being pushed 'tail to head' on that wood's grain in that area. See how the cutter is lifting the thick side of the uncut chip in the easiest way to split the wood? In that area you need to cut light and go slowly from right to left (hold the router firmly and have the body clamped firmly). You can't 'climb cut' the whole way around the body for the same reason or it will chip out and toss the router. There are other spots on the body that need the same careful attention to avoid tears. Remember petting the grain and you'll reduce the chipout, 'good tele, good tele'.

    A spindle and belt sander after routing really helps with the finished appearance.
     
  15. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm going to go with a different tac (tact?). Anyone notice how the bearing sunk into the MDF on top?

    I suspect that either the router was "grabbing" the wood as opposed to shearing it. I think the MDF template on top was exposed to moisture at one point wekneing the edge. This caused the bearing to sink in probably due to a number of factors including vibration, bit grabbing the grain, and so on. Bit is not parallel to the wood, wavy grain, and so on contribute to causing a bunch of tear-out, and simultaneously ruin the template.

    Also, I notice that using your router bits to regularly to route MDF, plywood, and pine causes a buildup of glue and pitch on the bits. This clogs the cutter channels (where the waste wood evacuates), causing binding, and sometimes tear-out or fraying. Plus it can build up on the cutting edges as well causing it to dull in places.

    Anyhow, just a thought or two.
     
  16. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I would guess the template got messed up because the bearing and cutter are not the same diameters. I've had quality Freud bits be dis-similar and display that kind of results on the body.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  17. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Simple answer is that it seems you were trying to take off too much material in both dimensions. Don't raise the bit so much each time, just take off 1/4" or 3/8" worth for your height of cut. That's less stress on the bit and on you, so there's less chance of jumping around and less force needed. Just as importantly, don't expect the router to cut that much material horizontally - it will happily take out the wood and more leaving you with tearout. For smooth results take only a little bit at a time. That could mean swapping out for a larger guide bearing (which isn't always easy on a top-bearing pattern-routing bit) which leaves you with a ledge to cut with the nominal bearing. The idea is to leave only about 1/16th of an inch for the router to cut when following the pattern. The more common solution (aside from a well-tensioned, fresh bandsaw blade and enough experience to cut very close to the line) is to sand down the edges with a spindle sander to get yourself close to the line, then use the router for the actual precision step of following the template.
     
  18. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    I just have to say, if you can build a body template, you can build a router table. It makes working with bodies so much easier, so do that first.

    Secondly, sand or band saw as close to the template as possible. I am also in the camp that since I have my Oscillating Spindle Sander (OSS some have the Rigid model so it is ROSS to others) I just sand to the line and call it good. But if I do have an instance to use a bearing bit, I make sure it is good and sharp and never take off more than a 1/16" working with the grain and I still get tear outs. I usually cut about a 5/8" strip or less, then remove my template and take the rest off using the just routed section of body with the template.

    Sadly, with my cheap bits I am lucky to get two to three bodies before they have to be replaced. So if you have used that bit quite a bit it may be time to sharpen. The sharper the better.
     
    Blue Bill likes this.
  19. zorgzorg2

    zorgzorg2 Tele-Meister

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    A lot of great tips here, thanks again!

    I now get the point with the wood grain, and it's actually accurate that the parts that went bad were being cut against the grain. And quite logically, routing against the grain would result in 'grabbing' the wood and tearing it off. So I would have to find another solution then.


    @Preacher , yes, I should make a router table.

    Regarding the router bit, it's brand new, just used it once for a test run before this, so I think it's still sharp.

    Also you guys are right, I was removing too much wood at the time. I didn't get the band saw to cut like I wanted to, leading to some zones with 2 to 3 mm of material to remove. And I should take a shorter bit, and cut in several passes, that will be easier.

    About the MDF, it might be the humidity, it was already quite soft when I worked on it, and leaving it outside for a night must not have helped. But if it take more precautions, I suppose the router won't be needing so much strength hold, and won't dent the mdf.

    A belt sander would be nice to have too, I will see if that fits my budget. :)
     
  20. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    I picked up a ROSS last year for $100, off Craig's. It's possible to shape a Tele without a router, using one of these, with no tear-out danger, although it takes a sure hand to gen nice smooth contours and avoid removing too much. A robo-sander, on a drill press, is another option. With some experience, a router is the fastest and most accurate way to shape a body.
     
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