Routers & Worktop Jigs

Following previous posts, I am planning to put in hardwood worktops (square joints just connected by standard couplings in "dumbell" slots). However I only have a quarter inch Hitachi router. Will this be man enough do you think or do I need a half inch? I don't do much "serious" carpentry and havn't actually used the small router for much.
S
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On 11 Jan 2004 00:50:24 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (OldScrawn) wrote:

Most of the jigs require that you have a 30mm guide bush and either a 12mm or 12.7mm straight cutting router bit.
You can get these sizes of bit with a 1/4" shank.
Cutting the slots for the couplings isn't too bad. Generally you cut to about 2/3 of the depth of the material and it's a fairly small area.
Cutting the postform shapes is a bit more onerous. I just did some beech worktops with a 1/2" 2000W router and was tending to cut comfortably with 8mm of depth at a time. The procedure with the jig I was using is to cut away the waste first with the router in the slot but pulled away from the final neat edge. The final cut is made with the router pushed against the neat edge and that takes a further mm or so away.
I would have thought if you take it slowly with the 1/4" router and perhaps restrict cutting depth to 5mm or so at a pass it should work OK. Obviously don't force the router or the shank may snap and be prepared to stop to allow the router to cool.
It's probably worth practising on a scrap of worktop first to see how it goes and what you can get out of the router and that size of bit without pushing them too hard.
If you were going to do a lot of these you would want a 1/2" router.....
.andy
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wrote:

I concur with everything you say, and would add for completeness that a 1/4in router and cutter is likely to be easily overwhelmed by cutting into worktop materials, and will invariably slow down. It may be that the bit overheats - if the sawdust being generated from the cut has this mysterious fog-like content then it's most probably smoke, which advises that the bit is getting blunt thru getting too hot at the work surface.
A powerful 1/2in router should keep the cutting speed up unless you seriously plunge it too far into the work. Instructions with my Trend T9, worktop jig and kitchen worktop bits advise taking cuts at no more than 10mm a time - so a regular 28mm worktop will require 3 passes to cut right thru.
The bolt holes are generally cut to a depth of 20mm. I tried this a while back with an underpowered router (remember the experience I had with the B&Q PowerPro 2050W?). Waste of time - the Trend T9 sails through the job.
Common sense tells me that the 1/2in router will allow the cutting edges to last longer, by virtue of the fact that the bit isn't getting trapped in the workpiece and slowing down, and isn't building up heat on its cutting edge.
PoP
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Hence it's an idea to take very small bites with a 1/4" router.
Chipboard seems to be pretty rough on cutters as well, although in this case we are talking about hardwood although the OP doesn't say which hardwood. Might be balsa, but I doubt it :-)
I have one of Trend's jigs for cutting holes in floors to put in inspection hatches. I use this with a 1/4" bit and T5 router - the advantage being that you can get closer to the wall. That will go through flooring grade chipboard in about 3-4 passes if done slowly, and the cutter is over 1/2"

20mm for a 28mm worktop but there are thicker worktops and for these you need to go a bit deeper, The aim is to get the bolt at approx the centre line so that when it is tightened the force is in the righ place.
While I think of it, I found that it is a really good idea to use biscuits as well when joining the worktops. The connector bolts allow quite a lot of vertical movement which you don't want.
I put in 6 No. 20 biscuits (largest size) with three bolts across a 600mm worktop. In the absence of a biscuit jointer, you can get a cutter for a router which will cut the slots. The length isn't so critical because even a biscuit jointer cuts slots which allow a certain amount of horizontal movement. However, the biscuits align the worktops vertically perfectly.

.andy
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wrote:

I assume that'll be the circular Trend cutter - where you cut the hole, insert a round gasket (if that's the right description!), and invert and replace the central piece of the hole.
I have been thinking of getting one of those for a while. Are they as good as they sound?
I think they also come in two depths - 18mm and 22mm (? - not sure of the deeper one). Am I right in believing that 18mm is the "normal" flooring depth for chipboard floors?
PoP
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Yes they are and produce a neat job. If you're not in a hurry, I'll knock up a sample and bring along when we have our next pub session in February.
Basically you use a woodscrew to fasten the trammel to the floor, then fit a guide bush and the cutter to the router. The cutter has two steps and an arrangement to stop you plunging too deeply. You simply plunge the router in three or four passes rotating the trammel as you go. Vacuum the dust as you go. For the final pass, you need to hold the router so that it is supported on the main floor rather than the disk being removed. Then drop in one of their rings and then invert the disk and drop that in. You get about a 250mm hole which is enough to work on a plumbing fitting or electrical junction box.
The disk really does not rock. The only think is that you do need to look very carefully that there are no nails.

There's both. I've got 22mm. You can buy spare cutters both depths and in 1/4 and 1/2".

.andy
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wrote:

What about wiring (or plumbing) on the inside of the hole? I had imagined that the router bit would protude very slightly at maximum depth, and could potentially catch a cable that was lying on top of insulation material (I'm particularly thinking loft flooring here as I've got to sort out a ceiling light problem on a loft floor I fitted a short time ago - and I don't want to take up half the loft boarding to do it!).
Looks like another late Xmas pressie for me then..... ;)
PoP
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There is a special cutter which is stepped and has a ball race at the top. It can plunge to the precise depth and no more.
http://tinyurl.com/2gkao
However with a cable on insulation you could have an issue since the insulation may tend to spring upwards and raise the cable. I suppose the way round it is to trace the cable with a detector and make the hole off to one side.

Seems that way.......

.andy
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wrote:

Actually I've just thought of a good workaround.
I don't nail all the boards in a loft - just the start and end of the run. So the boards in the middle (where I need this access hole) can be lifted a small amount.
If I did that I could slide a piece of hardboard under where I'm going to cut, and this would prevent the router contacting the cable even if it was lying on top of the insulation.
Job done. Brilliant!
PoP
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(OldScrawn) wrote:

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I only

or do

actually
I'm not widely experienced with routers, so all I'll add is to recommend use of ScrewFix PTFE spray.
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Thanks all for the advice. I'm experienced with other power tools so I know about keeping the speed up and avoiding burning. With the price of 40 mm Iroko I was certainly planning to practice first! If the 1/4 inch seems underpowered I guess I'll invest in the 85 Erbauer. I'm planning to use 3 bolts and five biscuits per joint (I have the Ferm jointer, bought just before the last price cut!).
One further question, I hadn't come across PTFE spray for routers, does everyone agree?
S
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On 11 Jan 2004 16:06:38 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (OldScrawn) wrote:

5 biscuits per joint? I think you'll find difficulty placing those!
The 3 bolts are equi-spaced in the joint, but as I recall there won't be enough room at the front and back of the joint (measured from the round edge of the worktop) to fit a biscuit in.
There is room to get a biscuit between the bolts though.
Your mileage may vary if you've got a different worktop jig to me (I got a Screwfix one), in which case the bolt recesses might be different.
PoP
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Slip of the finger, I meant four. Two outboard, one between each bolt.
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On 12 Jan 2004 01:22:21 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (OldScrawn) wrote:

.. although if you do angled joints to create worktop across a corner as I have just been doing, you can get in 5 or 6 since there is a longer run of joint.
.andy
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