First day using my router

Note: I wrote more than I intended to. If you have lots of important things to do, you should probably skip this post.
I like to try to amuse those who have tried to teach me so much. I am in the process of building the DP Baseboard that Mike M. termed the "Baseboard of my dreams". That's an exaggeration of course, but it has a ring to it that I like. The kind poster who posts as morgans should get most of the credit for putting the idea for this DP baseboard in my head in the first place.
If you cut 2by8s into five 30" pieces, and line them side-to-side with 2 or 3 pipe clamps you may get 30" by 36 1/8" or 30" by 36 3/16" surface, depending on which sides you measure. I use 30" above only in a nominal way. I measured and cut a 30" piece from a 2by8, then cut four more that were about the same size (it was a matter of pride at the time, a few months ago when I cut the stuff with my CS, that I didn't use a ruler). I bought some 2by4's (2)to at the same time I bought the 2by8s. Originally, I was going to put these all the way around, under the edge of the "surface", but in the end I decided to just put them under the sides. It's a good thing too, as one of these 2by4's virtually turned itself into an "S". It happened to contain the "pith" of the tree. I'll try to avoid such lumber in the future.
Lacking a real workbench, today I clamped my surface together on saw horses as described at the top of the paragraph above. Then I clamped a 36+" piece of 2by4 underneath one side using four 6" F-clamps--2 on each end. Enter router (DeWalt 2 1/4hp). I made a few practice passes with it using a round-over bit yesterday to get a feel for it--it cut easier than I expected. Relatively quiet too compared to my Delta 12.5" bench planer which I used to smooth one side of my 2by4 pieces, where the bearing would rest. Now I was using a 2" long straight bit with a bearing. The amount of wood I was trying to chomp off the end grain of the 2by8 pieces varied from board to board, but wasn't greater than about 1/4" by 1 7/16" height (I realize now this is a little too much). It wasn't too long that my bit froze (stopped turning), and it wasn't too many seconds later that I thought I saw the bit fly! If it freezes again I'll stop and do an inspection. I expected to find the bit against the wall, but it was only a foot or two away from where I was standing. It got thrown, or dropped, into the piece of carpet I was standing on. Enter an opportunity for some soul-searching. I regrouped, and was even more attentive/vigilant, and had a new decidedly-favorite side of the router to stand on (behind it). I moved the F clamps around and finished "straightening" the side. Then I used the (3/8") roundover bit. There were a several places where it didn't look so good--remnants from my use of the straight bit: where the router bumped into a clamp, in between boards, and in particular where I was trying to take off too much wood (I think) with --I was left with some deep gouges. I knew the roundover bit wouldn't cover-up each problem I created with the straight-bit, but it helped.
My wife thought it looked good. I thought it looked acceptable. I ate dinner, and went back and completed the other side (straightened and rounded over). Also rounded over the front. Then it occurred to me (duh..), I went back to the first side, re-clamped the 2by4 1/8" further in, straightened the side to erase my previous errors (I know Larry would have given me hell about them) and redid the first side, leaving far less evidence of my router-newbyness.
Some other things I learned:
- I like the "soft-start" feature of the router - Try to make use of the variable speed feature - Start close to the the edge, so the amount of "climbing" you might do is minimal - Be damn careful about "climbing cuts", like the books say! - I can see why people like having more than 1 router:
    Every time I needed to switch to a round-over bit, I need to un-attach the power to the router, remove eye and ear protection (dust mask was constant), extract the router motor from the base, find and put on a leather glove :), loosen the collet, remove the straight bit, insert the roundover bit in the collet, pull it out 1/16", tighten the collet, remove glove, put motor back in base, adjust height of bit, look for eye and ear protection, verify power switch is off, attach power to the router, and proceed. I left out a few steps, but you get the idea. Similar for switching back to the straight bit! It seemed a bit tiresome to me that there was so much process to this..
So, as you can see, it was a decent learning experience. Sorry to post so many words; I hope my post helps somebody learn how to change router bits! ;) I'll post a pic when I'm finished. Regards,
Bill
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You can't be too rich, or have too many routers, which will keep you from having to change bits so often. If you live near a large city that has a Porter Cable repair facility, they often sell the reconditioned motors cheap ... All you need is the handle/sleeve and a base, both sold separately.
--
www.ewoodshop.com

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Swingman wrote:

I do live within driving distance to a "Delta & Porter Cable" repair facility (passed by, but have never been inside). That falls under the Stanley-Black & Decker empire. Would you expect them to service DeWalt too (also part of the empire)?
My intuition suggests to use a slower routing speed to cut off a lot of wood and to using faster speeds, where permissible, to produce a better finish. Am I on the right track in thinking about this? When I started the project, since I was using bits of at most 1/2" diameter on soft wood, I just assumed fast==good. Someone wrote one that, other things constant, a fast TS will cut cleaner than a slower one. Having made a few passes with the router, I'm ready to try to understand this better. I believe my DeWalt 618 router has 1-6 on its speed dial (which, if the specifications are to be believed, adjusts speed between 8K and 24K rpm). Comments from anyone welcomed. Thanks.
Bill
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Lower speed is for bigger bits. AFAIK, the edge speed of the bit on the wood should be a constant (much like boring).
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wrote:

Lower speeds are for large diameter bits such as what you would find for cabinet door frames. For the smoothest cut the effective surface speed should remain at the highest safe speed the bit allows. A cope and stick bit should be at the lowest speed while a 1/4" straight bit should be at the highest speed.
The rule of thumb I use when using a straight bit to cut a groove is never cut more than 1/2 the diameter of the bit. For example using a 3/8" straight bit, never cut deeper than 3/16" each pass.
Smoothing up an edge like you were doing, I would cut no more than 1/8" at a time and leave a 1/32" for the last pass where I could move the router along fast enough to prevent burning.
YMMV
Larry
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Larry wrote:

Thank you for the rules of thumb. The "1/2 of the diameter" rule makes a lot of sense--the sooner that the bearing gets seated, the better (I think). Otherwise, the bearing makes contact and the router tips a little and you end up with the ruts I ended up with the first time. At least, I'm guessing that's what happened.
I was closer to doing what you suggested the 2nd time. After I cut the roundover--I gave it another pass at the highest speed, and the result seemed smoother! Strange (to me), but true. I doubt anyone will be running their fingers along my DP baseboard so I should be okay. I gave it a quarter-round to help protect it's dignity. I left the back edge alone/square.
People here seem really passionate about their routers though. That's almost too easy of a target. How about playing off of something like "sandpaper" instead. Somehow I'm reminded of a motel I stayed at in Iowa a few years ago that virtually had sheets wrapped around 3/4" ply. You may not believe there is such a place. Innkeeper must have had a sense of humor.
Bill
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