Fun router technique question

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I needed to take a fun break from worrying about the Federal Reserve System. : )
I placed a drawing of a pencil holder (feature) of something I am designing. Please take a look on my web site if you care to:
http://web.newsguy.com/MySite /
I am curious how the "craftman" might approach this problem. I think it's interesting. Intuitively, it seems to me that one would build "ramps" to raise the router bit away from the wood near the end of the cut. What do you think (maybe you can you refer me to an example)?
Bill
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I know you said router but that seems like a lot of work. If you have a band saw.....
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wrote:

By saying, "Stick to designing, don't tell me what tools to use, ignorant would-be designer." ...while on his/her way out the door.
The radius on the end is the radius of the sawblade or shaper cutter used to cut the slot. Go back before circular saws and you'll find these holes carved in various ways suitable for carving. You're copying a detail that's made for a particular sort of spinny round tool, but you want to cut it with a different spinny round tool - not well thought out. Try your ramps. Make the cut - don't waste good lumber on it. See the problems for yourself. Become educated.
Even programming a CNC router (which is about as close as you'll come on a router to this) is not going to leave a decent finish cutting this from the flat surface with that edge detail (long edges vertical). Biscuit bit might give the radius on a router, but you've got a lot of stick-out to the edge of the piece, so it will make a crappy cut even if you can stick it out that far. Close to the edge of the piece you might be able to use a biscuit bit for this effect.
You can cut perfectly nice pencil holders with a router, but this won't be the shape they come out (or even a shape they can come out, other than "crudely approximated if you have a CNC router, and even then the corners won't look right due to bit radius.")
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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Ecnerwal wrote:

You make some very good points. That's why I posed the question--so that I might learn the craftsman's point of view. I could actually see some of the issues--even without the cut. If I didn't, I would not have brought it up. With a slight modification, I thought I might be able to do a passable job on the ends with a chisel, maybe not. I'm quite sure that the problem of cutting a pencil holder still has something left to teach me. A round-nosed bit, as has been suggested, would probably yield acceptable results for my application, but I'll keep thinking on it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. :)
Bill
Try your ramps. Make the cut - don't waste good lumber on it. See

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Do you just want a pencil slot the easiest way or do you want a specific shape of pencil slot? And what do you have now for tools?
The easy way to get the cut you described, if a 5 inch radius is OK on the ends, would be a radial arm saw and a dado set. Getting it with a router and having it look good would be a pain. There's probably a way to do it on a table saw safely, but I can't think of a setup that doesn't scare the crap out of me.

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On 1/25/2011 10:49 AM, J. Clarke wrote:

I actually want a pencil "tray" wide enough for 4 or 5 pencils and pens. It's actually going to sit in the bottom of a "keyboard stand" (I've been relying on 2 Amazon book boxes, sitting side-by-side, for over 5 years). Before I started cutting, it occurred to me I might as well add a pencil tray. The rest is negotiable. I was hoping that sharing my problem might stimulate an interesting discussion and result in learning new things, and I haven't been disappointed. I don't have many tools (I have a router but no TS), and this no doubt has something to do with my choosing a project which, on the surface at least, looks like a very simple project---basically a box laying on it's side! : )
Bill
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Bill wrote:

As I understand it, you want a piece of wood partially hollowed out lengthwise; the bottom is to be flat but curve upward at the ends; the sides are to be vertical. Is that it? If so, you cannot make it with a router as long as the plane of the router bit shank is perpendicular to the bottom because the bit will be crosscutting which means their will be a radius where the ends and sides meet.
As someone suggested, you could do it with a slot cutting bit if you arrange router and wood so that the bit is ripping.
The easy way is with a RAS as someone also said. Since you have neither TS nor RAS, the simplest thing is cut the future sides off the piece of wood, rout out the remainder with a core box or similar bit then glue the sides back on.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

Skew the piece and cut a cove on the table saw, Bill. http://woodgears.ca/cove/index.html
-- If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying? -- Shantideva
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I go through too many pencils, copying down the things you guys write, for that to suffice. I'd had to install my pencil sharpener inside... : )
Bill

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If you absolutely *have* to use a router, my first question would be, "What radius are the curves on the ends?" Maybe a round nose bit would work.
http://cdn.eagleamerica.com/images/uploads/v130-0202_p.jpg
Max
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That's what I used when routing groves in a piece of MDF to accommodate my milling cutters.
A single flat piece of MDF which forms a tray, which slides into the milling machine stand like a draw. Grooves were basically semi-circular in section though in some cases, for the larger diameter cutters I had to make two passes to increase the width.
--
Stuart Winsor

Midland RISC OS show - Sat July 9th 2011
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I put up two SketchUp pictures of the keyboard tray I designed on my web site in case anyone wants to see where the pencil holder ended up.
http://web.newsguy.com/MySite /
I plan to use yellow poplar, a wood I basically like the natural appearance of. Is there a simple finish I might consider, compared to just leave it unfinished? I don't wish to polyurethane it to a shiny finish.
Thank you again for the help I received regarding the implementation of the pencil holder feature.
Bill
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On 1/27/2011 8:49 PM, Bill wrote:

of. Is there a simple finish I might consider, compared to just leave it unfinished? I don't wish to

Two comments:
1) Your previous sketches have a vertical edge at the front of the pencil slot. I cannot tell if that is still true in your current version. If so then it would be easier to get your pencils out of the slot if the edge had a slope to it.
2) I think that your keyboard shelf design will result in the keyboard being too high. Obviously you will want your legs to fit under the shelf. So the keyboard will have to be several inches above your legs. So you will have to have your arms bent upward at your elbows instead of having your fore arms nearly level.
Dan
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Dan Coby wrote:

You are right (about the previous version and this version being the same). The "track" is 3/8" deep. The way I"m going, I may be doing some chiseling along that front edge--depends on the way the tip of my router bit leaves that front edge. I haven't used my router before so this feature will probably be interesting. If history is any indication, I should probably buy enough wood to do that cut twice... : )

The configuration I described works with respect to me and my desk. The desk's keyboard holder is a little low for me, but the tray will make it work okay. I'm currently using propped up cardboard boxes yielding identical keyboard placement so I know what I'm getting, fit-wise. Without the props, my hands are so low I get a sore neck.
Thank you for your interest!
Bill

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Core-box bit.
--
There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat,
plausible, and wrong." (H L Mencken)
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This might work with ramps. There was a thread a while back when a guy was doing flutes and I recommended feathering the ends by using ramps and he did a big write-up on it. Same technique would probably work.
Depending on how big this piece is and how important, I would buy a dedicated cutter for the router that is the righ width (or less) and plung cut it face in.
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Or, if the vertical walls are essentially to your design, try a slot cutter. This would require a router table, I imagine.
Turn the work piece on its side. Using stop blocks on a fence to define the beginning and end points of the cut, make your first pass. Raise the cutter the requisite amount, make another pass. Rinse, lather, and repeat. A router lift would make this less tedious.
This would also be a good application for a milling machine.... Time to buy another tool, Bill!
If the vertical wall isn't important, then use a core box bit. Just think of it as a very wide flute!
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Steve wrote:

Yep, I was just reading on it, and the "core box bit" seems to be the right bit to use. Thanks!
Bill
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Another approach: Rip the piece along a line that coincides with one of the vertical walls of the pencil holder slot. Then use a long straight bit, with the router held horizontally and the bit at right angle to the rip. Afterwards, glue the 2 pieces back together.
--
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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Larry W wrote:

Beautiful idea! I just happen to have a 2" plunge router bit too. Several other excellent ideas proposed too, but yours seems very consistent with the original problem spec. I'll either do this or go with the core box bit (or maybe try both eventually...)
Thank you, Bill
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