how to tell if bit is sharp enough?

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Me again.
I used the router for like 2 days and now it seems it is causing problems!!!!
I set depth of cut vertically and make a pass (it isn't all that smooth but I can tell the speed at which it seems to like it) but if I make pass 2 at new deptch, the thing seems to not want to bite into the wood and the cut actually moves as if the bit is sliding UP! I ruined several pieces of wood even though it didn't seem to be my fault (unless I was just using
a) a bit not sharp enough b) a bit with pitch on it c) too deep cut (but was same depth as first) d) combo of all 3?
Do they get dull in 2 days? Could I have dulled it by burning it (and wood)? Seems like pine would be a breeze for a router.
So, if I clean the bit with some oven cleaner (how to do it?) how can I ensure it is sharp? I know what sharp is for my razor I use to shave with but is there an objective measurement? I was cutting pine (white I think... or yellow?) and my miter saw blew threw it like butter (but then it has carbide tips).
If it is dull, how to sharpen? Maybe I can find that on a Google search.
Anyway... I am just trying to learn just enough and NO MORE to get at least a decent router cut that may need to eventually be 1/2" total.
I'll prob just buy actual picture frame molding and avoid the router issue. But it's nice to have if I need it.
Thanks, Tim
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Tim,
I read that a sharp bit will cut into your fingernail when you gently slide it across your fingernail. Seems to work. Best bet is to buy good bits. Depending on the depth of you cut (and whether or not you have your router mounted on a table), you might want to consider an up spiral bit to keep the cut clean. Also make sure you bit isn't slipping in the collet.
Chuck
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I don't know if your bit is dull, but a bit that slips is verrrry dangerous. It is a well known problem with Craftsman routers. If it is a Craftsman, return it and buy a different brand router - before you have a bit flying around the room.
Len ----------------------------
Routerman P. Warner wrote:

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One of your comments seemed to suggest that the router bit is NOT carbide tipped. If this is the case, throw it away and never buy a non carbide bit again. A non carbide router bit will indeed dull within very few uses.
An additional bit of advice: Wrap all anti Craftsman tool comments in toilet paper and flush them down the toilet where they belong. They are almost always made by tool snobs who are trying to be in the "in crowd" of smart asses who think that only politically correct brands can be used to do anything worthwhile.
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re. email: I have no equal.
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This "smart ass" had a Craftsman router that did allow the bits to slip. The first time I assumed I had made a mistake. The second time I was pretty sure it wasn't me. After the third time I took a close look at it and brought it back to Sears for a full refund. I have been using a Porter Cable 690 and 7518 since then. Not one bit has slipped!
My comments about the Craftsman were made in the interest of safety - not just to slam the Craftsman brand. If you've got a tool that is not safe to use, get rid of it.
Len
Dirty Bob wrote:

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scribbled

This "smart ass" had *two* Craftsman routers that did allow the bits to slip. This is technically know as ARHA (Automatic Random Height Adjustment). JOAT now has the routers, but he uses loctite to keep the bits in since he rarely changes them.
Luigi Replace "no" with "yk" twice in reply address for real email address
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Tim S.:
And the comments did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by me.
Len:

Tim S.:
Well, I'd love to get the ones with 1/2" shank. That'd help on the slipping and vibrating I hear.
Thanks, Tim

bit
of
do
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Dirty Bob Sez:
"An additional bit of advice: Wrap all anti Craftsman tool comments in toilet paper and flush them down the toilet where they belong. They are almost always made by tool snobs who are trying to be in the "in crowd" of smart asses who think that only politically correct brands can be used to do anything worthwhile."
I like Dirty Bob. He's honest, he's innocent, and he's humble. But most of all, he agrees with me.
Furthermore; it's a poor mechanic who blames his tools.
I am on large WWII vintage equipment at least 50 hrs. a week, and I mean this stuff is GOOD. But at home, I use moderate products and only buy a tool when I NEED ONE. This is less often than you might think, if you use your head before you whip out the credit card.
For instance, you can get away without a bandsaw for many jobs if you have an inexpensive sabre saw with a decent blade.Not every time, of course, but it will do for a lot of stuff. And so on.
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On Tue, 02 Sep 2003 17:06:27 -0400, Silvan wrote:

I recently picked up a Bosch variable speed router for $215 shipped to my door off Amazon.com. 2 1/4 HP motor, takes a 1/2" or 1/4" collet, also comes with a plunge base in addition to the fixed base. Nice purty maple handles, too.
When you're in the market, take a look at it. I saw the same deal at Lowe's for basically the same price.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
The price has started to climb up since I ordered mine, but I've been pretty happy with it so far.
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Ben Siders wrote:

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm not actually looking yet, but I'll bear that in mind when the time comes. I need a new table saw first.
Hmmm... Or do I? Maybe I should re-think this, actually. Now that I've built the second generation crosccut/miter sled, bought a respectable blade, and trued up the alignment, it's turning out to be an inelegant but functional saw. Maybe I could get more use out of a good router at this point, and keep using the saw another year or two.
Damn decisions. Too bad *I'm* Santa Claus, so I know it won't do me any good to ask him for both. :)
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Silvan Sez: " . . .Or do I? Maybe I should re-think this, actually. Now that I've built the second generation crosccut/miter sled, bought a respectable blade, and trued up the alignment, it's turning out to be an inelegant but functional saw." ================================= See, See, SEE? See what Ole PirateBob's been tellin' ya? Good Job! Stay the hell out of them damn catalogs. Most of these fools around here do more Shoppin' than Choppin' Oh, Sylvan, this gives me a warm feeling all over (GOAT'S face). Inelegant but Functional, now That's what I like. More people should think the way we do. I am SO proud.
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RM MS wrote:

Helps that I'm really, really broke. :)
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Tim S.:
Man, you DO sound like me! Or... I sound like you.
Well, I prob won't buy a dif brand but thanks to all for the comments/suggestions and I will buy a carbide-tipped bit and try that.
I have it (router) on a small table so I am pushing wood across it and it is, as you say, marginally workable. Each cut is flawed by either a depth variance or a horizontal (width) variance of some sort.
Crapsman... (hehehehehehhehehe) I suppose that could also be a term of endearment (love some, hate some).
Well, I'll keep on trying.
Thanks again, all.
Tim
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Tim Simmons wrote:

Your router is red, right? (Unless they changed the color scheme in the last few years, which is likely.)
I was just thinking back wistfully when I read your stuff, because that's exactly what I went through. I was using it in my kitchen at the old apartment, and I set off every smoke detector in the place trying it on a couple scraps of "whitewood." Whatever "whitewood" is.

Lots of people have gone down the same road, so don't feel bad. :)
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Tim S.:
Well, I am 40 and have been a professional guitarist/musician for about 2 decades (my CD was given 12 out of 10 in Recording Magazine Aug 95) and did some basic luthier and repair work for a while on electrics and also have a BS in computer science (teach at a local college) and have been doing some art too (airbrush, oils, watercolor, with a few local awards! etc.) so I know that having a quality tool can make the job easier (a bad one can almost make it impossible) and I see little kids with crappy Cracker Jack guitars (I tought guitar for a few years) that their parents spent $50 on and I just hate it for them. You can't really even learn on them due to the extremely LOW quality (frets are uneven in height causing buzzing and sometimes spacing is off creating bad intonation problems as you move up and down the neck, string height way too high and on acoustics it's a pain to try remedying this and for a $50 axe, it's senseless to try, etc.).
So, I say all of that to say... I know I don't have a pro tool but I know it'll do what I need once I practice a bit more and get the carbide bit and be careful about the depth and tightening of the bit.
I'll spend $2,000 on a new synth module but a wood guy I'll never be. :)
Tim
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Tim Simmons wrote:

Yeah, we bought our kids one of those last year, for $8. I figured it was not going to be much good, but for $8 what the hell. It was $8 wasted. They had the bridge attached with two little #10-32 NUTS. No GLUE, just two nuts!! This was a company that said its purported mission in life was to provide inexpensive but *playable* instruments for kids to get started on. Yeah right!
I tuned it up one good time, saw that it was going to explode, and then I let it, just for the amusement of seeing it explode. I should have tried to sue them for a gajillion dollars. Think of the potential for someone to get hurt when that thing came flying off.
But anyway, that brings about an interesting point, now that you mention it. I have a Cheapass acoustic that I bought in 1990 for ~$130, when I was a freshman in college. It was the first expensive thing I ever bought.
I know plywood is bad, I know the cheesy adjustable saddle is bad, I know the finish is ugly, but at the end of the day I've put 2,000,000 miles on the damn thing, worn my satin finish to a gloss, and it still does what I need it to do. It's not like when I play the thing people go "ewwww, yucky, that sounds like plywood." Mostly because I don't surround myself with people who know what a $4,000 guitar sounds like, mind you. ;)
And so I come to my point. Tools are like that. I could get a much better everything, and the Tim Taylor in me wants more power, but at the end of the day a lot of my less than ideal tools have served me well over the years.
Our Crapsman router is still more like one of those Cracker Jack $8 guitars, but the entire spectrum of low end hardware isn't that bad. There's a lot of stuff out there like my $130 guitar. Not elegant, not the most sonorous, but solidly functional and reliable to do a respectable but uninspired job. You don't want something that can't be tuned, with buzzy frets and a neck that's going to go out in six months, but if you can get something cheap that will still be playing after the frets are just about worn out, does it really matter so much if it doesn't have all the features the pros tell you are important?
It really all depends on your budget, and how high you raise the bar for yourself I guess.

There's just not enough money. I'm into everything. Guitar, flute, trumpet, model railroading, acrylics, watercolors, gardening, woodworking, metalworking... What I need to do is figure out a way to become a professional hobbyist so I can quit wasting all this valuable time working.
All I need to do is win the lottery, then I can have the best of everything. The best tools, the best instruments, the best art supplies. And I will still not be particularly good at using any of them. ;)
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Mike and Tim are COOL.
Hey, Tim, in 1990 I had a few fingers go dead over a period of a year or so. I know "first-hand" (HA!) what an inconvenience this is; I could not hold or tools such as scrapers, screwdrivers, pencils, etc. The first symptoms seemed to be when using a washcloth to clean my ears, the little finger collapsed,and things got worse by degrees after that.
The fix was when a hand surgeon ground off a bone process and moved the ulnar nerve to a new path through the elbow. Took a few months, but the hand eventually returned to nearly full strength and function, although my handwriting has never returned to its prior readability. Used to be pretty decent looking.
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Tim S.:
Some people will assume that people who ask honest questions are actually trolls who are just baiting in order to lure folk into arguments. I don't really do that. If I have a point, I make it.
I think you are correct in that my first attempts at routing did involve my ignorance of routing wider than half the diameter of the bit. I think that is part of my problem. The other was I only have been using the router for a few days. The other was I have nerve damage to both thumb, ring and index finger tips and cannot use them. I have to use palms and middle finger mostly (heheheheheh).
So, yes, here's my plan:
a) chunk the Crapsman... oh wait, that's what I'd LIKE to do but I'll just chunk the HSS bit instead and buy a fancy carbide-tipped one. (not sure which one I need. there are so many. I saw many of the Oldham kind. I guess a plunge one? 1/4" shank of course.)
b) route in multiple passes and don't go wider/deeper than about 1/8 " a whack.
c) practise the speed of feed
d) make sure the tightener thingy is very tight
e) make sure the collet nut is tight (but not ready to strip) w/bit 1/16" to 1/8" off the bottom
Thanks again to all of you speedy-replyin' wood-choppin, tool-totin', craftsmen (OOP!). This seems like a really cool newsgroup except for the cross-posting Jesus freak.
Tim
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More importantly - were you cutting the right way? You need to cut counter-clockwise on outside edges otherwise you're doing what's called climb-cutting where the router more or less pulls itself along the piece of wood instead of into the piece of wood.
Also, don't blame HSS bits. They're actually sharper than carbide but don't stay sharp as long.
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Tim S.:
I thought I was going in the dir of feed as labeled on the guides but you know, that is ANOTHER thing I need to verify and I can check the motor rotation as it slows to verify regardless of the label.
Thanks!!!
Tim
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