Router tips


I'm not a hardcore carpenter, more of a shelf maker who likes toys. So I bought a used Craftsman (is that a four letter word in these circles?) radial arm saw, the collet and some bits. I'm trying to shape some 1x2's to make some trim for the edge of shelves but am getting a poor finish.
I've tried running the wood both ways (grain) and take a number of small cuts with a slow feed but still end up with a rough finish. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to get better cuts or is it a result of the setup (the saw only spins at 3,500 rpm) or the type of wood?
Thanks in advance,
Peter
p.s. I know I could buy a router and table but will only use it once every two years and really don't have the storage space.
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How sharp is the blade? How many teeth does the blade have? Is it just a regular steel blade or does it have carbide teeth? There's other things that might account for a rough finish, but I'd start with those three.
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The bits are also Craftsman (new), 1/4" shaft, two cutters, carbide. All small cuts, one is to put three small beads (1/8" R each) and the other is approx a 1/2" x 1/2" shaped chamfer - I'm doing these in about three or four passes. The small beads have the worst finish. But none of it is anywhere close to what you see racked up in somewhere like Home Depot! Should I be using a different type of wood?
Thank you for replying,
Peter
Is it normal to do router work in multiple passes
wrote in message

the
that
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wrote:

Well, in my opinion if you are going to do shaping on your RAS you would be FAR better off with a molder head than trying to use 1/4" router bits. Get the three blade head often seen on ebay for a good price, but not outlandish new at Sears. The head essentially turns this into s real big "bit" so that the cutting edges are moving fairly fast. The 1/4" bits are made for cutting at 20,000 RPMs, not 3,500. The molder head is scary to some folks, but anyone willing to spin 1/4" router bits in a RAS shouldn't be (and needn't be) intimidated by it. There are lots of different profiles available for the molder, including the two you just mentioned.
Dave Hall Dave Hall
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- G.B. Shaw
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four
anywhere
Apologies, I was thinking of saw blade when I answered, not router bits. As you've already learned, you need a much greater speed if you're using router bits.
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Peter Wells wrote:

A good finished edge from a router depends on several things, the most important being proper feed and a sharp bit.
You need to run the work past the spinning router bit at just the right speed. Too slow and you'll wind up with burn marks, too fast and you'll see tear out - no matter how sharp the blade.
Given that most routers are working at 20,000+ rpms, you've already guessed you might have a problem making your cuts at 3,500 rpm. You can probably do it with the aux mandrel on the RAS but you're going to need a sharp bit and proper feed.
There may be other problems inherent in your setup but these are two that immediately come to mind.
In reality, for your purposes you'd likely be better off just buying the cheapest new/used router you can find, do your shaping and toss it into a drawer or shelf. They aren't THAT big. If you only use it one every two years it should still last you a lifetime - even if you're 16 years old<g>
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OK, you already know hte "right" answer.
I'd buy a cheap router for such light use and mount it in an existing table or bench, or a piece of plywood on saw horses. While I don't recommend cheap tools, a recent magazine tested some and found that were acceptable for use like yours. Less than $50 will get you going. I'd also use 1/2" bits whenever possible.
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Peter Wells (in 0KyXe.19849$ snipped-for-privacy@tornado.texas.rr.com) said:
| I'm not a hardcore carpenter, more of a shelf maker who likes toys. | So I bought a used Craftsman (is that a four letter word in these | circles?) radial arm saw, the collet and some bits. I'm trying to | shape some 1x2's to make some trim for the edge of shelves but am | getting a poor finish. | | I've tried running the wood both ways (grain) and take a number of | small cuts with a slow feed but still end up with a rough finish. | Does anyone have any suggestions about how to get better cuts or is | it a result of the setup (the saw only spins at 3,500 rpm) or the | type of wood?
A radial arm saw is a versatile tool - but I don't think it's likely to be a good router. You'll generally want 8000 - 20000RPM (depending on bit and material) for routing.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Peter Wells wrote:

1. It is too slow (Ryobi had a RAS model with a fast - c.20,000rpm - accessory spindle)
- and -
2. the router collet they sold for those saws is a piece of junk...wobbles like a drunken sailor.
If you insist on using the saw as a router, you have to feed the wood left to right with the bit between the board and the fence. Regardless of what you do, the results are going to be bad.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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I know what the problem with my Craftsman RAS and it's not the setup or the bits. On the collet end the bearing is out of round and I could never get a clean cut from any router bits even at the 10" saw end results in smooth crosscuts. Check it out for end play and you see why.
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Thanks to all those who replied, sounds like I'm off to eBay to find some molding bits.
I guess I'll be better off attaching the molder to the table saw than the RAS - right?
Peter

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wrote:

I've used mine on both. Not sure I have a preference. Kinda somewhat like the difference between a "regular" router table and an overarm router table - good places to use both.
Dave Hall Dave Hall
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- G.B. Shaw
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I think if you change the end bearing to take out the play on the RAS, it should be ok although I haven't done that on mine. It's best to have both the RAS and TS options. For example I have a planer attachment that could be use on the RAS but not on the TS. Also some operations are safer on one machine over the other so have both TS and RAS options is better than just having one.

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I've read the other responses and I mostly agree that you're likely to have a tough time routing with the RAS. That said I did the same thing about 20 years ago to put 1" roundover on 1x stock to make windowsills. I guess I wasn't smart enough to know that it wouldn't work because it came out perfectly after some trial and error. This was a 60's vintage Craftsman RAS (was my dad's back then, my grandfather's before that, and I still own and use it regularly for crosscutting)
IIRC, I was using oak. I definitely messed up a few boards before getting the hang of it though. You didn't say what wood you're using or what the dimensions of the shelves are, but IF you can use MDF, it machines quite well on the RAS. My experience with this is much more recent. Be aware that MDF is not nearly as structuraly robust as hardwood so you might need to plan on extra bracing.
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I have a Craftsman RAS purchased back in 1983 when I moved into my house. Perhaps for this newsgroup this is the closest analogy to "I am an alcoholic" in certain support groups.
Like you I fell for the urban legend that the "power take off" was usable for accesories and routing. I tried both, and quickly found out that, in my opinion, they do not work.
Other replies have advised that router bits need a rotation speed far higher than the RAS. Also the RAS carriage is not stiff enough to prevent the carriage rising/falling depending on the grain and resistance to cutting.
Although my RAS helped me to construct various extensions to the house, it is hard to keep this in tune. These days I never move the arm out of the 90 deg mark, and never tilt or rotate the carriage, since any of these movements means the unit will not return exactly to the prior state. So the RAS is now used as a cross cut saw. For mitres and any angle work I use either the compound mitre saw or my table saw.
For routing I only use my router table. I highly recommend even a cheap router over trying to use an RAS "power take off".
Dave Paine.

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