I am building a children's play structure using plans I purchased
(www.u-bild.com). The one phase at which I have zero experience is routing.
The plans state to round over the edges of most of the pieces with a 1/2"
router bit. I bought a Ryobi 1.5HP R161KT handheld router and a
Viper bit (I've since seen decidedly mixed reviews in this NG, but
I'll probably use that at least to start & replace if it wears out).
The router manual says to only go 1/8" deep in a single pass, which
means 4 passes through the entire lumber collection (~300ft of edge).
Are 4 passes really necessary, or can I go deeper for this type of cut?
The lumber in question is fir, plus some 4x4s I'll need to get in treated
pine or something else.
Any other tips for doing this properly would also be appreciated.
No, multiple passes are not required. You should have no problem with one
pass. You are not looking for a perfect finish here. I just finished a
large swing set for my grand kids. One bit, one pass, no problem. Have
With fir, I would try it with one pass first and see how it goes, then drop
back to whatever it takes to get the job done if you have problems. You will
probably need a better bit for the long haul, though.
This is strictly an OJT (On Job Training) exercise.
Try it their way, then adjust cut depth if you feel comfortable doing it.
SFWIW, I almost always make shallow, multiple passes when using a router.
S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
You have a crummy router and a crummy bit, but it is an easy cut on soft
wood. You ought to be able to do it in one pass. A more difficult cut on
oak wouldn't stand a chance in one pass.
If you are doing the ends, you might want to do a few passes on them though.
I have never routed fir, but end grain can be tricky.
Since you have not routed before, there is one very odd thing you should
know. You have to move fairly fast without hesitation. If you go too slow
or stop, you will leave a burn that can be hard to get out.
It goes without saying that a router can do a lot of damage very quickly, so
be careful. It is certainly safer than a table saw, but it still requires
On Tue, 1 Jun 2004 22:39:31 -0400, "Jeff DLB"
Your choice. I'd do two passes, if only to save wear and tear on the
router ...cut down on the strain. Also with less strain on the second
cut, there is less chance of tearout leaving possible splinters for
little hands. Do all with one pass, then all again with the second,
lowering the bit just the once. 300' is nothing if you check the time
it takes to swing a router across a piece of wood. You're done before
you finish talking about it.
Don't worry about the time it takes. That's called woodworking.
Family is worth it.
Adding to what has been said route in the proper direction, the bit
should be pulling the router INTO the wood. Routing in the less
preferred direction is called "climb cutting" and that can pull the
router out of inexperienced hands.
On Tue, 1 Jun 2004 22:39:31 -0400, "Jeff DLB"
For timber framing work I much prefer to chamfer my edges with a
spokeshave. Quick, easy and no whirling, screaming demon. The work of
pulling the shave is less than that of holding up the heavy router.
If you can find one, there are even shaves with built in chamfering
Fir has a tendency to splinter when the edge is routed. Try one pass
in the direction the router tends to pull (hang on tight!) and a
finishing pass back the other way. Don't push too hard against the
bearing or you will leave a groove in the soft wood.
Be careful with the PT wood around kids. Do the routing somewhere
where they won't have contact with the sawdust. Make sure they won't
be able to touch the PT posts in the finished structure. Wrap them in
1x6 fir if necessary.
Take a light cut - 1/8" until you get the hang of holding onto the thing. If
you "climb cut" (move the router in the same direction as the bit is
rotating) the sucker can grab and bolt on you, so keep a tight grip! Also
takes some practice to keep the thing level, and not tip it.
All of these things are mitigated by the fact you're using a roundover bit
on outdoor stuff - can't get much more forgiving than that.
Once you think you've got the feel of it - go ahead and increase the cut
depth. Listen for the motor straining, lift it and give it a break from time
to time. I think I'd aim for two passes.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.