Okay, number two;
Let's sayI want to rout a 1/4 groove in the edge of a leg or frame for
doing frame and panel construction. I have already cut mortises with
a hollow chisel mortiser and I want to plunge the workpiece onto a
quarter inch straight bit on my router table. Regardless of which way
I push my workpiece the router bit will be both climb cutting and (for
want of a better word ) "regular" cutting through the lumber. Is it
best to move the stock in the direction where the climb cut is between
the cutter and the fence? (That is, I move the stock towards the
This is one aspect of routing that has always puzzled me. It is easy
to reason which way to move the stock when only one face of a piece is
making contact with the cutter but when the cutter is inside the piece
for the first pass I'm confused.
Thanks again in advance for your suggestions.
You should feed the workpiece in the same direction you would if the
bit were not buried in the workpiece - right to left. When you feed
the workpiece along the fence, only half of the circumference of the
bit is cutting after the initial plunge. True, the edge along the
fence is climb cutting, and the edge opposite the fence is not. Those
forces tend to cancel each other out and the feed pressure is somewhat
neutralized. But the important thing to remember is that the face of
the bit that is 90 degrees from the fence should be pulling the
workpiece toward the fence. If you feed the workpiece right to left,
the bit will tend to pull the workpiece away from the fence.
"Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas
Think of it this way. After you plunge onto you router table and start to
travel, half of the bit will not be cutting wood at any given time. The
leading half of the bit that does the cutting determines which way the work
is pulled (into the fence or away from the fence). If you push left to
right the bit will pull the work into the fence because the trailing side
(half) of the bit is not cutting any wood (no force pushing away from the
fence to cancel out the pulling of the leading half) -No Cancelation of
forces here, this is why the piece is pulled into the fence. The forces
front to back (climb cut, normal cut) cancel each other out.
I have also noticed that the wall of the mortise closest to the fence will
usually be uglier because that side is climb cut. This is important (IMHO)
when routing a groove for a panel and you want the pretty side of the
mortise to be on the outside.
Confused yet? Router moves, piece moves, fence on router, piece on fence.
You know that piece if scrap you use to check the setting of your fence and
the depth of cut? Use that to determine which direction to cut. Don
Quixote has the right idea, it's leading edge of bit rotating into the
Oh yes, spiral bits are much more forgiving than two-winged ones at this
Wow, I appreciate all the comments, but two things never popped into
my mind until now. Spiral bits- I've not used them yet - and slot
cutters. I took a look at the catalog and their suggestion was to use
a slot cutter for frame and panel. Anybody do this along with pre-
existing mortises? Can you SAFELY plunge into a slot cutter?
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