Popular Woodworking 2009-12 № 180, страница 18

Popular Woodworking 2009-12 № 180, страница 18

Another great thing about this tactic is that you now have a nice assortment of bits at your disposal. The day will come when you need a special bit for a special situation, and you'll be glad you have that 20-piece set sitting there ready and waiting.

The Flush-trim Bit

If there is one bit that provided that "Aha!" moment for me, it was the flush-trim bit. If you aren't familiar, a flush-trim bit is nothing more than a straight bit with a mounted bearing that's the same diameter as the bit.

If you attach a pattern to a workpiece, you can easily create an exact copy of the pattern's shape within seconds. This helps us produce identical table legs, flushes up overhanging veneer after glue-up, trims edge banding flush with the surface and can even help batch out those fancy picture frames in time for the holidays!

One other use for a flush-trim bit that we can't overlook is joinery. With the help of a simple shop-made template, you can produce perfect mortises all day long.

Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

When you use a tool for the first time, do you generally go slow or do you just ram it in there? Seems like the answer should be obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people I've seen slam a router into wood like there's a prize waiting at the board's center.

Inevitably the router takes off on its own and the wide-eyed student is left holding on for dear life. Don't let this happen to you. When routing a workpiece, think about how you can make the operation safer by taking multiple passes. It does create a little more wear and tear on your bit but the benefit comes in the form of a crisp, clean, tear-out-free cut and the special added bonus of keeping all your fingers.

Spiral Bits

Spiral bits are a cool variation of the straight bit and they excel at creating mortises. The curved cutting surface produces a clean cut in much the same way a bench plane cuts more easily if skewed. Because of the spiral design, these bits are available in two styles: up-spiral and down-spiral.

An up-spiral bit is likely to stay cooler as it naturally brings the sawdust up and out of the mortise. Less debris means less friction

and less friction means a cooler bit.

The one negative side effect of the up-spiral is that it has a tendency to tear out the fibers near the top of the mortise. This isn't a big deal if your tenon has a decent shoulder on it, but if you are creating a through-mortise, you'll want the cleanest edge possible. That's where the down-spiral bit comes into play. So most of the time, up-spiral is my bit of choice, and I use down-spiral only where the edge will be visible or if the wood is especially prone to tear-out.

More Router Tips

Here is a shotgun blast of handy tips:

If you've the option, buy V2"-shank bits. They are less likely than VV'-shank bits to vibrate and should produce cleaner cuts.

Stay away from high-speed steel bits. Carbide stays sharp significantly longer.

Keep the router moving. It's OK to go slow, but try not to stay in one place for too long. You'll burn the heck out of your wood and the excessive heat will dull your bit before you know it.

A dirty bit feels like a dull bit. Keep your bits clean by scrubbing them with a toothbrush and a mild cleaning solution such as Simple Green or even a little soap and water. Dry the bits thoroughly afterward (I use a blow dryer).

I f you can, try to buy a router with some sort of dust collection. Keeping the chips out of the path of the bit yields a cleaner cut. And as always, less dust in the air means less dust in our lungs.

As handy as these tips are, they only tell a small part of the router story. In fact, I consider these to be "gap filler" tips. So it's a good idea to purchase a good book, or perhaps a DVD, to really get into the meat

Flush trimming.

All of these bits are flush-trimming bits. Notice that you can get bits with the bearing on the top or bottom, in different sizes and with different shank diameters. What you buy depends on your router and routing needs.


Keep it clean. If your bit isn't cutting well, it might not be dull, just dirty. Clean your bits after use with a toothbrush and a mild cleaning solution.

of the subject. Although there is really no substitute for hands-on practice, I find that a strong background knowledge makes the learning curve easier. Before you know it, safe, effective and creative routing will just be a routine part of your woodworking bag of tricks while wood missiles, tear-out and burn marks will be a thing of the past. PW

Marc is a professional woodworker as well as the creator and host of The Wood Whisperer (thewood whisperer.com). The Wood Whisperer (an instructional Internet woodworking show) represents Marc's three passions: woodworking, technology and education.

About This Column

Our "Wood Whisperer" column features woodworking thoughts and ideas, along with shop techniques from Marc Spagnuolo. Most columns have a correspond-ingvideo relatedtothe y' techniques or views /t^C^t1 WL \ expressed in the

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