unusual applications of the router: new use of an old tool
Router. a tool not found in every garage. However, craftsmen who are engaged in woodworking know how useful it can be in the work. Most joinery jobs are virtually impossible or even impossible without it. But the most interesting thing is that even experienced carpenters use this most useful power tool not 100%, sometimes not even assuming what functions it has, what you can do with it. Today we’ll talk about unusual ways to use a router.
Grooving for joints
Secure a block or batten on the surface of the workpiece with wood screws, for example, and use that as a guide when cutting out a groove on a wide board. The rail must be larger than the board and extend beyond the board on both sides, so the router can press firmly against the guide rail over the entire length of the slot. To make a slot wider than the cutter’s diameter, lock the two parallel guide rails that align the cutter on either side of the slot.
Always make the first pass with the tool on the right guide, then move the router to pass on the left guide. In this method, the rotation of the cutter helps to move the machine along the ruler when carving a one-sided dovetail after the first pass, replace the dovetail cutter with a straight cutter.
Basic rules of use
In this chapter we will try to answer the question: “How to work correctly with a hand router?”.
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A quality result, is only possible if certain rules and working conditions are followed. They include the following wood carving requirements:
- It is necessary to work only with a sharp tool. If the machined surface is burnt, flaky or has many small chips, the cutter should be replaced;
- The workpiece should be securely clamped with clamps or other devices. The workpiece to be cut must not be held in the hand;
- Cutter feed should be smooth and slow, without jerks. Do not try to cut a thick layer of material at once. In some cases, the surplus array is pre-drilled to the milling machine to select a small residue cleanly;
- Change cutting tools only when completely disconnected from the mains.
Compliance with these requirements must become the home handyman’s prerequisite.
Clean cut is not only ensured by sharpness, but also by cutting speed. The higher the RPM, the cleaner the surface finish. For hard materials. aluminium, solid wood, etc.п the shaft speed must be slightly reduced in order not to overheat the cutting edges of the cutter.
During edge milling, the feed is such that the workpiece is left on the left side, and vice versa. If you want to make a groove, the direction of movement does not matter.
Consider common techniques for working with a hand router.
How to cut a circle
In order to mill a circle with your own hands, you need to use special templates or devices.
First of all, you need to clarify what exactly is meant. you need a part in the form of a circle, or a hole.
It comes with a parallel stop.
If you drill a hole in it, you can make a simple circular mandrel. It is necessary to turn the stop with the corner upwards, screw it in the center of the future circle on the screw, set the desired diameter of the hole with the help of clamps and cut it in a circle. Sometimes the kit includes a circular rod, with which it is even easier to make round holes.
When you need a circle, you should use a template. It is a sheet with a hole of the desired diameter. It can be made of plywood or fiberboard, which it is recommended to glue in half. This produces a stiffer and thicker sheet that makes a good template.
The diameter of the template depends on how the stop is to be made. If the base itself is based on the diameter of the template must be increased by the value of the radius of the platform plus the radius of the cutter. If the reference is made to the copying ring supplied with the tool, the diameter of the template is the sum of the radii of the cutter and the outer convex part of the ring.
As a template you can also use a prefabricated circle, in which the bearing of the copy router rests. It is easiest to fix it with double-sided adhesive tape, pre-cut the excess material with an allowance of 2-3 mm.
The quality of the work depends on the accuracy of the template. Usually it is sawn out with the jigsaw, trying to follow the shape as closely as possible. In some cases, a round hole can be produced by using a jig with a clamped cutter.
Punching out a quarter
Quartering with a hand router can be done in several ways:
- Using a parallel stop;
- Using an edge mill with a smaller diameter bearing;
- With the machine platform resting on a level bar, fixed at the desired distance from the edge.
The first option is used with a flat edge and a large quarter size that requires several passes. The second method is used to achieve a uniform quarter width, as only the plunging depth of the cutter is adjustable. The third option allows you to make a large-sized quarter if the outer edge of the workpiece is uneven or unprocessed. Wide quarters have to be made in several passes, each time moving the stop by several millimeters, until the desired width of the step is reached.
How to choose a groove
To select a groove with a router are used:
- Parallel stop;
- A strip fixed at the desired distance parallel to the groove line;
- A pair of slats, between which the router platform moves.
The first two methods require accuracy and attention, because the thrust of the milling machine is possible only in one side. If the craftsman is distracted, the cutting line can go sideways. The third method allows not only to avoid such situations, but also to increase the width of the groove. The distance between the slats can be slightly increased, so that the width of the groove was equal to the diameter of the cutter plus the size of the gap. Sufficiently wide indentations for various furniture parts, locks, structural elements are made in this way.
Edge machining, working with a template
Appropriate routers with a thrust roller (bearing) are used for edge threading. It is necessary to align the edge beforehand, otherwise the cutter will copy all the irregularities and the edge will look untidy. In addition to edge cutters, templates are used to form a curvilinear shape or to make a batch of identical parts. For work a copy router with bearing is used. The cutter is advanced so that the thrust roller rolls along the template and the cutting part processes the edge of the workpiece.
Let’s consider these methods of work more carefully.
The width of the workpiece is less than the length of the cutting part
In such cases it is necessary to use the template. The easiest variant is to stack two identical parts. The bearing rolls on one of them and the other is machined with the cutting edge. If there is only one part, it is necessary to make a template from a sheet material. plywood, hardboard, particle board or similar. It is important to repeat the configuration of the part exactly, to avoid potholes or irregularities.
Many craftsmen do not like to resort to this method, because the template is often used only once and then thrown away. However, the quality of the work is more important than the labor cost. No time and effort should be spared, because it will be difficult or even impossible to eliminate flaws after edging.
Workpiece width is greater than the cutting length
Large workpieces are milled with their edges as bearing supports. It rolls on the bottom part and the upper part is machined with the cutting part. This method is convenient at home, does not require time-consuming production of templates. Previously it is necessary to carefully inspect the edge, treat it with sandpaper, remove possible defects, potholes or irregularities.
If an entire edge must be roughened, several passes are made. First the cutter is advanced to a certain depth and the edge is rolled over, then the part is turned over and the process is repeated.
Getting different shaped edges
Shaped edges are obtained by shaped cutters. They are equipped with a thrust bearing and do not usually require any accessories. Before carving, the surface must be prepared, all imperfections, irregularities, potholes must be removed, otherwise the appearance of the profile will be spoiled.
If a shaped edge is needed on a curved surface, you first have to give it the desired shape with a template, then process it with a shaped cutter.
Manufacturing of a furniture veneer by a hand router:
Working with a hand router and types of wood routers
Most carpenters will tell you that it’s almost impossible to do without a wood router. Cutting out various patterns, forming decorative corners, groove cuts and many other things that are possible thanks to the router for wood. There are quite a few varieties of wood milling cutters, the part of which can make a specific pattern, shaped cut or edge shape, to make a connection tenon to tenon or micro.
Edge machining. working with a template
Edging a regular board is easier and faster with a board cutter, but if you don’t have one, a hand router will also do the job, but it will take longer. There are two ways: without a template and with a template. If this is the first experience with the cutter. it is better to use a template. When processing the edges of boards you need straight edge mills, and most likely you will need two. with a bearing at the beginning and at the end of the cutting part (in the photo).
For edge machining. make a flat surface
An already surfaced board or, for example, a construction rule, can be used as a template. The length of the template should be slightly longer than the length of the workpiece. by 5-6 radiuses of the cutter on each side. This prevents the cutter from “diving” into the material at the beginning and end. One important point: the horizontal plane (perpendicular to the workpiece) must be level. In any case its curvature should not be bigger than the clearance between the bearing and the cutting part, otherwise the cutter will touch the template, and that is not good. it becomes imperfect and the applied irregularities will show up on the other copies.
If the width of the workpiece is not more than the length of the cutting edge
Cutters have cutting part of different length, but the more cutting part, the harder it is to work. more efforts have to be made to hold the machine. That’s why it’s easier to start with a medium cutter. The order of processing an edge with a router (with a template) is as follows:
- You set the template so that it sets the desired flat surface. by the required distance from the edge.
- The workpiece with the template is securely attached to the table or any other horizontal surface.
- Position the cutter with the roller in the middle part. It is set so that the roller rolls along the template, and the cutting part rolls along the workpiece. To do this, place the router on the secured workpiece with the template, place the unplugged router, correct the position of the nozzle, clamp it.
- Position the cutter in the working position. lower the body, clamp it.
- Turn on the hand router and guide it over the template. Speed of movement depends on the working depth. You will feel it yourself.
- And how to drive the router? Pull or push? It depends on which side you are standing on. If the workpiece to the left. push, if to the right. pull. You can also be guided by the flight of chips. they should fly forward.
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That’s pretty much it. After you have finished the pass, assess the result, remove the clamps.
It’s another way to cut a quarter on the edge of the workpiece or in some part of it, by the way. To remove a quarter you set the cutting part so that the processing was of a given depth.
Having changed a cutter on shaped (deburring) and having displaced a template or having used a stop going complete, it is possible to put a longitudinal drawing on a preparation (on photo below).
The principle of working with a hand router is the same
In general, this milling technique is quite convenient. For the first steps in woodworking this is the best way to “get a hand”, then you can level the edges even without guides.
A straight edge without a guide requires experience
Width is greater than the cutter length
What to do if the thickness of the workpiece is no greater than the length of the cutter? In this case, the work with the hand router on wood continues:
- Remove the template, go over it again with the same cutter. Only in this case the already machined part of the workpiece will be a template. the bearing will roll on the just milled part. Reposition the cutter to be able to mill as much of the piece as possible. You will not be able to move the holder so far, but it is possible to work on some part of the pattern.
- After that you take another bit. with bearing on the end, and turn the workpiece so that the treated part is on the bottom. Clamp it to the table with clamps. Set the lower roller nozzle so that the bearing rolls on the part you have just machined. In this way you completely copy the already machined part.
The bearing rolls on the machined part, the cutting part flattens the rest
Now the edge is completely finished on one side. If necessary, repeat with the second side. And in general, to master the work with a hand router on wood, will need a few “rough” blanks. Choose from those that do not regret to throw. at the beginning there will be a lot of bugs, then gradually learn.
Obtaining curved and shaped edges
If you want a rounded edge or any other shape other than flat, you must look at the condition of the existing edge. If the workpiece is more or less straight, take the required edge mill, set it and process the surface as described above. If the surface is too curved, first normalize it and then mill.
This is necessary because the bearing roller is rolled over the surface and if there are imperfections, they will be copied. So you must do it one after the other. first straighten, then curve.
If a curved surface is required. a template is cut out. The figure is applied to the plywood 8-12 mm thick, it can be first sawed out with an electric jigsaw, then the edge is brought to a perfect state with a router.
Draw the required pattern on the plywood
In this case, too, you will have to work with a router, but so far without a template. When the surface is perfect, the template is fixed to the workpiece and then the above described work with a hand router for wood. Only one point: if you need to remove a large amount of material in some places, it is better to do it with a jigsaw, for example. Otherwise the cutter dulls quickly.
Functionality and applications
If you are planning to buy a manual milling machine, first of all ask yourself why you need a milling machine. Meanwhile, the functionality of this power tool is so wide that he always finds application in any workshop. In particular, with the help of the cutter, equipped with the appropriate tooling, you can successfully perform such technological operations as:
- Profiling straight and shaped edges on the workpiece;
- qualitative and exact preparation of seats for dowels, door locks and hinges, canopies and any other fittings;
- quartering (rebate);
- sanding and polishing;
- drilling and boring of holes, including shaped ones;
- cutting of thorns and creation of grooves of different configuration (dovetail, T-shaped, V-shaped, micro thorns);
- cutting of blanks and their cutting into pieces of required length;
- performance of roughing alignment of the surface of the workpiece;
- woodcarving, for which manual milling machines are used quite actively;
- engraving (the router can cut patterns not only on the surface of wood products, but also on metal, plastic and stone parts);
- making grooves of both direct and spiral type on the surface of products having the shape of bodies of rotation (balusters, etc.);. making holes and boring holes, including shaped ones.);
- creating different grooves and splines on the surface of the workpiece.
Obviously, the functionality of such a versatile power tool as a milling machine makes it equally useful for both home handyman and professional. If we talk about the scope of the hand milling machine, then it is almost an indispensable element of equipment of any carpentry workshop. Construction and repair crews can also do without it. With such a technical device, interior decorations are made, as well as various crafts.
It’s cheap and sultry
Carving in wood is always beautiful, rich and expensive. Talented people, artists or sculptors do it. But there are ways of carving, which anyone can do. For example, it is very easy to carve patterns with a hand router on wood. The work is performed by a small-diameter end mill on the contour of the figure. To do this, you need to pick up a board of hard rock, nail a stencil cut out of cardboard, and mill according to the template.
For the work fit a milling machine of any power. It is desirable that it was light and comfortable, then it will be easier to copy the pattern. Therefore, you do not need to worry about what to choose a milling machine for beginners, the main thing is to pick up cutters with a diameter of 2 millimeters or more. When working, you need to be diligent in order to evenly pass a thin mill on the contour of the figure and not to break it. The next step is to deepen the background, for this purpose a large-diameter flag cutter is used.
Cutter with my own hands: making self-made wood milling cutters
The question of how a wood mill can be made with their own hands, worries not only home craftsmen who are engaged in carpentry and modeling themselves, but also professional finishers. And the main thing here is not only a desire to save money, but that standard tools for woodworking, which are now readily available in specialized stores or at construction markets, often do not have the required configuration of the working part. That’s why specialists and craftsmen at home who use such tools have to modify their production models or make them from scratch, using cylindrical steel blanks.
Milling machines are handheld power tools for working with various materials. It can be found in almost any workshop. Its operating principle is to transfer rotation from the motor to the workpiece (mill), which acts on the material.
Milling machines are actively used in furniture making. They are used for the following tasks:
- surface leveling;
- shaped cutting;
- copying parts;
- splicing parts;
- edge production;
- facing of parts;
- drilling holes;
- engraving surfaces;
- and more.
Milling machines are also useful for creating patterns on products, in the manufacture of balusters and skirting boards, installation of furniture fittings and plasterboard structures, replication of products made of wood, chipboard, fiberboard, plywood and plastic. Another use is for leveling surfaces where a planer cannot be used. With sufficient skill, it is even possible to cut out bas-reliefs and high reliefs, panels, three-dimensional compositions, etc. with this tool. Here are a few more examples of using the hand-held tool in various applications:
- Decorative processing, cutting logos, lettering on wooden workpieces and products.
- Wood carving mills are popular in the handmade sector where they are used for making gifts, decorations, toys, etc. д.
Among the professions whose representatives use milling machines most often are milling contractors, furniture and parquet makers, interior door installers, drywall workers, stairway and flooring installers.