|Eliminating Chipping/Splintering When Routing End Grain.
Here's a tip that works especially well when working with oak and other hardwoods. Use a spray bottle to wet the edges before routing. Remember that once you've finished, a good sanding may be required to eliminate the raised grain that may result from wetting the wood.
|Keeping router bits from sticking in the router collet
Simply coat the shanks of your Router Bits with paste wax.
|Keeping Router Bits from dropping too far into the collet.
When a Router Bit falls all the way into the collet and makes contact with its bottom, the head generated during the cutting process is transferred directly to the shaft of your router motor, potentially shortening the life of the motor. One way to prevent this is by wrapping a rubber band (or tiny orthodontic rubber band or "O-Ring") around the shaft of the bit prior to insertion. Be sure to remove the band prior to routing, as any heat build-up could melt it to the bit's shaft.
|With router collets, as with life, "cleanliness is next to Godliness"
Dirty or "pitched" router collets can slip or gall the shanks of your bits. Keeping the insides of your collets and collet mounts clean will prevent this. Use mineral spirits or lacquer thinner with small, brass, gun-cleaning brushes, available at most sporting goods stores. Use a 25 caliber kit for 1/4" collets and a 50 caliber kit for 1/2" collets.
|Making accurate 90 degree end grain cuts on narrow stock with a router table.
If your router table doesn't offer a miter gauge slot, and you're faced with this dilemma, here's the solution.
Start by making a back-up board that's the same thickness as your stock, approximately square, and about the same size as your narrow workpiece is long. When making this back-up, be certain that two opposing edges form a precise 90 degree angle.
Then, use this board as a miter gauge...with one of your opposing edges riding against a fence on your router table and the other pushing your workpiece through the cut. An additional benefit to this approach -- having a back-up also serves to reduce splintering and tear-outs.
|Another way to keep router bits from dropping too far into the collet.
When a router bit falls too far into the collet and makes contact with the end of the router's motor shaft, the heat developed by the bit during routing is transferred directly to the shaft. This can shorten the life of your motor bearings and perhaps the motor, as well.
Try clipping a spring-loaded clothespin over your bit prior to inserting it into the collet. Surely, we don't have to remind you ... but ... don't forget to remove the clothespin before starting work.
|Keeping router bits from falling too far into the collet.
When working with routers mounted upside-down in a router table, it's important to keep the bit from falling too deep into the collet, lest it transfer damaging heat directly to the shaft of your router motor. You can prevent this by laying a strong magnet on the router table surface, in contact with the side of your bit, during installation.
|Two Reasons NOT To Allow Router Bits To Bottom-Out In The Collet
First, bottomed-out bits will almost always make direct contact with the shaft of your router's motor...transferring the heat created by cutting directly to your motor's shaft. This will tend to shorten the lift of your router motor.
Second, if a bottomed-out bit seizes in the collet (which frequently happens), you'll have to PULL it out with pliers, which can be difficult. If your bit isn't bottomed-out, you can tap it with a piece of wood, freeing it from the collet much more easily.
|Super-smooth cutting router bits
The next time you need super-smooth edges on a shallow mortise or cut, try using metalworking end mills. They usually have four or more flutes and will therefore produce very smooth edges when you're making shallow cuts. Be aware, however, that their flutes are very shallow and not good for clearing out waste as they cut. That's why they're best reserved for shallow cuts or final edge smoothing.
|Make-it-yourself router bit alignment pin.
Sometimes, setting the centerline of a straight-cut or profiled router bit at a precise distance from the router table fence can be difficult. To solve this problem, first set your centerline with a V-Groove bit. Then, switch to your straight or profiled bit. If you don't have a V-Groove bit, make a pointed, steel centering pin from a 1-1/2" to 2" long bolt. Remove the head, mount your bolt in a lathe or drill press and file or grind one end to a fine point. Make a separate centering pin for each sized router collet you plan to be using.
|How to make varying depth rabbets with a single bit
You can easily adjust the cutting depth of your bearing-piloted rabbeting bit by merely changing the diameter of the bearing pilot. The outside diameters of the bearing pilots on different style bits can vary significantly, while most of these bearings have the same center hole diameter. Just switch to a larger O.D. bearing for a shallower rabbet....and a smaller O.D. bearing for a deeper rabbet.
|Drafting square router guide
Old-timers will remember that before CAD computer programs came along, people used to draw plans and designs using pencils and drafting instruments. One of the most important of these instruments was the "T-Square" or drafting square. These squares make perfect router guides for use when you need grooves or dadoes that are perpendicular to an edge.
Go to an art or drafting supply store and buy a T-Square with a WOODEN "T" at the top and a clear plastic edge. Install a 3/4" straight bit in your router. Lay your square on a piece of scrap plywood, position the edge of your router's base against the plastic edge and use this router set-up to clip off one side of the "T" top. Change to a 3/8" straight bit and follow the same procedure, clipping-of the opposite side of your "T". Mark the "T" sides as 3/8" and 3/4".
The next time you need to cut a 3/8" or 3/4" groove or dado with your hand-held router, simply reach for your "clipped" T-Square...line-up the clipped end of the appropriate side with your cut line...and go to work.
|Quick straightedge alignment for hand-held routing operations
Lining up a straightedge for use as a guide when cutting dadoes and grooves can require a lot of time. Instead of measuring this distance for every set-up, make a gauge board by crosscutting a 3/8" to 1/2" thick piece of stock to about 2' long. Then, rip it to a width equal to the distance from the exact center of your router's collet to the outside edge of the router base (theoretically equal to 1/2 the diameter of your router base).
To set-up for your cut, lay the edge of this gauge board on top of your workpiece, at the centerline of your intended cut. Use the gauge board as a guide for positioning your straightedge by sliding the straightedge up against its opposite edge and then clamping the straightedge firmly in position on top of your workpiece. Remove the gauge board and guide your router against the straightedge to make your cut.
|Ensuring the concentricity of a router base
Often, round router bases are not in concentricity with the bit. Usually, this isn't a problem. However, when you're going to be guiding your router's base against a straightedge to make a cut, slight variations in this concentricity can create problems.
To solve this problem, drill a 1/4" diameter hole in the center of a 3/4" piece of stock that's as wide as the diameter of your router base and 10" to 12" long. Clamp this scrap piece to the table of your disc sander and tighten a 1/4" diameter pin in your router's collet. Drop the pin into the hole in your scrap piece and use it as a pivot point for disc sanding the edge of your router's base into perfect concentricity with the bit.