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Router Speed Question


Ripthorn
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So I found a great local supplier of hardwoods and stocked up for the next two builds. I brought the wood home and bandsawed the rough shape of a neck, put my template on there, and fired up the router with my brand new 3/4" template bit. All was going well until I hit the transition from end grain to side grain and turned a beautiful piece of black walnut into garbage by taking a large chunk out of what would have been the headstock. I am wondering if I had the speed of the router wrong, since I haven't used a 3/4" bit before. What speeds to you guys use when you are template routing bodies and necks? I would like to avoid this kind of thing in the future. I know that it depends on how hard the wood is, but I would be interested to hear what others have to say. Any other tips for template routing would be much appreciated (seeing as how this is my first go at building with templates).

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I don't lower the speed for a 3/4" bit. But I "attack" the wood differently when routing against the grain compared to when routing with the grain. I think this pic from Stumac says it all:

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Its certainly not how hard the wood is but how resistant it is to splitting when going against the grain. Some woods work fine others no so much. Also depends on your skill level with the router and if the router is crappy or nice. If your router has adjustable speed a 3/4" bit should be at full. You dont change the speed unless the bit is wide like when making a door panel. I have never seen any guitar related operation that requires a slower speed that what the router was set to at the factory or full out. 3/4" is not a large bit.

Climb cutting is one way but way but too scary for most people.

The other is to use a router table and a dual bearing bit, top and bottom. Amana sells one which allows you to flip the guitar and cut with the grain without a second template. This again assumes you are using a 2" bit and making a full pass. This is what I use. You still have to adjust the height of the bit when you flip. The other solution is a pattern bit then a flush trim bit both at 2" long.

Taking light cuts also helps as was mentioned. One of the reasons a good bandsaw is so important is it leaves very little wood to remove with the router.

Depth of cut, pass depth, speed your moving the router. router type, bit quality, skill level, wood species all play a part in what happens using a router.

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climb cuts are a bit unnerving until you get used to them, one thing I have found for Mahogany, Walnut, Ash, and such woods that like to splinter, is when you are making the transition around a corner from up/down grain to cross grain, to angle into it. Don't just make the turn, take little bits at angles, make the ture into 4 thin angular cuts, this will help to tame the splitting. Also, you can cut the cross grain cuts first, then work the up and down grain, if you get splinters, doing the up/down grain cuts will remove the splintered corner after, thus saving a bit of annoyance.

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