Wood routers are tools which every wood worker should have as part of their workshop arsenal. They are the most versatile tools, best suited for the enthusiastic woodworker who seeks new techniques and styles in woodworking. The router has the ability to do anything and everything. It is even able to cut tapered chamfers on posts. In this article we will delve into the step by step process of cutting tapered chamfers using a woodworking router.
Note: To begin, there are two options available, we can either “rout out” an octagonal shape with the router or “rout out” an eight-sided taper using the router. We will first of all go through the process of preparing the octagonal post then followed by the eight-sided taper.
Octagonal Post Using the Router
- The first step is to mill out the post square and then draw an octagon on one side of the post.
- You then mount your router bit or the shaper cutter. If using the shaper, ensure you mount the cutter head so as to cut from underneath the stock. This is done for safety purposes.
- This is the final step when setting up the work piece. Try to adjust the height of the cutter and the fence. The drawing on the end of the post will make this quite easy. Simply adjust the position of the post in such a way that it is adjacent to the cutter and then you can lock the cutter and fence height.
- You are now ready to begin the cutting process. If you want to create a stop chamfer, you have to clamp a stop block onto the out-feed or alternatively use a mark on the fence in aligning with another mark on the stock. You can use a drawknife to remove any excess stock so as to facilitate the cutting of large and well-controlled cuts.
- Just like any other tool, the sharpness is a must for full control. When you are close to the lines laid out, use a plane to finish off the surface while taking the stock to the guide line.
The final step is to carve a bevel at the end of the cut so as to create a stop.
Cutting a Eight-Sided Taper
This is another great skill that can be done with ease using a woodworking router. Before doing this, you should begin first by making a drawing of two full-size octagons. The first octagon will be used for the start of the paper and the second the end of the paper.
- After making a drawing of the two octagons lay out a 4-sided taper on the stock. Then cut the four tapers using any of your chosen methods. Once this is ready, you are now well-prepared for chamfering the stock corners so as to create your 8-sided taper. However, before you begin, use a handplane or jointer to smooth out the saw marks on the workpiece.
- To perfectly chamfer the corners, you need to first and foremost build a jig that will be used to support the stock during the cutting process. Once that is done, mount a chamfer bit or cutterhead on the router table or the shaper.
- Try to adjust the bit height for full cut depth using the guide or the drawing made initially. The jig is used for raising and supporting the small end of the stock so as to create sufficient amount of chamfer at each of the ends.
- Set the workpiece appropriately in the jig and ensure that the stock’s trailing end rests firmly against the stock. Now begin to feed the workpiece and the jig past the bit or the cutterhead so as to cut the tapered chamfer.
- Once you reach the taper end, stop and make a mark on the fence or the table. This will be used as a reference point while making the 3 final chamfers. Once done with this, you get your eight-sided taper.
Points to Note
For safe routing ensure you adhere to the following take-home tips:
- Never touch the router bit when still moving: Avoid touching a moving router bit. Avoid the temptation of touching it when you turn the router off and brush away shavings and dust. We tend to think the router has stopped which may not be the case.
- Direction of Feed: Follow the correct direction of the feed. Take a few minutes every time to evaluate the bit and the direction it is running before you begin routing. The best way to do this is to get your eye at the table level and look out at the bit from the direction you intend to feed. If you can clearly see the carbide bit face, then you are feeding in the right position. While using a handheld router ensure you remember the direction of the bit rotation and cut into the stock. You should never feed the stock between the fence and the bit since the router may shoot it out like a cannon.
- Be organized in your project: Devote sufficient time in thinking and routing. Carry out an extensive evaluation and organize your project so as to save time and avoid stock wastes during routing.
- Avoid tear out: Tear out may occur when the bit cuts through the back of the material and lacks a solid edge to cut into. To control tear out, use a backing block when feeding the material. You can also use a simple masking tape along the line of cut.
The router can be a great asset to the wood worker once he or she understands how to use it and practice various styles and techniques. You can consider getting a woodworker’s workbook or download video and audio guides for routing. With the router, there is no limit to what you can do. If you are creative enough and enthusiastic about routing, then you can come up with great masterpieces.