- Types of hand routers
- Cutting tool types
- How to work with a hand router
- Accessories when working with a hand router
Wood milling can be a profession and a hobby. Novice craftsmen will be interested in learning about how to choose a hand router, what are the techniques and rules for preparing and working with the tool, what kind of equipment may be needed in the manufacture of wood products. Let’s talk about this.
Wood milling – mechanical processing of a material that removes part of it to create grooves, grooves, edges, holes, a figured pattern on the surface, and obtain parts of complex shapes. Milling cutter – a hand-held power tool for woodworking with a working body – a milling cutter. A milling cutter is a single or multi-edge tool that cuts wood while rotating. The possibilities of the work performed depend on the modification of the cutter, the number and type of cutters, as well as the density of the wood and the experience of the master.
Types of hand routers
They use wood milling in the manufacture of furniture, the production and installation of doors, the laying of wooden floor coverings, for various kinds of crafts. The choice of a tool depends on the prospects for its use: special and universal purposes.
- submersible (for holes, grooves, grooves of any depth – the motor with a cutter moves along the vertical axis);
- edging (only for edges, chamfers – with a guide bearing);
- lamellar (for rounded linear grooves);
- dowel (for grooves, for dowels, thorn-groove assembly);
1 – submersible; 2 – edging; 3 – lamellar; 4 – dowel
The universal router comes with two bases. In this case, the tool works as a plunge-cut tool and processes the edges.
When choosing a tool, you need to pay attention to the parameters:
- power (0.8–1.3 kW is enough for a home craftsman);
- cutter speed;
- correspondence of power and “speed”;
- type of clamp (the best is a conical collet);
- speed control (smooth, clockwise);
- maximum immersion depth;
- accuracy of work;
- smooth start;
- security locks;
- the presence of a dust extractor.
Having determined the level of importance of each parameter, you can find a router that corresponds to the tasks ahead and the intensity of operation..
Cutting tool types
Structurally, cutters can be monolithic, with replaceable blades, modular, soldered. Materials: tungsten carbide or high-speed alloys, cermets, etc. The configuration of the tool corresponds to the notch or shape of the edge that must be obtained on the product.
Varieties of slot mills:
- “Mouse tooth” and so on.
Varieties of edge milling cutters:
- horizontal, etc..
Each milling cutter is produced in different standard sizes. The easiest way is to purchase a kit containing a set of cutting tools for a specific activity. The diameter of the part to be fixed must match the collet of the router.
How to work with a hand router
The easiest way is to start learning with a plunge router. Visually, such a tool is the most cumbersome and complex, but it is easier for them to work, since the direction of the cutter is fixed by the design of the machine perpendicular to the surface to be processed..
Step 1.Fasten the cutter shank in the collet.
Insert the shank into the chuck and tighten with the wrench provided for this. At this stage, it is important to correctly calculate the tightening torque. Overtightening is undesirable and insufficient fixation is also.
Attention! If a deep cut is planned, it is better to take a cutter with an extended shank..
Step 2.Establishing the working depth
If the work is carried out according to the drawings and the groove is shallow, you just need to set the appropriate depth on the limiter and set a fine adjustment (if the model has a fine adjustment). If milling is performed “by eye”, you need to estimate the depth of immersion of the tool by attaching the router to the end face of the product. The depth can also be selected in stages – when working more than 3–8 mm (depending on the diameter), precise work or at the training stage.
Step 3.Testing the work of the router
For those who have no experience in milling, have acquired a new tool or are working with an unfamiliar type of wood, it is advisable to use a “draft” – the same piece of wood as the future product. It is necessary to test the work of the cutter, changing the speed, direction (towards yourself, away from you, turning clockwise and counterclockwise) and the depth of the excavation, to monitor the accuracy. Adjust settings.
Step 4.Determine the speed
When the cutter is working, an important indicator is the peripheral speed – the rotation speed is not of the shank, but the surface of the cutting tool in its widest part. If it rotates too fast, the cutter will pull out the wood fibers and leave gaps, if it is too fast, the material will get burned. If the rotation is too slow, the surface of the product will be rough, as if covered with “ripples”.
When adjusting, the rule applies: the larger the cutter diameter, the lower the speed on the shank (shaft revolutions) should be. Some manufacturers supply tools with instructions: wood / diameter / speed. If there is no such data, you need to experiment.
1 – too low speed; 2 – too high revolutions; 3 – uneven movement of the cutter at high speeds; 4 – good result
Step 5. Fixing the product
The wood to be treated should not wag. The result of the work will be ruined, you can injure yourself. The workpiece must be laid on a secure base and secured, for example, with clamps. When using a template, it is also fixed.
Step 6.General rules for preparing for work
Marking must be applied to the workpiece (when working without a template). The movements of the milling cutter should not be abrupt. Smooth start and smooth, uniform movement along the calculated trajectory, correctly selected number of revolutions – a recipe for an ideal and beautiful result.
When working, do not rest your whole body on the router or let it float freely. The clamp should be tight, confident, uniform throughout the entire stage.
Attention! The instructions for the machine will tell you how to hold the router correctly. Each model has handles for safe operation.
Step 7. Milling the finished product
The start of work can be from the edge of the product (open groove) or in its array (blind groove). In the first case, you must first install the router, and then turn it on. In the second, turn on, and then feed the cutter to the desired point. After completing milling, turn off the tool after removing it from the wood..
When making deep grooves and stepped cuts, always switch off the adjustment tool. The maximum one-time depth should correspond to the diameter and material of the cutter, the density of the wood. To obtain a smooth surface, the last removal should be no thicker than 1.5 mm.
It is important to correctly determine the speed of the router along the machined line. Too slow will cause overheating and burns. If the movement is too fast, the sawdust will not have time to be removed, the work will be difficult, it may look sloppy.
The basic rule when choosing the direction of movement of the cutter: in the direction of the run-up of the cutter blades (cutting edges). This applies to both free-wheeling and tooling..
To process the edges, to obtain a certain edge configuration, sometimes the router is fixed under the table, and the router rises above the table top, and woodworking is performed by moving the workpiece relative to the router. Thus, from the category of hand tools, it goes into the category of a mini-machine.
Accessories when working with a hand router
To facilitate and speed up the work, it is advisable to use simple devices, such as:
- guide rails;
- parallel emphasis;
- rod compass;
- copying sleeves;
All gadgets can be purchased, and some are even self-made and improved to fit the author’s idea..
The parallel stop provides a straight-line movement of the cutter relative to the workpiece, the edge of the workbench, and the guide bar. This attachment is usually included with the tool..
The guide rail (bar) allows you to guide the tool not parallel to the edge, but at any given angle. It should be secured with clamps to the table. Homemade option – fixed wooden limiter bar.
A rod compass is needed to make circles, arcs, geometric curves. When working with a compass, the movement should be counterclockwise.
The tracing sleeve makes it easy to guide the tool along complex paths and ensures accuracy. Combined with templates, the best result is achieved.
Templates are of two types: internal and external. It all depends on whether the tool moves along the inner or outer edge. When moving along the inner contour of the template, the router must be guided clockwise, along the outer – counterclockwise. The template must be thick enough so that the copy sleeve does not touch the workpiece..
It is necessary to work with a router using a tooling as carefully, smoothly and equally, as in free milling. Perhaps the first time you get a milling result that is not very outstanding. This is the kind of work where experience and attention to detail are very important..