[HELP!]Laminate, dados and router problems - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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Question [HELP!]Laminate, dados and router problems

Hi

I'm currently trying to make some 3/4 dados in a piece of laminate (see link below) and I'm having A LOT of problems while making a slot that is about slightly more than 1/2 inch deep. I'm using a dewalt router with some bits (see link), I have tried adjusting the speed from from 4.5 to 6 (27000 rpm), BUT I still get the same results. The router either skips from the guide or just makes a horrible screaching noise. I though it might be the orientation of how Im feeding the router but this is compressed wood particle which has the same grain direction from my prespective.

In general I need some advice on how I can make this process a lot easier. Also I'm taking a 1/2 inch deep cut all at once and I have tried taking less material but I still get the same problems.

What I'm cutting:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/97-in-L-x-0...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

Router Bits:
https://www.amazon.com/35-ROUTER-BIT...233700&sr=8-13

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 06-27-2020 at 07:31 AM. Reason: corrected URL for Lowe's
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 08:27 AM
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Take shallow cuts. 1/4 inch or less.
Feed from your left to your right.
Hold the router firm against your guide and don't go too fast.
Routers are just noisy. A high pitched whine is normal.
Wear hearing protection.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 11:17 AM
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Are you starting the dados on one edge of the board? ... or are you trying to plunge into the middle of the board? The 3/4 inch straight bit in your set is not suitable for plunging in the middle of a board. Could that be the issue?
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 02:29 PM
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I've done a lot of dadoes in Melamine when building cabinets. I've always done the dadoes on the table saw. No real problems.

Rich
In furniture 1/32" is a Grand Canyon
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 05:56 PM
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To start off, dont expect too much performance from a set of 35 router bits for $49
What router are you using - model no?

As a side note, wear eye protection. Particle board breaks up into small sharp irregular shaped chips.

As stated above, take small bites. Maybe only 1/4" deep at a time.
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Last edited by Tony B; 06-27-2020 at 05:58 PM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 06:27 PM
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That is melamine not laminate and is very easy to route.

I would say check your jig. You want a dado jig that guides both sides of router base.

And a better quality bit never hurts. The best bit for this is a down cut spiral bit.

Regardless, 1/2” is too deep a cut. No more than 1/4” in softwood, 1/8” in hardwood.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the response! I was going from the edge of the piece to the middle. Basically, left to right, does the direction I go in this material matter?? it has no grain orientation.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Are you starting the dados on one edge of the board? ... or are you trying to plunge into the middle of the board? The 3/4 inch straight bit in your set is not suitable for plunging in the middle of a board. Could that be the issue?
Thank you for the response! I was going from the edge of the piece to the middle. Basically, left to right, does the direction I go in this material matter?? it has no grain orientation.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Are you starting the dados on one edge of the board? ... or are you trying to plunge into the middle of the board? The 3/4 inch straight bit in your set is not suitable for plunging in the middle of a board. Could that be the issue?
I'm starting from the edge and going tot he middle, left to right. Also I cleaned my bits yesterday night they had some darkbrown residueinside the cutter part which might have caused the skipping.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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First of all thank you all for all the help, I'm glad I have joined this great and helpful community.

I'm routing from the edge of the board from left to the right using this router:

https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWP611...3305387&sr=8-9

I have also removed some dark brown gunk that was inside the cutter blades and sharpened the router bits with a stone (had no idea you had to do this every once in a while). I tried routing again today and there was less to no skipping and after recentering my acrylic base that came with the router router jig worked better.

Regarding the orientation of the cutting, does it really matter in this case since there is grain orientation?
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 09:35 PM
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left-right-up-down-over . . . the idea is correct but the expressions are not without a more explicit relative location of the guide.<br><br>search "router climb cutting" for better drawings/explanation.<br>the direction of travel can 'encourage' the router bit to pull away from the guide.<br><br>as mentioned, cutting the full 3/4 wide by 1/2 depth in one go is ill-advised.<br><br>when push comes to shove....&nbsp; use two guides, trap the router between the two guides.<br><br>another trick for precision work - for 3/4 wide, start with a 1/2 bit.&nbsp; <br>use double guides spaced with 1/4" gap, two passes for each cut depth.<br>you get non-climbing cuts on both sides.<br><br>I like to use the table saw to cut a simple kerf about midway to the width, and less than the finished depth.<br>this gives the chips someplace to escape - it makes a serious difference when routing grooves.<br>regrets,,, cross cutting a kerf in a long pc like shown is very tricky unless you have a (near) full width table saw top.<br>radial arm saw would work - or even just a clamped guide and a circular saw...<br><br><br>
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-28-2020, 12:20 PM
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Left and right directions make sense if you are routing an edge. The direction depends on whether the router is above the workpiece (routing an edge by hand) or the router is upside-down below the workpiece (routing the edge on a router table).

If you are routing an outside edge by hand with the router bit pointing down and the motor on top, then you want to move the router from left to right along the workpiece edge. If you are making the same cut with a router table (router upside-down), then you move the workpiece from right to left.

This is very hard to write, but the router bit cutting edge should be rotating against the direction of the cut. The WRONG way would be with the router bit cutting in the direction of the cut, rolling like a tire.

If you move your router in the "wrong" direction, it is called "climb cutting." Climb cutting is considered dangerous. In general, climb cutting is not recommended, and cut quality may be poor. There are a few occasions when experienced woodworkers will use climb cutting in a short segment for special purposes.

If you are cutting a dado in a single pass, then "left and right" direction does not make much sense in that context. As you move the router for that single pass cut, one side of the router bit will be cutting in the "correct" direction on the "left" side of the dado. At the same time, the other side of the router bit will be "climb cutting" in the "wrong" direction on the "right" side of the dado, possibly yielding a poor quality finish on that "right" side of the dado. Perhaps it is also the cause of chattering or squealing that you heard - from that "right" side.

That's why @TomCT2 recommended using a 1/2 inch router bit with a two-sided guide that's 1/4 inch wider than your router's base. Clamp the guide to your workpiece and run the router against the left edge of the guide "down" the dado towards the stopped end. The left side of the 1/2 inch dado will be clean and good. The right side will not, but it doesn't matter.

Next, move the router across the bottom of the guide (at the end of the dado) to the right side of the guide. That's a 1/4 inch move that will form the bottom of the dado.

Finally, move the router against the right edge of the guide "up" the dado towards the open end on the edge of the workpiece. This will give a smooth cut on the other side of the dado, and remove the bad edge that was created in the first pass.

I hope this helps to answer your questions.
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-28-2020, 12:22 PM
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Here is an example of a simple, one-pass, router guide that I made for a project. I needed multiple stopped dados across a board.

NOTE: This is NOT the two-pass guide that @TomCT2 recommended and I described in my post above. I used this guide to make 1/4 inch stopped dados, and it was good enough for my needs.

I used a combination square to line up the two fences. You can see the stop block clamped across the top. I didn't want to remove the stop block for photos, because I will need it again soon and wanted to keep the measurement.

Photos:
* Router Guide: Shows basic one-pass router guide on a scrap oak board. If you look carefully, you will see two fine pencil lines which show the center of the router (depending on router base orientation) for lining up the cut.

* Router Base in Router Guide: Shows how the router base fits in the guide. For a two-ended stopped dado, I would align the base with a mark on the guide, plunge the router in, make the cut until the router bumps into the stop block.

REMINDER: This is a one-pass guide, which was good enough for 1/4 inch stopped dados. A two-pass guide will yield a cleaner cut, especially for a 3/4 inch dado.
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-29-2020, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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Making a router table is hard specially when your routing a slot from left to right and not making a cut completly but rather half way.

@Tool Agnostic thank you so much for the guide it's a great idea that I will be making in the future. Any advice on wood warping since I want a jig that wont warp after it sits outside for too long.
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-29-2020, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donayre21 View Post
Making a router table is hard specially when your routing a slot from left to right and not making a cut completly but rather half way.

@Tool Agnostic thank you so much for the guide it's a great idea that I will be making in the future. Any advice on wood warping since I want a jig that wont warp after it sits outside for too long.
That jig is a simple guide that I made from scrap pieces in a few minutes. I used wood glue, so I had to wait a day for the glue to cure. If I had used CA glue or epoxy, it would have been ready in a few minutes. I wouldn't leave your jig outside, but if it warps, make another one. If it sits around for a while, check it for square before you use it again.

If you are planning your own jig, think about how you will use it:
* How will you clamp your workpiece so it doesn't move?
* How will you clamp the jig securely to your workpiece?
* How will you set up the stop block(s)?
* How will your router bit make the cut? (Will it pass through the jig fence or not?)
* etc.

Practice guiding the empty router (no power, no router bit) to get the feel of the setup first. Make sure the cord won't snag, etc.

Confession Time: Most of the time, I find whatever straight board is laying around, square it up and clamp it to the workpiece, and then use it as a single edge guide for my circular saw or router. If you do it that way, you must be confident that you can follow that single edge without deviating from it, or you can ruin your work. (Important: ALWAYS check the guide board edge before you use it, to make sure it is perfectly straight!)

The reason I made that jig was for a specific project where I had to plunge cut many matching double-ended stopped dados. I will be repeating the exact same cuts soon, so I left the stop block in place.

I hope this helps.
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post #16 of 16 Old 06-29-2020, 12:10 PM
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If you're making a dado the exact width of the bit, obviously is doesn't matter.

However, if you're routing an edge, such as widening a dado, or addressing the edge of a board, then you always follow the router rule of "go against the rotation of the bit".

That said, there are instances where we deliberately violate that rule and to with the direction of the bit. This is called a "climb cut" which is done to avoid tear out & also done with extreme caution!!

That is a nice router, but routing a 3/4" wide dado is pushing it a little, but doable if you take light passes and go slow. Set the plunge depth and incrementally sneak up on the depth. Maximum per pass: 1/8" in hardwood, 1/4" in particle board.
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