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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post on this forum for me. Hope I'm in the right place! I'm just an amateur building a butler's pantry for my wife with raised panel cabinet doors.
I'm using a big (2.5") raised panel bit (without back cutter) in my homemade router table. I have my vertical fence closed just short of touching the router bit on each side. The panels are 20" tall but only 6" wide. Tall and skinny. I'm setting the fence so as to cut the entire cove at once but making about 4 passes up. (I've already removed 80% of the material on the table saw.) Material is 3/4" MDF.
Routing the 20" side is easy because it's so long. However I've had the left side of the 6" side get "sucked" into the router blade before it gets to the "safety" of the left fence. Scared the heck out of me! The right side is no problem since I'm pushing it with a sacraficial push stick. Also using a feather board on right side of fence and a safety paddle to apply downward pressure.
So, am I doing it correctly? Any tips for doing this safer? I guess I could have done the two shorter sides before cutting the big MDF to width, but it's too late now. The panels are all cut.
Hope this is clear and too wordy,
Thanks for your time!
Ed
 

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You need to use a backer block to support the short ends as you feed them on the router table. With a 2 1/2" hole in the fence and a 6" end, it's pretty easy for it to get sucked in. There are a number of ways to provide the support needed. The most basic and easiest to use is simply a square piece of MDF maybe 12" x 12". Make up a few, turn the backer with each pass at the same setting so the backer has a fresh surface.

You should also have a large hole in the table where the work piece might also tip in. Get rid of the feather boards. You should be able to hold and control the work piece without those, a second pass at the same setting will take care of any miscues on a pass. Hold the panel tightly against the backer block and press both to the table top but not close to the bit hole. Don't try to take too big a bite per setting.

When doing panels, always start on an end and then work around the panel counterclockwise as it sits on the router table, face down. This allows the backer to have a new surface that fits the profile of the cut as you go. Since you did the long sides first, a backer won't prevent blowout at the exit of the end cut. May not bother that much with MDF if you take small bites. It will give you control over the panel being pulled into the fence hole.

In the picture, I'm using a backer block as I cut the coped end of a rail and stile frame. When doing this, cut the copes first so you can have a tight fitting backer, do the beads, the long cuts, last. These sequences will eliminate blowout on your parts and make backing up the cuts as well as controlling the work piece much simpler.

When using solid wood, think ahead about the grain direction on the frame and panels. You can't always get both sides to run opposite each other as far as grain goes when running against the bit but frames often only require one side beaded. Running with the grain direction will eliminate most tear out on long grain cuts and give a smoother finish cut.
 

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Try using a longer/wider board on the back side of your panel. This should give you something to hold the panel agains while pushing past the bit. You may also try clamping the panel to the board if you desire but I don't believe this would be necessary.
Tom
 

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Hi, + 1 on using a push block. This is the one I use. Note the MDF sacrificial face. It measures about 12x12 and gives plenty of room to hold the board tightly and keep your hands well away from the bit.
I also use it to do the stiles with.
There are also commercial coping sleds available but I don't know of any large enough to handle most panels. :smile:

Oh yeah, I built that block so it could be used vertically against the fence in case I ever wanted to do that. ..... haven't used it that way yet so can't say how that works:blink:
 

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I might add one more suggestion to all the great ones above.
My CMT set came with two sizes of bearings which means the user needs to set the correct height and change the depth by switching to the smaller bearing. If I read correctly, just the opposite of your procedure.
I just put the smaller bearing on and adjusted the fence. I was more comfortable with 3 increments, anyway.
With MDF, it shouldn't matter, but I'd still cut the shorter ends first.
 

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and make sure you lower the speed of your router. spinning that huge 2.5 inch bit at slower speeds is safer and easier to work with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Status & thanks...

Thanks guys for the advice! By "sacraficial push stick" I guess I meant a "backer block". Mine is about 12" sq. and has a nice handle on top.

I wound up just being very careful and managed to do all 10 door panels without incident! Next time (if there is one) I will do the narrow rails in one long pass BEFORE I rip them to width and won't have this concern.:thumbsup:

Now that I know this forum exists I'm sure I'll be returning soon!
Thanks again,
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That was quick. I'm back already! I notice in some of your pictures you have a miter slot on your router tables. I do not. I was told this is not useful because the fence must be 100% parallel to the miter slot or of course you will ruin your piece. What uses, if any, is there for a miter slot (before I add one to mine)?
Ed
 

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There is none on my table but I understand folks use them to attach feather boards.

That was quick. I'm back already! I notice in some of your pictures you have a miter slot on your router tables. I do not. I was told this is not useful because the fence must be 100% parallel to the miter slot or of course you will ruin your piece. What uses, if any, is there for a miter slot (before I add one to mine)?
Ed
 

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John
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That was quick. I'm back already! I notice in some of your pictures you have a miter slot on your router tables. I do not. I was told this is not useful because the fence must be 100% parallel to the miter slot or of course you will ruin your piece. What uses, if any, is there for a miter slot (before I add one to mine)?
Ed
Yeah, I find it very handy as a clamping tool. I seldom use it with a miter guage. :smile:
 

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You don't use a miter bar with the fence. The slots in the router table can be used for sleds and miter gauges as well as different jigs. An example would be cutting half laps or dadoes, cross grain, in a long narrow piece of wood with a miter gauge. Cutting sliding dovetail tenons with a tenon jig. Making angled or beveled cuts with sleds. Essentially, many things you would do with the slots in a table saw although with a router, those cuts may not be through cuts. Often the miter bar or jigs are set up with a backer and a clamping method for the work. Many machines in a woodworking shop can do unusual tasks if you know how to make and use an appropriate jig. When you buy a router table, it's only set up for basic fence work and not even particularly well for that. Too bad, it can limit people's imaginations.
 

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I would make a sacrificial fence to match the router bit.

Cut a notch in the sacrificial fence about 3/4" square and approximately at the center. Set the panel raising bit to the full height of the final cut. Clamp the sacrificial fence to your fence. Position your fence way behind the bit and with the bit spinning, SLOWLY pivot both fences into the router bit until the sacrificial fence is over and past the bearing.

This process gives you a zero clearance fence for the router bit. It is probably safer to secure the right side of the fence and pivot the left side into the router bit.

Then when routing the narrow edge, use the backer board as shown in one of the pictures. Except the backer board should be a bit longer (Along your 20" edge) and clamp the backer board to your panel. Align the backer board and panel using the fence as a back stop while tightening the clamp. You won't have to run the backer board completely through the cut.

BTW - After routing your panels, use wall board joint compound in the routed area. Just work it in with your fingers, making as smooth as possible. After the joint compound dries, sand it lightly with 400 grit before painting.
 

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If you run a pivot fence like mine where one end of your fence never moves, the miter slot is basically there for feather boards and clamps.
 
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