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The portable router

Le Soleil is still publishing a series of texts on cabinet making this year. In everyday life, you touch wood to call luck. In this section, we will touch it to make furniture and other delicate and ornate objects. Touching wood is like entering the wake of cabinetmaking. From the basics. That, with the help of two cabinetmakers and cabinetmaking teachers at the Artebois school, rue de la Concorde, in Quebec. One, Éric Thériault, specializes in ornamental sculpture; the other, Pierre Pagé, in finishing.

It is always amazing to realize how fascinating the portable router is. So many that buy it. But, surprised by the noise of the engine, the speed at which the knife turns and cooled by some bad experiences during the first tests, we carefully store the router in its box. Let’s see together a few points to demystify the beast.

Security

Unlike a table saw or a jointer where you have no choice but to feed the machine in a specific direction, you have this choice with a router. You always have to make the right choice, otherwise it could be fatal to your room or, worse, to your fingers. As with all woodworking machines, you have to work “against” the direction of rotation. By deduction, you will be able to determine the direction of rotation of your knife by looking at the cutting edge. This meaning does not change, regardless of the knives or the router used. In case you are not using the router in the right direction, you will feel “drawn” by it. The direction of use must then be changed. The sound of the router – and that of all machines – tells us a lot about what’s going on.

It burns!

You are spinning and the surface is full of burn marks. Several causes are possible:

– the quality of the knife (25 knives for $ 50 or a knife for $ 50 ??);

– sharpening your knife;

– the rotation frequency too high (decrease the frequency);

– the feeding speed too slow (go a little faster).

It explodes!

You are bending and splints are coming off the surface. Again, several factors are involved, some of which are not always controllable:

– Your part vibrates slightly during routing. Maintain firm support around the routing area.

– You are going too fast. Decrease your forward speed, but do not slow down to the point of burning the surfaces.

– You remove too much material at the same time.

– The surface to be routed is cross-threaded, i.e. the wood fiber is oriented so that your knife picks up the fiber instead of laying it down. Apply the first two solutions and, the next time, if possible, choose the best surface to be routed.

Types of router

Several tops are available to you on the market: some are plunging, others are not. A plunge router allows the knife output to be changed at any time, the motor being fixed on sliding pistons. Some brands now offer two types of bases – plunging or fixed – with a motor. Several engine powers are available, ranging from 1 3/4 to 3 forces.

Router table

It is possible to fix the base of your router under a table. In this way, we manipulate the piece of wood and not the router. In the vast majority of cases, this is the most practical way to run a routing; however the plunge base is not ideal for this type of use.

There would still be pages and pages to write, if only to develop the points discussed above. If you want to know more about this tool, the Artebois cabinetmaking school offers a three-hour seminar on the subject.

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