Many of us are beginning to try our hands at woodwork for enhancing furniture in our own homes. Cabinets, tables, shelves etc. are all essential accessories of the household and sometimes it’s just easier to let your imagination flow through your hands and create what you want without going through the bother of explaining it to a carpenter who would only half-heartedly try to recreate your imagined piece of work.
Woodworkers often have a lot of questions which are somewhat similar in nature, so here’s a list of frequently asked questions (F.A.Qs) that reply to these questions; take a look if you think you might have some similar concerns:
#QUESTION 1: I JUST BOUGHT/BORROWED A WOOD ROUTER THAT ONLY USES ¼” BITS. IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO PUT IN ½” BITS IN IT?
Answer: If the wood router does not come with a ½” collet, it’s probably a no-no to try to insert ½” bits into it. But a good way of making sure if it may or may not take in ½” bits is by checking the router’s horse power rating. Motors with larger horse powers, say between 2HP and 13HP ratings should be strong enough to drive in ½” bits, assuming they are available from the manufacturer.
#QUESTION 2: I LIKE WORKING ON SMALLER PROJECTS, LIKE MAKING JEWELLERY OR ORNAMENTAL BOXES. WHERE DO I FIND SMALLER BITS FOR ROUTING WOOD ON MY PROJECTS?
Answer: These days there is a whole new variety of routers that have been introduced and are more suitable for your kind of work. Based on the Dremel-size motors, these routers and their bits are designed specifically for work on a smaller scale; such as intricate work during box and instrument making.
#QUESTION 3: I’M SO CONFUSED BY ALL THE BRANDS I SEE IN THE MARKET! WHAT SHOULD I BUY?
Answer: Yes, you’re right. There are a number of brands available in router bits, and it can be baffling selecting the right one as there are good router bits and then there are not-so-good router bits. One piece of advice, price is not a great method to make sure. Sometimes low-quality bits are sold at outrageous prices to make them seem like they are the real deal. The best response: Choose from established suppliers that sell brand-name bits
#QUESTION 4: DO I NEED TO PURCHASE BOTH TRIM BITS AND PATTERN BITS, OR CAN I USE A TRIM BIT IN PLACE OF A PATTERN BIT?
Answer: Yes, a trim bit can absolutely be used for making patterns. The one difference between pattern bits and trim bits lies in the location of the bearing. In a pattern bit the bearing is placed between the cutters and the shank, and in a trim bit the bearing is placed at the end of the bit. Of course it is recommended that you purchase a pattern bit is you have to cut a lot of patterns.
#QUESTION 5: HOW CAN I KNOW WHICH DIRECTION MY ROUTER BIT IS SPINNING? WHEN ROUTING WOOD, WHICH SIDE OF THE ROUTER SHOULD I BE ON?
Answer: There’s a simple way of finding out what direction your router bit spins in. Hold the router and look down at the top; you’ll see the bit will be spinning clockwise. There’s usually a black arrow pointing the direction at the base of the router, but if there isn’t one, you can draw an arrow yourself in the direction the router bit spins.
Now picture the bit as a small wood cutting blade- like a mini table saw blade. Blades (and bits) are always looking to cut into the wood. So if you’re hand routing wood, and the router is placed on the near side of your workpiece, you should travel from left to right. The blade will cut into fresh wood as it moves along, in the same way your table saw works. However, in certain rare occasions, you might need to make small cuts in the opposite direction, which is sometimes referred to as “climb cutting”.
#QUESTION 6: HOW DO I WORK WITH JOINERY TEMPLATES?
Answer: Each template comes with a series of liners for every portion of the joint. For example, on a half blind dovetail, you’ll find two sets of lines on the template; one for each board in the corner. For one board in the joint, you need to lock the carriage and make a cut, since each line marked “A” on the template is aligned under the cursor.
To make matching cuts into the other board, you have to stop at lines labeled “B” on the template and make a cut. The lines on the template are designed to correspond to mechanical 1/32” increments of the positioner, and professional mechanics can position the fence with an accuracy that is 5-10 times better than your own eyesight looking through the cursor onto the template.
#QUESTION 7: WHY DO I KEEP BREAKING TOOLS?
Answer: If you feel like you’re breaking tools all the time, it’s most probably because of tiny vibrations or some undetected movement. This is usually caused by worn out collets, so make sure to check your collets regularly for any wear and tear and replace them immediately. The rule of thumb is to change collets 2-3 times a year, especially if you’re running production
#QUESTION 8: I KEEP GETTING LOST IN UPCUT SPIRALS AND DOWNCUT SPIRALS, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Answer: Depending on which way the tool is running, an upcut spiral will pull the chips upward or towards the shank. And a downcut spiral turns the chips down away from the shank. This helps you make a clean edge on the work piece.
#QUESTION 9: WHAT IS A COMPRESSION SPIRAL?
Answer: A compression spiral is used to get a clean edge at the top and bottom of the work piece by spiraling an upcut on the bottom and a downcut at the top.
#QUESTION 10: WHICH IS BETTER – A V POINT OR BRAD POINT DRILL?
Answer: Both serve different purposes. V point drills work better if you’re drilling all the way through the material. And the Brad Point works better when you need to drill shallow, for example when drilling shelf pins.
Hope this helps! Happy wood routing to you!