How to Make a Wooden Chain Using a Router
The router is the most versatile woodworking tool that every amateur or professional woodworker should have. It delivers a myriad of functions ranging from drilling, trimming, edging, hollowing, or even detailing a work piece. The functional capabilities of the router are ideally limited by the type of router bit you use and your imagination. A wooden chain is one such master piece that can be made using a router. Understanding how to maneuver with the router can help you master how to make a wooden chain using a router.
In order to better comprehend the simple steps involved when making wood chains, it is inevitable that you get some pictorial presentations or even a video illustration of the same. Various drawings, videos, and pictures are available and can help you better understand how to do it. Nonetheless, in this article, we will theoretically cover the steps that can be followed when making a wooden chain. The dimensions and specifications provided herein will only act as suggestions. You can change or alter them, if you like, to better suit the materials you have or to even match the type of router being used (bit and router capability).
Wooden chain making is, without a doubt, both exciting and unusual. Here are some suggestions to help you;
- You can make either small or large wooden chains
- Suggested wooden chain sizes- 3-11/2 length with 2 and quarter width for the rounded edges, and 1 and quarter width between the two rounded edges. Another option will be a smaller one with 2 and 3 quarter inch length, 1 and 3 quarter width for the diameter of the rounded edges and one inch at the middle between the rounded edges.
Steps for Making a Wooden Chain
- Decide on the size of chain links you want
- Make the work piece-holding fixture or pattern. This can be in two forms, that is, box-type or plug-type. Ensure you make these accurately since they will determine the size of the chain link. The work-holding fixtures should match with the chain-link sizes.
- You can now make the plug or pattern fixture depending on your choice. Ensure it is such that it can fit easily into the box pattern without excessive clearance. This task is particular quite challenging and it involves trial and error.
Point to note: If the inside opening of the link seems to be cut too large you simply use a paper to shim when setting it into the plug fixture. However, to do this job more quickly you should accurately cut the inside opening of the links.
- You can now prepare the blocks to their final sizes. Eliminate most of the inside waste by boring and use a trimming bit preferably a ball-bearing bit to clear any waste from the plug fixtures inside the opening.
- Sand the chains and split them up by hand. If this seems difficult you can use a thin knife to cut one end of the chain. Ensure the knife is sharp and cut it from the inside to avoid destroying the entire chain.
- You can now glue the snapped chains together so as to make a chain. To ensure they fit together perfectly you can use a rubber band then use hand, clamps, or tape pressure to connect the chains.
You now have your wooden chain. To better understand how to make a wooden chain using a router it is advisable that you get a handbook that can better illustrate the step-by-step procedure since, in theory, this seems complicated, which in reality is not true. Wood routers are amazing tools that can be handled by any woodworker irrespective of their experience. Once you understand how to handle it, you can play around with some techniques and come up with unique pieces of work. However, you need to understand the router handling guidelines and precautions. These are explained below.
Router use Guidelines:
- Follow the guidelines provided with the router upon purchase. Routers are just like any other power tools and thus are dangerous if not properly handled. You should read and follow the specific guidelines provided for the router.
- You should be extremely careful when operating a router since it is very sharp and its blades spin very fast when in operation. Any stupid mistake can have some serious consequences.
- Have ear protection-routers are extremely noisy and even if you are routing for a short time you will end up with a ringing noise in your ears. The ringing can last for hours and therefore to avoid this ensure you wear some ear protection.
- No trial and error with routers-never ever try an operation that you are unfamiliar with when using the router. If you are not confident enough then train yourself little by little and practice regularly before doing anything new. Once you are confident enough you can do it.
- Extreme caution should be taken when taking off the protective wax from any new router. It should never be pulled off since in doing so, the sharp cutting edges may cause injury. Instead, one should carefully slice the wax using a sharp knife following the internal angle of the flute and forcefully remove the coating. You should also remove any oil from a new router so as to avoid tampering with the work-piece.
- To prevent shank damage, prevent collet damage, and minimize wear and tear of the router bearings, always ensure you insert properly the shank into the collet. A minimum of 3 quarters of the shank should be inserted so as to avoid the possibility of deflection of the cutter when loaded. You should also ensure that the end of the cutter never comes into contact with the armature recess’s internal end.
Routers are quite interesting and fascinating to use. There is never a limit to what can be done with these amazing workshop tools. If you are creative enough then you will realize with time and practice that you can do anything with a router. However, one thing to remember is that routers are not for cowards. You should at least be confident, patient and be willing to learn. That is all that is required to master this versatile tool.