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Old 25th Feb 2020, 8:20 pm   #1
BrianAllen
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Default Small Hobbyist Wood Router

I am in the process of replacing the base to a Bush PB.!2 (eaten by woodworm) and need a router to rout the 6 channels for the aerial wires.

I will probably never use it again, so would like to know if anyone can recommend a "cheapie".

Thank you.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 9:08 pm   #2
BRASSBITS
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

just find a local woodworker to do it for you
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 10:05 pm   #3
BrianAllen
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

I would if at Mum's in Stoke but here in Essex, no chance of a reasonable price!!
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 12:00 am   #4
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Look for a Mens Shed not too far from you, there are a few in Essex and they are usually happy to do odd jobs in exchange for a donation.
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 11:47 am   #5
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianAllen View Post
I am in the process of replacing the base to a Bush PB.12 (eaten by woodworm) and need a router to rout the 6 channels for the aerial wires.

I will probably never use it again, so would like to know if anyone can recommend a "cheapie".

Thank you.
I know this is a vintage radio forum - not a woodworking forum, so I was a bit hesitant about posting this diatribe, but given that for most of us, myself included, cabinetry is our weakest attribute, maybe these notes about the use of routers will be relevant enough to be thought acceptable.

You don't say what width or depth the channels need to be, how far apart they will be, or what material the base is Brian, but if I assume that maybe the width of each slot will be 3mm and perhaps 5mm deep, then a 'palm router' would be more than adequate for that task. If your bases is plywood, as I guess it might be, I've made some comments about that further down the page.

Most people will have firmly fixed in their minds that with power tools, 'you get what you pay for', and likewise with router bits. To an extent, that's true, but where routers are concerned, it's the manner of their use which often leads to failure, or even a burnt out motor. Routers are an acquired skill and the tendency for inexperienced users is that if they want a groove say 12mm deep and 6mm wide, they'll set the depth to 12mm and expect to rout the groove in one pass. They will also tend to use the router as they would say a circular saw and 'drive it' rather than to let the bit take its time. A 12mm depth slot with a 6mm diameter bit in softwood using a DIY router would take maybe 3 passes, or in hardwood, maybe four, especially with a hobby grade router bit.

Sometimes, when say cutting a bead on the edge of a piece of timber, inexperienced users will start with the router close to them, and push it forward as they would a circular saw or jigsaw. It seems to make sense. However, if that is along the left hand edge of a board, pushing the router forward is rather like setting a drill in reverse and expecting it to drill a hole. They need to start at the far end and bring the router towards them so that the cutting edge of the bit engages with the edge of the timber - not the trailing edge. (Along the right hand edge, of the board, the router would need to be pushed forwards).

The Palm router at the link below or something similar would I think meet your needs, sensibly priced at 29.99 with free P&P from a UK supplier.

The spec states:

This is NOT a Makita, however most of parts are compatible with Makita RT0700C

Chuck diameter: 1/4" / 3/8"
- No load speed: 13000 -33000RPM
- Input power: 710W
- Rated Voltage: 220 -240V
- Variable speed control dial: 6 speed
- Plunge Capacity (Trimmer): 0-40 mm
- Plunge Capacity (Plunge): 0-35mm

End quote.

http://vi.raptor.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBa...=1582705863423

It seems to have an adjustable side guide, so you wouldn't need to make a jig to guide it along the timber for each slot. It comes with a 1/4" collet, and a 3/8" collet for the chuck, and even a spare pair of brushes, not that you're ever likely to need them.

As to router bits, they normally have two cutters, but small diameter bits such as 3mm, will only have one as there's no space on the narrow shank to fit two cutters. That - together with the narrow shank - means that extra care needs to be taken it terms of allowing the tool to set it's own pace, and cutting a groove in several passes. For say a 5mm deep groove, a first pass of just 1mm, then two more passes at 2mm.

Below is a link to a cheap 3mm diameter router bit from Toolstation.

I've picked out some of the adverse reviews, which illustrate that the failure of the bits is more likely to have been through incorrect use, which could include not setting the router speed correctly. All routers have variable speeds - just as do lathes. There's a reason for that. The smaller diameter of the bit (or with a lathe, the diameter of the stock being turned), the less will be the speed at the tip of the bit. With each rev of a 5mm diameter bit, the cutting edge will cut 15mm of timber. However, with a 10mm diameter bit, it will cut 30mm of timber per rev. Thus, the smaller the diameter of the bit, the higher the speed should be set. In the case of the router I mentioned above, 33,000 RPM. Highest speed, with the router pushed at its own pace, as gently as the flap of a butterfly's wing. (Well, maybe a bit more than that!)

Here's an example of a 3mm diam bit from Toolstation (out of stock, but the pics miight be helpful):

https://www.toolstation.com/router-bit-straight/p67412

Here are some adverse reviews of the Toolstation bit, which - at least in part - I think illustrate the shortcomings of the user rather than the bits:

"Not robust enough for hardwood. Sadly this item broke after less than 1m of cut in my hardwood worktop".

Well yes, hardwood calls for special care, but the bit snapped with only 1mm depth when not being forced - Really?

"Not very strong, bust two. Ok for odd short jobs".

Again, I'm sceptical about whether the router was being correctly used, but at only 1.30 per bit, really, they're consumable items.

"These router bits are very cheap but they do break easily. I was routing out a groove a few mm's deep and a couple broke. You have to take it very slowly and don't push the wood hard against".

That says it all. A top quality Trend bit in the wrong hands will snap like a carrot.

Just a point about routing grooves close together in plywood:

Wood has a similar structure to a bunch of straws. When you cut a groove in a length of solid timber along the grain, the straws run the full length of the timber, so won't present any difficulties. However, if you cut grooves in plywood, every other ply will be cross-grained, so if say you cut grooves only 5mm apart, each ply between the grooves is in effect, a bunch of straws just 5mm long. They will have little structural integrity and unless great care is taken, will give up the ghost and tear out.

I've attached a rough sketch which I hope might make clearer what I'm saying.

The second pic is of a comb joint test in 6mm thick oak, with 6mm combs for a project box. If not done slowly with care, some grain would tear out.

Not to take the thread further off topic, I've attached a couple of pics of a slimline pen I recently turned and a box I made in which to house it. The half-round slots I cut into the American Ash & African blackwood base and lid for the pen box were cut in two passes even though quite shallow. One pass would have wrecked the box.

I hope these ramblings are of use and relevance.
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 12:03 pm   #6
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Terry's suggestion is a good one. The local shed helped me mend a hexagonal table top, they even provided tea and biscuits, I missed out on the cake.

I have a small router which could do your job. I am in Whatstandwell and you could perhaps call in here on your way to Stoke and do the job.

I bought a bigger router at a radio club auction for very little money and gave it to my neice in Ickleton to make kitchen work tops. I do not know how much use it has had. You could perhaps use this.

Lidl and Aldi have these on rare occasions. It depends on the size of cutter as to whether half inch or quarter inch shanks are used.

A high quality cutter can be expensive.

Post a photo and measurements of the grooves.
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 2:55 pm   #7
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Routers are potentially very dangerous tools. You may only want to cut one piece of wood and then put the machine away in a cupboard for the end of eternity (See 'Good Omens, BBC recent wednesday evenings) But you similarly only have one set of fingers, one set of eyeballs per lifetime.

Go for good protective goggles and take care. Make sure that if you slip, it goes away from you.

Cheapie Chinese router bits are available singly or in sets. I've seen sets sometimes cheaper than individuals. They'll work fine if you take your time and don't push them hard. David EBT's advice is right on the money.

For routing a straight channel, you'll want a thich straight edge to run the router along against to get the line straight. You'll need a couple of clamps to hold it.

Of course, once you have a new tool, you start finding jobs for it.

If you'd been close, you could have done it on my set up. I've got large and small professional grade routers and a good variety of bits. I built a full kitchen out of solid hard-wood, bought as raw sawn planks.

David

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Old 26th Feb 2020, 8:44 pm   #8
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Good evening all, thank you for your suggestions.

Thank you for your time and effort David, it is very much appreciated and I will be printing off and putting into my "handy tips folder". I am sure that your post will be of great interest to anyone wishing to carry out their own cabinet repairs.

I will post some pictures of what I intend to use the router for; you will then note that it is only a lightweight project and the router that you have sent a link to looks very good David.

Brian

P.S. I love the pen and box.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 9:09 pm   #9
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Here is a photo of what I am going to replace on the Bush PB.12.

I have ordered a small router and will let you know how I get on.

Thanks for your ideas/suggestions.

Brian
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 9:54 pm   #10
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

It looks as if the first 3/4 inch contains two 1/4 inch slots.
You will need a 1/4 inch or 6mm cutter. Note that the shanks can vary. 1/4 inch, 6mm, 8mm or half inch. Your new router may have more than one sized collet for different shanks.
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 5:25 pm   #11
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Probably a bit late now, but a standard drill press could be used with a router cutter and a suitable jig to do this . Long term the drill press will probably be more useful than a router.

Trevor
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Old 29th Feb 2020, 6:28 pm   #12
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Thanks Trevor, I will add the drill press to my shopping list.

Regards,

Brian
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Old 29th Feb 2020, 10:32 pm   #13
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT

I hope these ramblings are of use and relevance.
David (G4 EBT) - your posts are always useful and interesting - keep those tips coming! Thanks for that one in particular - I will read it again the next time I get the router out.

Mike
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Old 29th Feb 2020, 11:12 pm   #14
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

I would think that a drill press is too slow for small diameter cutters. Cutting fibrous materials either needs a very sharp edge such as a scythe or a high speed to break the fibre which is effectively static due to its inertia, like a strimmer.

Rotor speed and feed rate need to be adjusted to give a good cut without burning.

The posts by David G4EBT make me admire his superb work but makes me ashamed of my own bodging.
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Old 1st Mar 2020, 12:47 pm   #15
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Looking at Brian's picture in post #9, as near as I can tell, they look like 6mm slots about 6mm apart. If so, a 6mm router bit has two cutting edges rather than 3mm bit I mentioned above, (which only has one and has a narrow shank), so the 6mm bit will be more robust and will make more progress, with the two cutters.

As to using a router bit in a pillar drill, I've never tried it, but the limitations need to be understood. A typical hobbyists budget-priced 5-speed pillar drill such as the Screwfix one at the link below, will have a speed range from about 500 to 2,500 RPM. Thus, at the maximum speed, using a 6mm router bit, with each rev, 18mm of wood will pass the cutting edges of the bit. So 2,500 Revs x 18mm = 45 Metres of contact with timber by the router bit cutting edges per minute.

https://www.screwfix.com/p/energer-e...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

The same 6mm bit used in a router running at 30,000 RPM x 18mm = 540 Metres of contact by the cutting edges with the timber per minute. (Yes, half a km per minute). If the router is advanced along the timber at a rate that the bit and the timber are happy with, it will cut very cleanly, even across the grain, with no tear out.

A hobby drill press will typically use a belt-drive 350 Watt motor. Most budget routers, such as the palm router I mentioned in my earlier post, will be 700 Watts upwards, so not only do they run at a speed 12 times fast than a pillar drill, the motor is more powerful. That's why they can be so scary, made all the scarier because they're hand held - both hands, unless used in a router table.

Eye protection and a dust mask are essential. Best not to use our lungs as 'air filters'! Personally, I've always worn ear defenders whenever I use power tools - hammer drills, routers, circular saws, bandsaws, lawnmowers, hedgetrimmers. Still got good hearing, unlike many of my chums of a similar age who need hearing aids.

Hope that might be useful.
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Old 1st Mar 2020, 3:23 pm   #16
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

At the speed of a pillar drill, a woodworking router bit is liable to kick-back.... its blade digging in and snatching the work in your hand rather than cutting. The high speed and momentum the same bit has in a router makes it cut cleanly rather than dig in.

Ideally, for small stuff, you'd use a router mounted in a table with a fence, end stops and guides to control the cut.

Second best is a hand-held plunge router and a clamped on rail to guide the cut. secondary guides can be clamped on to limit the ends of the cut and produce a well-aligned set of slots.

If you were going to make several of those backs, you'd make a piece of MDF with adjusted sizes of slots to guide your router via a guide bush fitted to the router.

I have a large, floor-standing 10-speed pillar drill of industrial proportions and I tried it with a router bit. The grabbing was a problem even at over 4000 rpm and the sideways play in the head gave a lousy finish. I bought a cheap B&D 1/4 inch router. It did the job but soon after made its trademark green smoke. When the next job loomed, I treated myself a 2.3kW 1/2" 'Freud' and a Trend table. This is serious stuff. I made T&G floorboarding 1.25' thick for the elevated granary floor of a watermill. I think I cut over 2km of joint! The gear is still OK and the profile cutter is still useable. Good gear lasts even with heavy work. Trend is the Rolls-Royce of routers and accessories. They used to have their routers made by Cassals, a firm in Spain. Cassals decided to bring their own product out and picked 'Freud' as a brand name in a script that made it look like Trend out of the corner of your eye. Trend were not amused and promptly took their business elsewhere. My small 1/4" router is a DeWalt and is almost perfect... It just lacks the vernier depth adjuster the big Freud has.

For some small slots like those, that little palm router should be ideal. Put some time and effort into arranging guides to run it against and practice how you're going to hold it.

Routers are ear-damagingly loud, even small ones... sometimes more so with small ones going fast. So David's advice above about eye and ear protection is important. These are violent machines.

Practice holding the machine and sliding it smoothly with it off and not plunged. If there's no one around, you can even make Whoooooooo! noises without looking a complete berk.

David
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Old 5th Mar 2020, 9:51 pm   #17
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Good evening all; lots of useful information once again.

I have been held up a little with my project; Hermes said that have tried to deliver to my home on 3 occasions (last Saturday, Sunday and Monday). I was at home all over the weekend and on the Monday. Anyway, they returned the router to sender and I have placed an order with a company that use Parcelforce.

Thanks for the tips; very handy for someone that has never used a router.
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Old 19th Mar 2020, 4:51 pm   #18
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Good afternoon all.

Attached is a pic of the replacement base to my Bush 18A.

I bought a selection of router bits from Toolstation and all performed well (took your advice and took it slowly).

I have done all that you have recommended and would do the same next time but would not purchase plywood from B and Q again as very expensive and in my opinion it is not very good quality.
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Old 19th Mar 2020, 5:13 pm   #19
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

Well done. You will find countless other uses for the router too.

I have a big, costly Makita and a small sub-50 Black and Decker, and to be honest, the small, cheap one gets the most use.

I've got nice wood from skips and charity shops - one near us takes all kinds of random furniture, and if it doesn't sell, it's sometimes given away.

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Old 19th Mar 2020, 5:33 pm   #20
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Default Re: Small Hobbyist Wood Router

More good advice; never thought about wood from skips and charity shops.

Thanks Nick.

Brian
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