Comments And Questions

Talking Shop

TOUCHING-US» ROUTER BITS

•/ use my routera lot, and I've HONING FILE. The next thinly a couple passes noticed that some of my bits are I do is lightly touch up the cut- over a fine-grit dia-becoming dull. Is there a/jj-ting edges. For this I use a set of thing I can do short of sendingdiamond honing files, see photo them to a sharpening service or and Sources on page 31.

'Touching up"

buying new ones?

Gary Harper Hialeah, Florida Think of your router bits as part of your shop "wardrobe." Just like a sport coat or a sweater, an expensive bit may need to be "sent to the cleaners" occasionally. But there are a couple things you can do at home to keep bits clean and sharp.

SPOT CLEANING. The first thing I do to a dull router bit is clean it. Denatured alcohol and an old toothbrush work best. Gust don't soak the bearings.)

mond file.

PROCEDURE. To do this, I clamp the file to the edge of my bench. This way, I only have to worry about controlling the router bit

Then, I use my thumb to keep the flat surface of the

SAFETY NOTE, the edges of a router bit is not the same as sharpening it. Ifs more like brushing your sport coat with a lint remover.

Note: Don't try to sharpen the beveled edge of the cutters. Not only will this change the cutting profile, it can also affect the bal-carbide cutter per-ance of the bit, which can be fectly flat on the hon-dangerous. Instead, I only touch ing file. After a cou-up the flat surface (the front) of pie passes on one of the cutters, the cutters with the honing files. I do the same for the other cut-

TOUCH-UP. Usually, it takésr on the bit. just a couple strops over a me- Shop Note: To keep the bit dium-grit diamond file, followed "balanced," (both cutters tak

A quick way to touch up a dull rome> bit is to use a diamond honing file. For a bit with a pilot bearing,first I remove the bearing.

ing an equal bite when routing) try to maintain the same amount or pressure on each cutter when filing. And make the same number of strokes across the file.

OPEN OR CLOSED ANGLE FOR MITERS?

•Last issue, we showed how to set a miter gauge to cut accurate 45° miters. But in putting that article together, there was a little debate in our shop. Should the miter gauge face towards the blade (a closed angle), see Fig. 1? Or away from the blade (an open angle), see Fig. 2?

safety. One big concern is safety. When the miter gauge faces the blade, so do my fingers (which makes me abitineasy).

But those who like the closed angle assured me this is mostly psychological. They still have all their fingers because they're never in the path of the blade.

CUTOFF PIECE. This group brought up a safety issue of its own. If an auxiliary fence extends across the blade, the open angle would trap the waste

Eiece between the fence and the lade. The closed angle lets the waste fall away safely.

But there is an easy solution here. Just trim the end of the fence, see Fig. 2. It will still support the back edge of the piece but won't trap the waste.

chipout. Surprisingly, both groups thought their method produced less chipout So I did a little test in the shop.

There wasn't much difference between the two. With a dull blade and no auxiliary fence to support the back edge of the piece, I did get some chipout with the open angle. But a sharp blade and a fenceeliminated it STOP block. Another difference comes when using an angled stop block to cut the second

miter on a Again, there's no clear winner.

With the closed angle, the stop block holds the workpiece against the fence. But the force of the blade can pull the piece along the fence — away from the block. To avoid this, just attach sandpaper to the fence.

In the open angle, the force of the blade pushes the piece into the stop block. But the block doesn't hold the piece as well.

MY OPINION. To cut moldin I generally use the closed angle to reduce chipout. Molding usually has beads or roundovers, and the back edges of these curves can chip out because there's nothing to support them.

Otherwise, I almost always use the open angle. It's a habit I feel safe with. And I'm reluctant to change habits — unless there's a good reason.

But a good argument can be made for turning the miter gauge either way. And don't change a habit you've become comfortable with.

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