Sunday, November 24, 2013

All About Shaping with a Router: November Meeting

     We had an outstanding turnout for the meeting this month, I counted several times but folks just kept on trickling in!  Latest count was 37 and there were 3 people added to this blog mailing list.  We had a little bit of business to attend to before Ted's presentation.  After our round robin introductions Jamie mentioned that Steve had donated our business cards and encouraged us to pick some up to continue inviting others to our group.  Thanks to the cards he's printed, the group seems to be growing with every passing month!  Jamie has mentioned how many she has on her mailing list and this blog now goes out to 76 members every month.
Next month is our end of the year Christmas party so it will be a different type of meeting.  The focus will be on food, shooting the breeze, a bit of spirits, and the culmination of the 2 x 4 x 8 Challenge.

     For those of you that were new and unfamiliar but want to get in on this here's the requirements.  The challenge is to build anything you want out of one, 2"x4"x8' construction grade stick of lumber from Lowe's or Home Depot.  The only thing you can add would be fasteners, upholstery, dowels, biscuits, domino's, and finish.  No additional wood is allowed.  We'll send out an announcement as to when to bring them to Wooditis anonymously so that Jamie can tag them with a number only.  All of the projects will be displayed when the meeting starts and judging will take place.  The project with the most votes will obviously win and that person will get the prize --- probably a Lee Valley gift certificate.  Jamie mentioned some other type of surprise but refuses to divulge any information about that so I guess we'll have to enter to see what she has up her sleeve!

As far as other business went, one of the members brought in a post office mail box door that he is selling.  I don't have a picture of the actual style he has but this is an image of a similar style.  They make wonderful project parts, especially banks but can be used for whatever you can imagine.  He's selling them for $7.00 each, here's the contact information:
Larry Van Winkle:  702-876-6376
Tom Bobo:   702-877-9460

Ted's Router Presentation

     First of all, I want to thank Ted for bringing his humongous router table in plus all of the bits, molding examples, and historical pieces to make his presentation as interesting as it was.  Lots of preparation went into this and I'm sure we all appreciate that ---- Thanks Ted!!

     He started the presentation with a brief history of the router and it's use in the woodshop.  One of the earliest was referred to as "old woman's tooth" and since it seemed to bring a lot of interest to the group, here's a LINK showing you how you can make your own.  In our modern shop we think of routers more as edging tools but they were originally intended for joinery work.  Stanley and Record developed their own style of router planes, Stanley numbered theirs as a #71 (two handled) and a smaller version #271.  Lie-Nielsen and Veritas are making versions of these but you can still find them used on ebay.  Then, in the early 1900's there was a 60 pound, so called "portable router" which I'm sure was nothing like what we have in our shop today.  Onsur had an air powered version around 1915 and then in the late 1940's, Elu came up with the first plunge router.  All of this led up to the development  of the router we're familiar with today which took place in the 1960's.  Have to admit I remember those and they weren't on par with the modern offerings we have now.

Here's Ted, holding up one of the more popular routers in use today.  It's a Porter Cable, 1 1/2 hp model that will accept 1/4" and 1/2" bits.  It's a workhorse that has been around since the 1970's and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have one of that age in my shop, same as Ted mentioned.  This model was available with either two knobs for handles or a D-shaped handle for more control.  It's size makes it an extremely versatile tool.  You can use hand held or mount it in a table if you want.  Routers are rated by horsepower and go from a 1/2 hp trim router all the way to those with 5-6 hp or more!  Once you get into those large machines it's best to mount them into a table.

Ted brought in his router table to share with us.  It's quite the set-up as you can see!  It features a very large table made of MDF that has been covered with a plastic laminate.  Ted pointed out that the laminate is on both surfaces to keep it dead flat.  It's edged with Maple for durability and has an adjustable fence made of aluminum angle iron and sacrificial fences of MDF as needed.  It's powered by a 3 1/4 hp router and to make adjusting the bit height as easy as possible he's also included a router lift by Jessem -- saves having to get on your hands and knees to adjust the bit!
Router and Lift Mechanism

Something else you'll notice with his set up that you won't find in too many shops is a power feed.  His is an older Delta model, it's the grey machine mounted on the post.  The safety advantage here is that you never have your fingers near the bit but as far as the quality of the cut goes, it's much improved.  You know when you run a board by hand you tend to stop and start which can create ridges or burn marks.  With the power feeder that's never a problem.

Here are some of the samples of various moldings that he brought in.  Ted pointed out that it's always a good idea to keep a piece of moldings you make to help you set the machine up if you need to run that profile again.
Miscellaneous Profiles

Large Molding for a Column

    During the presentation Ted gave many tips to keep in mind while using routers to create moldings: 
  • One sample he showed was one stacked of more than one board, it's smart to rabbet one piece into the other prior to glueing and pinning them together.  Makes perfect sense if you think how difficult it is to align wood with slippery glue in between -- the rabbet ensures that the pieces stay aligned their entire length. 
  • If material being shaped has a bow you should run the convex side against your fence.
  • Sand as you go, don't wait until all of the profiling is done because you'll run the risk of flattening the profiles.
  • When pattern routing (something he showed towards the end of the demo) always use a pin as a starting point.  This acts as a pivot point so you can safely introduce your work into the cutter.
  • If possible, use a spiral cutter especially for pattern routing.  It'll give you a much cleaner cut than a straight bit since it shears the grain.
There was a lot of valuable information covered in Ted's presentation.  Lupe came up with a video besides her usual pictures!  That video can be found on YouTube with this LINK.  You'll get more information than I have given out here so check it out!

Show & Tell

     It was a good thing we had a limited show & tell portion this week as Ted had more information then he could cover in one meeting.  It's great to have a wealth of knowledge and being in a group like this allows us to share.  I'm sure it's happened that a member has a question about something they're doing and contact other members to help them solve it.  
Aaron brought in the photo's of his recently completed, built in, fourteen foot entertainment wall.  For the plywood parts of it he used MDO which is a medium density overlay product.  Since this was a new product for most of us here is a LINK to what it's all about.  Originally made for concrete forms I recall it being used in boat building as well -- available from Peterman lumber.  It's a 7 layer product and has a paper finish that takes paint extremely well. Something he mentioned that was a fantastic idea for built ins like this is that the back area of each opening had a piece of masonite velcro'd to it.  The purpose was so that if the wall would ever need to be re-painted all he has to do is pull that panel out, paint, and replace.  None of that next to impossible masking tape nonsense for him -- Smart!
Another item he mentioned was a product called HitLight and it also caused a lot of interest.  He mentioned that it comes in different intensities and colors and that he got it from Amazon.  Here's a LINK to one of the type from Amazon.  From what Aaron said it's probably wise to do some investigation before you order it for your next project.  The subject of what he used for all of his doors came up and he mentioned this company, Raw Doors so here's a LINK to them as well.

     I had the final show and tell of the night which I'm holding up in this picture.  It's a little difficult to tell but I was inspired to try making some simple relief carving of tools used by the trades.  My objective is to showcase what is now considered to be "old school" tools and market them as wall art or decor.  The first bunch completed so far are the wooden plane I brought in plus carving chisel, carver"s mallet, and a monkey wrench.  They're made out of 5/4 Alder and finished with wax to maintain a traditional appearance.  It's a good opportunity to stay out in the shop between other projects and students.

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