Yin Yang centerpiece / serving boards #2: flush trim failures

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Blog entry by BillGo posted 01-18-2021 05:28 AM 702 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: template creation Part 2 of Yin Yang centerpiece / serving boards series Part 3: flush trim success »

Overnight, I glued up two panels I would use for the yin/yang pieces. I made one of maple and one of walnut, both 21” square. This would give me enough wood to make two of the centerpieces… When I looked at the pattern to make one, there was so much waste, it was only slightly more wood to make two.

I took the squares and using the templates, traced them out on the bg squares with a little space around them so I could cut them apart with the band saw. I should have taken more pictures, but this is what I ended up with:

You can see the pencil outline of the template on the maple. I tried to cut pretty close to the link (maybe 1/4”) so I did not have much to trim away with the router bit. That is the flush trim router bit I will use in the picture. Once I had the shaped rough cut out, I used painters tape on both the template and the wood to be cut, and glued the tape surfaces using CA glue. This gives me a way to temporarily glue the template to the wood pieces, but securely hold them in place in a way I could take them apart without leaving glue behind when I separate them.

I was especially concerned with the thin part, and using the router on it so I knew I would want to make multiple passes and take only a little material at a time. This pointy part of the piece I thought would be the most challenging.

It turned out I was right. I was trying to take off only 1/16th or so off, and figured I would make a few passes before I started getting close to the template. On my second pass, as I headed out toward the tip, I snagged on an uneven part of the rough cut, and broke the end off:

I also had problems keeping the bearing from the flush trim bit riding on the template, I wish the material I used for the template was thicker.

I sat down with a few of the more experienced wood workers at the maker space to discuss what had happened. These are the lessons learned:
1. Wood grain… I should have oriented the wood grain to give the most strength to the most vulnerable. When I cut out the pieces, I followed my old habits to cut them out with the main part of the shape aligned with the grain, which weakened the most vulnerable part of the shape.
2. Router bit rotation… in working my way out to the end of the tip, I had the bit rotating on the inside of the curve, and the bit rotating in a way that was cutting toward the tip. I could have flipped the piece over and put the template on the other side, to cut from the tip in toward the larger part of the piece.
3. Better bit… The straight flush trim bit I was using is good for softer wood, or thinner stock, but for cutting thick hardwood, one of the guys recommended I use a compression bit. He has one, and offered to let me try it when I try again.
4. Prioritize use of the flush trim approach… Since the most important edges are where the two pieces work, maybe only use the flush trim bit on those, and use the sander or other shaping approach on the outside surfaces.

Sigh… It was a long day, but I learned a lot.

Other comments are welcome. I am interested in your thoughts, if any of you have additional ideas or suggestions.

-- Bill - in New Hampshire

3 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


5615 posts in 3845 days

#1 posted 01-18-2021 12:49 PM

I’ve found that a spindle sander is a better way to remove material when you are working with a piece like you have.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View BillGo's profile


177 posts in 632 days

#2 posted 01-18-2021 04:28 PM

Can you run the spindle sander against a template like you can a router bit with a bearing?

-- Bill - in New Hampshire

View EarlS's profile


5615 posts in 3845 days

#3 posted 01-18-2021 08:05 PM

Sand to the line and check often

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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