Installing the bits and getting quite a surprise

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Blog entry by Rich posted 12-04-2016 05:59 PM 1433 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The bits finally arrived. Freud includes a very detailed fold-out sheet that tells you everything you need to know to use the bits. Before even making the test frame, I wanted to make some test cuts to see how the router performed.

In case you’re new to paneled doors, I’ll toss in some nomenclature. The experienced guys out there already know this stuff. Paneled door frames are made up of rails and stiles. The stiles are the vertical pieces on the sides. There is a hinge stile and a lock stile — pretty self-explanatory which is which. The stile always runs the full height of the piece. The horizontal pieces are called rails. The rail at the top is called the top rail, the middle rail is called the lock rail, and the bottom one is the bottom or kick rail. That’s all there is for a two-panel door, like the ones I made. If you have a four-panel door, the center vertical pieces that separate the panels are called mullions. In the case of a six-panel door, the rail that separates the top panels is called the cross rail.

The profiles that are cut on the insides of the stiles are called stick cuts. The profiles that are cut on the ends of the rail that mirror the stick profile are called cope cuts. The Freud bits are cool, in that the cope bit can be used fully assembled to make the cope cuts for non load-bearing frames, like side lights and transoms. For the door itself however, the weight is too much for the small glue surface that gives you, so you need long tenons and mortises in the stiles. The top portion of the 99-268 bit can be removed, allowing it to be used to successively make cuts back on the rail end to form tenons as long as you want.

To sum up the cuts for the entire door frame, you have two stiles with stick cuts on one side. The top rail is coped on the ends and has a stick cut on the bottom, the lock rail is coped and has stick cuts on the top and bottom, and the kick rail is coped and has one stick cut on the top.

I mounted the cope bit in the collet fully assembled (with the top half on), set the router motor to its lowest speed and turn it on. The resulting vibration was so intense, I was afraid it would shake the router out of its mount in the lift. It was so intense, my wife heard it inside the house and came out to see what happened. I had no idea at the time.

When I removed the top half of the cope bit, I found the problem. There was a bump on the surface of the bottom portion of the bit. It was located near the shaft, so that it had forced the top of the bit to slant, putting it seriously out of balance. At first, it looked like a blob of paint. Always a fix-it-myself person, and too anxious to get going to wait for a replacement, I took a small bastard file and filed that spot flat. It exposed metal, so it wasn’t a paint blob, it was a flaw in the surface of the bit. This fixed the problem, although I was a bit nervous firing that router up the next time.

I won’t detail the entire exchange, but I contacted Freud about the issue. They took it very seriously and I ultimately wound up working with their QA manager to fill him in with photos, date codes, etc. I didn’t ask for a replacement, and they didn’t offer one. I probably could have pressed them, but the fix I made had solved it, and I wasn’t even going to be using the bit fully assembled on the actual doors.

The rest of my testing was easy going. The router motor stood up to the load without a problem. The electronics in the Bosch motor does a good job of maintaining RPMs under load. I also found I could make more aggressive cuts than I started with, doing the stick cuts in one pass.

— Rich

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

2 comments so far

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1612 posts in 4160 days

#1 posted 12-07-2016 02:59 PM

I’m a bit disappointed in Freud hearing this. They should at least send you a t-shirt or a box of cigars…

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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5128 posts in 1190 days

#2 posted 12-08-2016 04:57 AM

I’d go for the cigars. But yeah, I thought they’d offer more than they did.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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