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I am writing a chapter for a new book on routers that deals with climb-cutting. Part of the chapter is about situations when climb-cutting is actually a GOOD idea. So far I've covered the list of situations below. But do you have any other situations when you thing climb-cutting is the better choice as compared to standard push-cutting?

So far I've covered:

-When a push-cut will lever up the grain.
-When routing into open spaces, such as large, shallow mortises and inlays.
-When routing around a curve (start at the apex and climb-cut in one direction, push cut in the other)
-When jointing veneers between two panels to avoid going against the grain

I am sure I am forgetting some situations, but sometimes you get writer's block and need to ask for help. :)

EDIT:

We made a video about some of the things I mentioned above. It's on LumberJocks in the blog section here.

Here's what it's about-

Product Font Motor vehicle Rectangle Grass
 

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Stumpy,

I can think of one example that may fall under your 'lever up the grain'. I made some hexagonal bases for a pair of lamps, and wanted to round them over. Everything went fine, except that the grain was running off two of the points. Those blew out big time with standard cuts. There was no way to avoid cutting the piece to keep the grain parallel to the edge, obviously, since it was a hexagon. Climb cutting those points was the only way.

You can also climb cut what would be the trailing edge of your piece to avoid blow out on a router table. A lot of people use a backer board to prevent this, which also works. But in certain instances a quick climb cut on the end may be preferable. Just go a little bit, then start the push cut at the other end. When you get to the trailing edge, the part most prone to blow out was already removed by your climb cut.

Hope that helps.
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Brian. One thing, though. Even though your router table tip isn't a bad one, and I have done it myself, when you write a book you can't have ANYTHING in it that may be construed as unsafe. And in general, it is a no-no to climb-cut on the router table. If I get into a situation where I have to say "it's ok if you just do a tiny bit on the end of the work piece," then people will debate about how much a tiny bit is, and some idiot will lode his fingers taking it too far.
 

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A caution against climb cutting on the RT might be in order. Along with an explanation of the configuratons and forces that make it dangerous.
 

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Climb cut only in a router table, IMO, and only when there is like the tiniest bit of material to take of. When I do a custom veneer door piece or something, and I don't have access to a helical shaper head, I'd climb cut very carefully that last 32nd or a inch of veneer where it meets up with the hardwood liping, thereby reducing the chance of tearing off/ out. I have also had the case when I was shaping a curve of some sort, got REALLY close to the shape with bandsaw, out the piece on the pattern/ shaping jib and CAREFULLY WHILE PRAYING climb cut some short grain and places where the grain changed… but that is a 32nd or ideally less material and and secure jig to hold onto.

Whenever I do anything on the router table that is not straightforward, I build a jig with handles that are pretty safely away from the cutter.
 

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I hear what you guys are saying, but in my experience climb cutting with a moving router is WAY less safe than a fixed one. Its just like a table saw. You know where to stand and which way things are going to fly if something goes wrong, and can minimize your risk. When the router is moving and takes off, its a whole different ball game.

I've always said that the router was the most feared tool in my shop. I always try and find ways to use any other tool if I can. I guess today I'm learning another way to be afraid of it. :)

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think the point is it is a LOT easier to keep a firm grip on a pair of big, ergonomic, rubber-coated handles than on a flat piece of wood, which usually has no handholds at all. Also, if the bit grabs and pulls on a router table, it is pulling your fingers directly TOWARD the bit. If a bit catches on a handheld router, it pulls the bit AWAY from your hands.

That said, there are ways to keep your fingers away from a router table's bit, including paddles and push blocks. So, I am not saying I would never climb-cut on a router table, under the right conditions. But I would be a lot more nervous about it that I would with a hand-held router. And that opinion is shared almost universally across the woodworking world.
 

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on the note of curves climb cutting is a must with bending boards. by bending boards meaning 1/8" strippes glued together in a tight radius. due to the small strippes wanting to tear out a climb cut is the only way to go when profiling the edge.
 

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I've read that when using a half blind dovetail jig, it is sometimes helpful to "backroute" with a skim pass before you make main cut, though that didn't help much when I used the technique on plywood for some reason?

Also, when using a rabbeting bit, especially on a curved edge where the grain changes direction along the path, making a light skim pass backwards first to remove the edge where the chip out occurs will reduce the chances of chip out when going in the correct direction to remove the rest of the waste.
 

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One more… When routing around a corner sometimes it is best to backroute around the corner, again taking shallow skim passes.
 

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One extra thought, on my cnc the direction of cut is either picked for easy of programming the cut or to prevent tear out. But sometimes in some woods climb cutting produces a better finish due to the different chip shape.

On a router table any internal dado or groove you cut will be a climb cut on one side of the bit. So if you have a box joint jig are you climb cutting? We don't usually call it that, but the wood doesn't know what you call it, only which way the blade hits it.
 

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I think the point is it is a LOT easier to keep a firm grip on a pair of big, ergonomic, rubber-coated handles than on a flat piece of wood, which usually has no handholds at all. Also, if the bit grabs and pulls on a router table, it is pulling your fingers directly TOWARD the bit. If a bit catches on a handheld router, it pulls the bit AWAY from your hands.

That said, there are ways to keep your fingers away from a router table s bit, including paddles and push blocks. So, I am not saying I would never climb-cut on a router table, under the right conditions. But I would be a lot more nervous about it that I would with a hand-held router. And that opinion is shared almost universally across the woodworking world.

- StumpyNubs
It's a good point to discuss technique when climb cutting on the table… you want your fingers no where near the path of the cutter or pieces you're routing, that's why it's so important to rig up a jig with handles far away from the action. I personally don't climb cut free hand with a router, very uncomfortable, but I get that some people feel with a hefty machine and nice handles it can be done carefully.

End of the day, don't climb cut unless you have no other choice.
 

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Technically not "climb-cutting" because not much is being cut…but reversing the direction after the material has been removed with the normal direction is a great way to minimize sanding. I always use a guide bearing.
 

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I climb cut every time I do an assembled frame, for example. I push up to about an inch from the [outside edge] corner, then ease back to the finished section. Really, I do it anywhere I'm going into end grain.

Once you hit the already shaped portion, the router fights you very little, if at all. Of course, from that point, you just start moving forward again.

I find myself working frames and things off my D handle more than my table, but do find need to do climb cuts on that too.
 

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I climb cut every time I do an assembled frame, for example. I push up to about an inch from the [outside edge] corner, then ease back to the finished section. Really, I do it anywhere I m going into end grain.

Once you hit the already shaped portion, the router fights you very little, if at all. Of course, from that point, you just start moving forward again.

I find myself working frames and things off my D handle more than my table, but do find need to do climb cuts on that too.

- Kelly
That's a good point. 1/64th" doesn't sound like much but on an assembled frame seems to be a lot. Doing the final pass with the router cleans all that up. Have to move quickly though to avoid burning.
 
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