Trouble routing cedar with templates...need advice

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Forum topic by Revrand1 posted 06-29-2017 05:30 PM 1010 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Revrand1's profile


46 posts in 3315 days

06-29-2017 05:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cedar router

Hello All,

I am posying in the hope that I can get some advice!

I am building a set of Adirondack chairs (4 total) using plans I bought from Rockler. The plans include the templates for individual parts needed to make the chair. I chose the plans because they reccomend 2x material in the construction, which gives the chair a beefier look that I prefer. I decided to make the chairs out of cedar for their ideal properties as an outdoor project wood species. I bought some 2×4/ 2×6 clear western red cedar from a lumber yard…I love the look of the wood and figured ity would be a sincg to work with.

I have been having issues with chip out, severe splintering when using the flush trim bit to rout the templates, ultimately ruining he piece I am working on. I purchased a 2in CMT flush trim bit (1/2 collet) for the project and have a Triton 2/1/4 HP plunge router mounted to table….So the bit blades are new and the router is more than capable of the job. I have tried changing the speed on the router etc, but still seem to be getting chip out. I am affraid to contiue using the table/router in fear of ruining more wood! I should also mention that when I rough cut the pieces for using the templates, I try to leave as small a tollerance as possible between the rough and finish dimesnions of the piece, so I dont think I am asking the bit to take a larger bite than it should.

Any advice is appreciated…Thanks in advance for your help!


3 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


3098 posts in 2576 days

#1 posted 06-29-2017 06:06 PM

Yes Cedar can be a pain in the A—too work.
Some area and details will need to be feed different then others.You might even have to climb cut so think about your rotating of the bit and grain direction.
You’ll figure it out also make extra parts.:)

-- Aj

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4426 days

#2 posted 06-29-2017 06:20 PM

In addition to climb cutting, rough results
from template routing can be reduced
by doing the cut in multiple depth passes
using a template guide ring instead of
a bearing to guide the router.

The “daisy pin router” is another option that
allows cutting out of template parts using
incremental depth cuts.

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1698 days

#3 posted 06-30-2017 01:47 PM


If the above methods fail to give you the results you would like, then adding to you router bit collection could be produce better results.

A two bit method would be to position the template to rout the workpiece using a template guide bushing and a straight down-cut spiral bit (2” cutter height about $40 at MLCS). The direction of the flutes would tend to force the surface fibers of the workpiece into the wood rather than pull the fibers away from the wood and the shearing action of the router bit would also help reduce tear out.

Given the thick workpieces, a single pass with the down-cut bit and template guide may not complete the cut. In this case the template could be removed from the workpiece and the workpiece flipped over. A flush trim spiral down-cut router bit (1-1/4” cutter height is about $60 at MLCS) could then be used to complete the pattern. The bottom bearing would ride against the surface routed with the spiral straight bit and template guide.

As already mentioned, back-routing taking with very light passes, even with the spiral bit, could further reduce problems. Where a workpiece curves, half of the curve, where grain direction changes, most likely must be routed with the climb cut to avoid tear out. A final normal direction pass would clean up any chatter marks.

I have not used a compression router bit, which as I understand the compression design, ensures the wood supports the surface fibers on both faces at the same time and thus reduces tearout. If the cutter height is enough, this single bit it could allow routing the workpiece in one pass. A Whiteside compression flush trim bit is about $112 at Carbide Processors but the cutter height is 1-1/2”.

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