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Keyhole slot - error

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Forum topic by BB1 posted 05-14-2019 01:52 AM 499 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BB1

1360 posts in 1212 days


05-14-2019 01:52 AM

I am not sure what went wrong with this keyhole slot cut I attempted last weekend. I was placing the board down on the bit, making the entry hole, when something went wrong and the piece went shooting off the router table to the left. As you can see it is not a clean entry! Was it a matter of my holding the piece incorrectly?...or the size of the piece? I have made a slot in a similar size piece but am thinking I just did not have firm, even pressure when I lowered the wood down into the router bit.
No injury, just one of those “I need to step away” moments. I don’t want that experience again so thought I would seek input from the LJ.


19 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5918 posts in 3177 days


#1 posted 05-14-2019 01:56 AM

I always drill an entry hole at the drill press first. I know the bit manufacturers claim you can drop the workpiece onto a spinning bit, but it’s not safe on a small workpiece.

Try drilling a hole first.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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BB1

1360 posts in 1212 days


#2 posted 05-14-2019 02:44 AM

I hadn’t thought about drilling an entry spot. Thank you for that advice. Do you drill an oversized hole compared to the size of the router bit?

When setup and done correctly, I have had good success and like the clean look. This is a similar size frame that went well…


I always drill an entry hole at the drill press first. I know the bit manufacturers claim you can drop the workpiece onto a spinning bit, but it s not safe on a small workpiece.

Try drilling a hole first.

- pintodeluxe


View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3031 posts in 2389 days


#3 posted 05-14-2019 04:29 AM

Also, using a straight or spiral bit, rout the slot first. Then when you do the keyhole part (the top of the T), the smooth part of the shank will ride in the slot, and the bit won’t have so much trouble in clearing chips

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View SMP's profile

SMP

877 posts in 269 days


#4 posted 05-14-2019 04:46 AM

Hmm never had an issue. What was your speed setting on? Did it maybe get turned down low? On small parts i will usually do it after assembly so i have more meat to grab onto and leverage. And i am guessing the fence is only that far apart to remove your insert for photo?

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1797 posts in 527 days


#5 posted 05-14-2019 10:40 AM

did you hold the piece with both hands to lower it “straight down” onto the bit ?
uneven force going down, not holding the piece firmly to the fence, dull cutter,
small piece, all can be an issue. making the starter hole with the drill press will help.
firm, even pressure and secure hold on the piece is a must.

.

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

View BB1's profile

BB1

1360 posts in 1212 days


#6 posted 05-14-2019 10:48 AM



Also, using a straight or spiral bit, rout the slot first. Then when you do the keyhole part (the top of the T), the smooth part of the shank will ride in the slot, and the bit won t have so much trouble in clearing chips

- runswithscissors

Clearing the chips can be an issue. This technique would help with that. I do worry about getting everything lined up with multiple passes. Thank you for the suggestion.


Hmm never had an issue. What was your speed setting on? Did it maybe get turned down low? On small parts i will usually do it after assembly so i have more meat to grab onto and leverage. And i am guessing the fence is only that far apart to remove your insert for photo?

- SMP

Not sure of the speed. I had done some others in hickory earlier in the weekend with no problem. I agree that waiting until the frame is assembled would likely be wiser for better control. The fence was in that position – should I have it closed? Guess there is no benefit for the vacuum anyway so the solid fence would be better. Thanks for the additional items to consider.

View BB1's profile

BB1

1360 posts in 1212 days


#7 posted 05-14-2019 10:53 AM



did you hold the piece with both hands to lower it “straight down” onto the bit ?
uneven force going down, not holding the piece firmly to the fence, dull cutter,
small piece, all can be an issue. making the starter hole with the drill press will help.
firm, even pressure and secure hold on the piece is a must.

- John Smith

It all happened so fast but I think the most likely is not having a good firm hold for that “plunge” down onto the bit. I used both hands but the piece was small so guessing my ability to provide even pressure was compromised. Thank you for the additional insights. I love the look of the keyholes so hope to get my technique perfected.

View TarHeelz's profile

TarHeelz

65 posts in 2445 days


#8 posted 05-14-2019 12:50 PM

NVM. I wasn’t writing anything you hadn’t already considered.

-- Tar Heelz, Durham, NC USA

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

1481 posts in 1772 days


#9 posted 05-14-2019 12:54 PM

I’ve only ever used a plunge router for keyhole slots, not sure I’d want to lower a small piece like that onto it in the table!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22537 posts in 3469 days


#10 posted 05-14-2019 01:31 PM

That is an awful small piece to be slotting. If it were in the frame, it would be much easier to control. I always drill a hole with a forstner bit first and drop the keyhole bit in there and move along a straight edge if I’m using a hand held router. I do small piece like that in the milling machine where the vise has complete control of that small of a piece. I’d never try to drop that small of a piece onto a bit in the router table.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5371 posts in 2715 days


#11 posted 05-14-2019 01:32 PM

I’m guessing the problem stems from the small size of the piece and not being able to hold it steady as you lower it. Perhaps consider using a different type of hanger for small frames would be a simple solution.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5202 posts in 4324 days


#12 posted 05-14-2019 01:38 PM

And close the opening on the fence.

-- [email protected]

View BB1's profile

BB1

1360 posts in 1212 days


#13 posted 05-15-2019 03:18 AM

Thanks for all the comments and kind suggestions. Closing up the fence, drilling a hole for the router bit, and simply not trying this on small pieces (assembly of the frame would have given a better platform to guide/hold in this situation) are on the list for the next weekend project. Still on the beginning side of the learning curve when it comes to woodworking so I appreciate the responses.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3031 posts in 2389 days


#14 posted 05-15-2019 04:21 AM

Another way to hold small work safely is to clamp it with one of the big old fashioned hand screws (the kind you had in high school shop). They hold very strongly, and are big enough to provide a solid handhold. Works on router table, table saw, and bandsaw.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2633 posts in 938 days


#15 posted 05-15-2019 04:53 AM



Another way to hold small work safely is to clamp it with one of the big old fashioned hand screws (the kind you had in high school shop). They hold very strongly, and are big enough to provide a solid handhold. Works on router table, table saw, and bandsaw.

- runswithscissors

I was reading through thinking this same thought. I use them frequently whenever the parts get small on both the router, and the bandsaw, sometimes even the belt sander. I do not use them on the TS though, there they would go onto a sled, and could be clamped onto that.

-- Think safe, be safe

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