FAIL - Flush Routing Western Red Cedar

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Forum topic by DadInTx posted 09-27-2020 03:37 PM 222 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1160 days

09-27-2020 03:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wrc cedar

So, I made templates for outdoor chairs with MDF. I then rough cut the parts out of WRC, planning on using the templates as a guide to use a flush router bit.

Well, when I flush cut with the grain, the WRC splits out terribly. I have ruined several pieces. I have done this sort of thing many times with hardwoods with no problems.

Is there a technique to flush cut WRC successfully?


2 replies so far

View Axis39's profile


357 posts in 480 days

#1 posted 09-27-2020 07:15 PM

Sometimes the answer is a different tool…

But, first a couple of questions.

How close are you trimming to your template before hitting it with the router? Are you trying to rout something wider than maybe a 1/6 – 3/32? If so, it might just be too much for WRC. Even 116 might be too much….

Does your bit have a top or bottom bearing, or even better both? Might have to really pay attention to grain direction and avoid climbing cuts. Might have to flip pieces, or use different top and bottom bearing to make the cuts.

Also, as mentioned on another thread recently, if you can get a spiral templating bit, you will get a lot less tear out. You can get up cut, down cut and compression cutting bits. All might be a better option than a two or three flute cutter. But, a compression cutter seems to be one of the most recommended option for this kind of work.

For most things like that, I tend to use my oscilating spindle sander…. Less aggressive cuts, of course. But, it’s difficult to sand to a template. You can get/make guided spindle sander cylinders. I mostly just sand to the line.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View Loren's profile


10712 posts in 4531 days

#2 posted 09-27-2020 07:32 PM

Try mush shallower passes using a template guide instead of a bearing bit to make a progressively deeper rabbet. That’s what I do on my 700lb pin router to cut solid woods to templates. Routers used to be sold with a bearing guide accessory but I guess people didn’t use them because they aren’t so available anymore. They allow rabbeting cuts. Perhaps you can make a version for the router table… or just get set up with some template guide rings.

I have this rubber round sander with a bearing that goes on the drill press. I don’t remember using it on something as soft as cedar but when I did use it a few times to rout to templates it was slow going.

You can also use a similar technique using a double pointed piece of wood fitted around the blade to cut your wood to templates on the band saw. It’s possible to get quite close without screwing up and cutting over the line this way.

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