Routing Rookie

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by SchottFamily posted 08-10-2012 07:28 AM 1255 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3057 days

08-10-2012 07:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip router joining melamine

I tried routing dadoes for the first time a few weeks ago. The stock is 3/4” melamine. I’m using a 3/4” dado bit from MLCS. The first piece came out FANTASTIC with the shelves having a perfectly snug fit in the dado and no tear out what so ever. The heart break is that I didn’t notice that the bit dropped on the second piece until it was too late – it continued to fall until it chewed through the board. Never having done this before, I went back to the web and I’m pretty sure it was totally my fault since I dropped the bit down as far as it would go into the collet before tightening. From what I read, the heat will push the bit out and cause it to slip if you do that. I’ve been staring at the rest of the 40 something sides that I milled down for almost a month now – afraid that I’m going to screw up again. I’m working up the courage to go back at it and finish the dadoes this weekend – but before I do, I wanted to ask for some tips. The desired depth of the dado is 3/8” – should I make this in multiple passes to prevent the heat build up? I’ve got two routers – a fixed base craftsman that came with my table and a plunge B&D that I used the first time. Would I have better results with either or? The B&D has a speed control and the craftsman doesn’t. Feel free to assume that I’m an idiot and please give me your best advice. Thanks in advance!


8 replies so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2696 days

#1 posted 08-10-2012 09:53 AM

Schott, Are you insuring the the bit shaft is not inserted to where the cove begins the bit. This certainly allows for slippage and the collet will not tighten onto the shaft securely allowing the bit to fall out even. Leave the shaft protruding about 1/16-1/8 ’ at least and tighten securly. if you have sone scrap test that for a few cuts with either router you are most comfortable with. See if this cures your problem. MLCS bits are quality bits and probably not your culprit. Russell

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Viking's profile


884 posts in 3759 days

#2 posted 08-10-2012 10:13 AM

If you have an air compressor blow any dust and chips out of the router collet before reinstalling your bit. As Russell suggests insert your bit into the collet until it bottoms out then retract it about 1/8”.

Good luck.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5838 posts in 3057 days

#3 posted 08-10-2012 11:08 AM

The above advice is what I think is causing your problem, you need to pull the bit out slightly. But when routing a tough material like melamine, and cutting that much, small bites are better. So I’d also suggest cutting it with 2 passes (maybe more). Remember that tough part? Don’t be surprised if you need another bit to complete the project….sounds like a lot of routing.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3615 days

#4 posted 08-11-2012 04:27 AM

Go to the hardware store, get a few rubber O rings that will fit the shank or your bits, put one over the shank and run it down to the bit. Problem solved; you can nolonger insert the bit too far into the collett. Do that to all your bits and you will have no further problems. Please do not ask me how I learned this.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3057 days

#5 posted 08-11-2012 04:40 AM

Hey, that’s a pretty neat idea!


View iamwelty's profile


265 posts in 3679 days

#6 posted 08-11-2012 12:27 PM

I had a Craftsman router that did this all the time. Answer was a new router

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View a1Jim's profile


117793 posts in 4141 days

#7 posted 08-11-2012 12:56 PM

All good advice. I don’t know if your problem is just how far your putting the router bit in the collet but that could be part of it ,router bits have a taper on them the last 1/8 or so below the cutter and usually installing the the router bit in to deep will make it hard to get the router bit out when you want to change the router bit not loosen. More times than not I find when my students have problems with the depth of cut with a routers the cause is because they did not tighten the collet or the depth adjustment enough. I also agree that some of the older Craftsman collets don’t hold as well as the should. I also go along with the thought that it’s a good idea to make your cuts in at least two passes depending on how deep of cut your making. After you gain some experience using routers you may find you can so some routing in one step,it all comes with experience. It doesn’t sound like your have this problem but many folks new to the use of routers don’t rout in the correct direction (left to right) having trouble controlling their cut . If you are in the position that you can invest in a new router I would suggest a Porter cable with a “D” handle. PCs have readily available parts and accessories.

View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3057 days

#8 posted 08-12-2012 08:17 AM

Thank you all for the great advice. I went back at it today with the B&D RP250 and had much better luck. I’m certain that my issue was caused by having the bit down all the way down into the collet. I backed it out before using it and I didn’t have any issues. I might write a review on this router – I thought that the flat edge to the base would have been easier for this sort of job, riding along a straight edge guide, but I really had to pay attention. The base edge isn’t 100% flat and will let you rock back and forth about 1/32”, throwing off your cut if you allow it. I’m sure to go PC on my next router. I have a PC jointer and a PC thickness planer and I LOVE them both. Parts and customer service have been outstanding.

I’ve learned a lot already during this project – mostly what NOT to do the next time. Thank you all for your help!


Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics