Router split wood - what's suggest - what did I do wrong?

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Forum topic by jonwright posted 06-20-2014 10:44 PM 2475 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jonwright's profile


68 posts in 2444 days

06-20-2014 10:44 PM

I’ve seen tear-out on a planer, but this is a blow out. Gouged and split a few inches of the wood, in the grain.

So I’m routing a 6’ arch in a single piece of poplar board. I’ve cut a template of the arch I wish to use out of 1/2” MDF. I was using a flush trim bit (1/2” diameter). You can see the orientation of the router and the pic below.

For the right side of the board I went against the direction of the bit spin. on the LEFT side on the board I was moving left to right with the spin – that seemed at the end of the board to offer the cleanest cut.

But looks to be like the blade grabbed the wood instead of cutting it. I was taking out less than 1/8” at the top of the arch there where it blew out.

So what’s up? Should I have used a larger diameter bit? Is this an instance where I was using the bearing on the bottom and flipped the board over for the left side of the board so that I could run the bit in the opposite direction so that the cut is going against the grain near the middle of the board (where the cut is almost parallel?)

Go to store and get carpet tape and just flip it over with bottom bearing trim bit? What do you guys do for trim routing like this with arches in solid wood?

No, MDF isn’t an option here for the final product as this is a trim piece of wood for a saltwater aquarium stand. MDF would dissolve in no time from the salt water.

Another shot below:

10 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3198 days

#1 posted 06-21-2014 01:27 AM

Not sure but that looks like Douglas Fir? It has a real tendency to do just as yours has when routing it. I hesitate to recommend climb cutting (because of safety concerns) but that is all I have found to prevent this.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1618 posts in 2237 days

#2 posted 06-21-2014 03:01 AM

How much are you cutting with the bit? Did you rough cut the arch before routing? If you haven’t done it yet, precut it with a jig saw, bandsaw leaving very little to route. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4155 days

#3 posted 06-21-2014 03:07 AM

Take small-depth incremental cuts when routing against the
grain in woods like that.

I have a pin router I use for cutting out pattern parts and
it has taught me a lot. I don’t climb cut with it as it’s a
powerful machine.

View Redoak49's profile


4182 posts in 2496 days

#4 posted 06-21-2014 07:30 PM

Good advice given….rough cut the arch and then take very small cuts with router. Something else would be to use a bushing in the router and a spriral type router bit.

They do make a spiral version of the template bit which would be better.

The bottom line is that sometimes you need some luck and the right piece of wood.

View jonwright's profile


68 posts in 2444 days

#5 posted 06-22-2014 01:55 AM

I did rough cut with jig saw basically within 1/8”. Now right near the middle is where there was a bit of a corner where the jig saw blade wasn’t in the wood far enough for a clean cut. That might be what contributed. Don’t recall though. That may have been a spot where the bit was biting more than it should chew.

Spiral bit sounds like an idea. Ill try again and ensure that I’m closer with the jigsaw and don’t have anything poking out

You all certainly covered the bases with me, thank you.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2056 days

#6 posted 06-22-2014 02:44 AM

Your wood doesn’t look like poplar in the pics.

View oldnovice's profile


7499 posts in 3875 days

#7 posted 06-22-2014 03:00 AM

Shallow cuts for this kind of problem will help … may not stop it entirely, maybe a climb cut but that is hard to control so very shallow cuts for sure.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 2036 days

#8 posted 06-22-2014 03:13 AM

Looks like poplar to me, it’s just a nice clear lighter pc without the green in it.

You could rout half with a bottom bearing bit, then flip it over and rout the other half with bit that has the bearing at the top. Or you could use the same bit and rout half, flip the template to the other side of the board and rout the other half.
I just do the climb cut on the second half, (cutting into the grain) myself, being careful and going slow.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View pauljuilleret's profile


107 posts in 2160 days

#9 posted 06-22-2014 09:23 AM

taking to much material out at to fast of a rate has caused this for me before once I slowed down a bit and made multiple passes I didn’t have that issue when I had this happen it was while making some trim moldings out of red oak several years ago hope this helps it kinda goes along with what others have said earlier . good luck.. Paul

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3469 days

#10 posted 06-22-2014 05:42 PM

I go with a rough cut then one or more final cuts with the router.

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