Bad Birch or Bad Bits: Bad Results

I have been having difficulty using my router when it is attached to my router table. I am attempting to make decorative edges on picture frames that I have made from birch. The results have been less than desirable. I get lots of tearout and marred wood. What can I do?

Rob Johnstone:¬†First, buy good quality router bits (see the answer above). Second, don’t try to take too much material off at one time. Birch usually machines pretty well, but like any wood, it can have its bad spots or curly grain. So, if you take a few passes to achieve your complete depth of cut, you will avoid tearout to a great degree. One other tip is to put a “sacrificial” fence on your router table. This can simply be a piece of 1/4″ hardboard or the like. Clamp it to your regular fence and then use the profile bit you will be shaping with to cut the opening. This, in effect, gives you a zero clearance fence that will further reduce the chances of tearout.

Posted in: