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Thread: Router trim bits

  1. #1
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    Router trim bits

    I'm in the process of building my first kit and I'm just about to shape the headstock.

    My plan is to make a template which I can shape and then use a router to shape the headstock. I don't have a router yet but I'm planning on getting the Triton JOF001.

    But which flush trim bit is ideal for headstock shaping? There are so many options I'm not sure which is best?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Hi GM,

    what ever shape you choose, you are best to cut as close as you can to the final shape (1-2 mm or closer without breaking your line.
    The danger with routing is that if you strike funky bits of grain, or try to take too much off you may burn the wood, or the bit flutes might catch and cause big tear out.
    Good quality carbide bits help
    https://www.carbatec.com.au/routing-...2-shanked-bits

    i have used the first three on the linked page in my little workshop and they go well, but the rule is cut as close to your line as possible.

    or you can go bonkers with it,

    https://www.woodworksupplies.com.au/...whiteside.html

    these are supposed to be the ducks nuts of flush trim router bits.
    You don’t need to go that nuts, a decent straight 2 flute carbide bit with a top mount bearing should be more than adequate, you just need a good well made template to run it against. 3/8” or 1/2” diameter bits are common and easy to get a hold of at a relatively low cost from most specialist tool stores or big box type hardware stores.


    But I think for headstocks, most of the forum generally cut then sand/rasp/file to shape. It’s slower, it’s harder work, but mistakes happen at a lot slower speed, so the damage can be mitigated. Routers are unforgiving and busted headstocks are a pain to fix.
    Most of mine are either coping saw to rough shape, then rasp, file and sand, sand, sand and then some more sanding.
    FrankenLab
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  3. #3
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    If I had it to do again, I would get one of these:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have the single bearing version that I was using with on a router table when this happened:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I did an initial cut with a jigsaw and was cutting away the excess with the template stuck to the bottom of the headstock. I was almost done when the bit seems to have caught on the grain and broke off a piece.

    I knew this was a risk, but I might have avoided with a long, dual bearing bit so that I could flip the headstock upside down and go the right direction for the grain of the wood.

    I might also have avoided this by sanding off any rough bits from the jigsaw before trying to use the router, but even doing that, breaks along the grain can happen when routing.

  4. #4
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    @Fender3x that was exactly the picture that popped into my head, just couldn’t remember whose build it was. Thank you.
    FrankenLab
    Where “What if?” meets “Why the hell not?!”.


  5. #5
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    Ah - I thought router option would give me the neatest finish. So may be not then.... (there goes my excuse to buy a router! )

    Actually, I made a template this evening out of ply using a jig saw and about 30 mins of hand sanding. My plan was to use this with the new router.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It didn't take too long and I was quite happy with the result - so given your advice I might just follow the same process on the headstock.

    My wife will be pleased that I'm not spending more money on power tools

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Groovyman32; 23-02-2021 at 05:09 AM.

  6. #6
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    It was more a cautionary note to make you aware of the pitfalls, perfectly illustrated by the photo from Fender3x. Routers are a great tool to have, and can open up a wide range of possibilities with other woodworking projects, but they are terrifying to use when it all goes pear shaped. And given that they are operating at high spindle speeds, pear shaped happens in a microsecond.

    Your template looks great, use it as a reference guide for your shaping. If you do decide to router up and have a crack, re make it in 12 mm MDF, fastidiously check the sides for squareness and surface blemishes/undulations (the follow bit bearing will find every slight bump or hollow and transfer it to your headstock) and coat the sides in thin CA glue to seal and harden them.
    FrankenLab
    Where “What if?” meets “Why the hell not?!”.


  7. #7
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    Yeah thanks - I hear what you say. I think in this instance it’s safer to do it by hand.

    My long term plan was to try to cut my own bodies from blanks so that might be my excuse to buy new toys.


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  8. #8
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    I think I must have been writing my post when FW's went up.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankenWashie View Post
    Hi GM,

    But I think for headstocks, most of the forum generally cut then sand/rasp/file to shape. It’s slower, it’s harder work, but mistakes happen at a lot slower speed, so the damage can be mitigated. Routers are unforgiving and busted headstocks are a pain to fix.
    Most of mine are either coping saw to rough shape, then rasp, file and sand, sand, sand and then some more sanding.
    In my case, it was not too bad to fix. The piece came off clean. It's not in a place that bears any sort of load, and I was able to glue it back without too much fuss.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    From the front or the back you can't see where the two pieces come together without knowing what you are looking for. It's easier to see on the side. Still, it will bear the mark of my sins.

    I used the router partly because I did not have the patience for hand tools. I got it cut with the jig saw pretty close, but I left a place for the bit to catch in precisely the wrong place. Having as little as possible for the router to cut--and soothing out any rough areas that the bit might catch *probably* have been enough.

    I agree with FW about using a good bit. Mine was a new CMT, just like what FW pointed you to. I also agree that you should remove as much wood as possible before routing, so the router is only finishing up. I did that too. I might have gotten away with this if I had just smoothed out the rough spots heading into the grain.

    BUT there is only one sure way of avoiding router tear out when cutting into the grain: Don't cut into the grain. Cut away from the grain.

    You can do this with a single bearing bit you have to flip the piece you are cutting upside down. With a single bearing bit have to move the template from one side of the headstock to the other. with a long double bearing bit you can leave the template stuck to the bottom, flip the piece upside down and finish the job.

    I'd do the headstock with a router again, but I would only cut away from or perpendicular to the grain--especially on the bottom.

    Also, I would do it on a table. you can make one or purchase one cheaply, but this would be hard to do without a router table of some kind, I think.

    I love what the router can do, but it is without question the tool that makes me the most nervous.
    Last edited by fender3x; 23-02-2021 at 06:08 AM.

  9. #9
    Mentor McCreed's Avatar
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    But I think for headstocks, most of the forum generally cut then sand/rasp/file to shape. It’s slower, it’s harder work, but mistakes happen at a lot slower speed, so the damage can be mitigated. Routers are unforgiving and busted headstocks are a pain to fix.
    Most of mine are either coping saw to rough shape, then rasp, file and sand, sand, sand and then some more sanding.
    Sounds like you've already decided to err on the side of caution, which is what I was going suggest as Frankie mentioned above.

    I'll only add that since you already have a jigsaw, that's what I have used along with the advice of leaving 1-2mm outside of your line.
    I have finished them off both all by hand using file/rasp/sandpaper (checking regularly with my 3" machinist square to make sure I maintain a right angle) as well as using a sanding drum in my drill press followed by hand sanding. (I have made table with a hole for the drum that keeps the work piece 90° to the drum).

    IIRC, I think you mentioned having a small drill press. Even though it may not have enough throat depth for doing string-through holes, It may be big enough for using sanding drums with a headstock. They're really handy for lots of stuff, guitar or otherwise.

    Also, a set of sanding drums are way cheaper than a router, so could be easier to get through the CFO .
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  10. #10
    Member GregLane's Avatar
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    I agree with McCreed. Sanding drums on a drill press for me. IMO routers are way too vicious for fine headstock work. Even though I have access a router and jig saw. A set of sanding drums include some very small diameters for fine corners and turns. Lot cheaper than a router.
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