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Plunge cutting with a router

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Nov 30, 2013, 02:53 PM
Plunge cutting with a router
I'm redoing an old bathroom vanity. I would like to "hollow-out" a 9"x12" rectangular area about 1/8" deep in the center of each door to set-in a decorative tile. I have an old Sears Craftsman Model 315.17430 1.5 HP fixed-base router that my father gave me. I was thinking I might use that to make the cut. (It's probably obvious that I've never used a router.) I found a YouTube video showing the difference between a fixed-base and a plunge router. The video said there is no safe way to make a plunge cut with a fixed-base router. However, the owner's manual for this Craftsman has a section entitled Starting and Ending a Cut: Internal Routing. It advises: "Tilt router and place on workpiece, letting edge of subbase contact workpiece first. Be careful not to let router bit contact workpiece. Turn router on and let motor build to its full speed. Gradually feed cutter into workpiece until subbase is level with workpiece." Also, the manual shows diagrams in which the routing appears to start at a point on the wood's surface rather than at an edge. I interpret that to mean you can plunge cut with this router. Any observations?
Nov 30, 2013, 04:47 PM
the sears manual is 100% correct in their method. . practice on some scrap wood or whatever the door is made from, before tackling the real thing. Don't try to do it free hand or you'll screw it up, not even a pro will try it. instead build a jig that will contain the router in the area you need to route. Measure the distance from the outer edge of the base to the outer edge of the router bit, make the jig like a picture frame that is as large as the side you want plus the measurements you've taken, clamp the jig firmly and it will guide the router in a straight line, except at the corners, that you will have to chisel away.
I hope my instructions are clear but the most important thing to remember is NOT to do it freehand and practice a couple of times on a piece of scrap so you can get used to the routers torque and working with a jig
Once you have routed out the border, then removing the inside will be easy
One more time practice on some scrap first
Dec 02, 2013, 10:41 AM
Thanks very much for the advice. Much appreciated.