Saturday, August 28, 2010

The first cut is the deepest

Not my best work.
This is going to be a little longer of a post today, mostly because I got a whole lot more done on the project than I have in recent days.  Last night I attempted to use some 2'x2' sheets of plywood to get some practice cuts made, while attempting to create my router guide for cutting circles.  To say the least, it didn't go so well.  What I learned is that holding the trim router in my hand is not going to do much for me all the time, I'm going to have to be VERY careful with it!  It didn't help that the battery that I thought was full for my Ryboi ONE system was anything but full, so I put it to charge and took the evening off.  I figured Saturday may bring different results.

What I can say is that a day, the right tools, and the right techniques, make all the difference!  I spent the morning out, and after lunch came back and started back up again on creating the router circle cutting guide, this time with a fully charged 18v battery.  After getting the shape cut out, I cleared out the middle in as close to a shape as I could to the bottom guide of the router.  After that I drilled out the 4 screw holes to connect it to the bottom of the router, and then drilled out the holes, I thought, to the lengths needed for the various curved pieces.

The next part was to test it out.  For my first attempt I decided to use a 1/4" piece of 2x2 ply, and pre cut out the circle so I was only trimming what I thought was going to be maybe 1/2" off of it.  What I found was that I could place the router in the middle of my workbench and vice it in place, upside down.  Then after drilling a hole in the center of the board, place a nail through both the ply and the guide hole below.   During my first attempt I didn't secure the router depth well enough, and it slipped some.  I was able to re-secure it, and trim it off no problem.

The good news is that it created a beautiful circle, but it was less than 18" in diameter by about 1/2"!  I made a few adjustments to the guide from what I learned - First I created a new hole at approximately 1/2" further down the guide than what I had before, and this time I place a spare piece of 1/2" ply underneath the guide further up to help secure it so it wouldn't bend.  When I got my test wood, I had picked up a 2x2 1/2" ply as well, intending to have enough material to test out most techniques well before attempting to work on the good hardwood!

This time, I measured out a center hole about 9 1/4" from the edges of the wood, and drilled the new pilot hole.  I'm still getting the hang of using the router, but it's definitely going better.  I did have a few problems still with cutting out the circle, but it's definitely improving.  I may need to get a better 1/4" router bit than the cheapie $7 one from Harbor Freight to do this work, but it is definitely doing the job on the test runs so far.  Hopefully by Labor day I should have the initial pieces of the frame cut out and ready to assemble.

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