Burn Marks on Wood
Prevent those horrible burn marks in your routed edges my using the following tips!
Keep Your Bits Clean
Get in the habit of cleaning your bits when you are finished with them. I know this is easier said then done; usually when we’re done we just drop them back in their holder and move on with our day. That works well with our schedule, but reeks havoc on our finished work!
Resins and dust build up that cause bits to get hotter faster, making them more likely to burn the wood. If your bits are covered with sawdust, wipe them with a dry cloth. Remove the build-up with a blade-and-bit cleaner.
*Clean bits stay sharp longer because excessive heat breaks down carbide cutters.
Keep Your Bits Sharp
A dull bit not only doesn’t cut well, but also builds up heat, which we are trying to avoid! You can send your bits out to someone who is experienced, or you can do it yourself with sharpening tools, or diamond lapping stones. The information is easy to find and there are videos available on YouTube if you are a visual learner.
*If using a stone, sharpen the flat side only and count the number of strokes so your bit is evenly sharpened.
Check Your Bit Speed
To keep your bits from heating up it is important to keep them running at a consistent speed. If you are unsure of the correct RPMs for your bit, check the chart and adjust accordingly! Also, controlling the feed rate will keep the stock cool and you smiling.
*A slow feed rate generates more heat, use a fast consistent feed rate.
Wood Types create Bit Burns
Maple and cherry burn easily because of their density and the oils they contain. For softwoods like Pine, watch out for pitch pockets; slow the router and increase feed rate to minimize burning.
*Some woods such as oak, don’t easily burn.
When All Else Fails, Fix It
*Using a hand-held utility knife, gently scrap the burn marks off.
*Set the router just a hair deeper and go over the cut again
*Dampen the burn marks with mineral spirits, it will make them sand out easier.
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