Raising panels with a router - Fine Homebuilding Tip
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Raising panels with a router

In his article Making Cabinet Doors with Router Bits, Jud Peake fairly and accurately presents the pros and cons of raising panels with both "horizontal" and vertical" router bits. Peake opts for the horizontal bit primarily for the ease of holding the panel flat to the table. I, on the other hand, chose the vertical bit because I was intimidated by the great whirling mass of steel that is the horizontal bit. Like Peake, I was dissatisfied with the wavy cut that often results when using the vertical bit. It's just difficult to hold the panel absolutely flat to a vertical fence.

To regain the advantage of a horizontal work surface, I mounted my router at 90° to the conventional setup. As shown in the drawing, I affixed the router to a piece of hardwood plywood. The base of the router rests in a shallow recess routed into the plywood. The plywood mounting plate is attached to a 2-in. thick top by way of two 1/4-in.-dia. machine screws driven into threaded inserts embedded in the top. One screw acts as a pivot point. The other projects through a slot in the mounting plate. A washer and a large knob on this screw allow the mounting plate to be clamped at the desired height relative to the work surface.

The router bit should be below the work as the panel is passed over it, and the cut should start out shallow and be increased gradually until the final depth is reached. Notice that the locking point is twice as far from the pivot point as the center of the router bit. At this relationship, raising the plate 1/4 in. at the locking point lifts the bit 1/8 in. I made some marks on the back of the mounting plate to act as a depth scale, which makes it quick and easy to gauge the depth of the cut.

Click to enlarge image

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