Thursday, July 19, 2012

Router planing juniper slabs

Thought I'd try router planing multiple juniper slabs all at once. Total of 7 slabs had been cut by chainsaw, needed to be planed down to equal widths. That's where the router planer comes in. I set it up so the slabs would be as stable as possible by placing them flat on a non-skid carpet underlayment, shimming them, and then adjusting the depth of cut of the router bit:

Once that was all ready, the next step was to run the router sled back and forth over the pieces until they were all the same height from the workbench.

Because these are "smaller" pieces, I had to be extra careful to go slow and shallow on the cut. Otherwise, the router had a tendency to move the pieces, and I didn't want a gouge in any of them.

The results were satisfactory:
The next to last step is to grind the edges smooth. For this I used a 3/8" drill with a plastic wheel similar to a wire wheel. By using the plastic, I minimized the strands flying off during operation. That's one thing I've never liked about using wire brush wheels for cleaning up rough surfaces. These plastic wheels are cheap and can be bought at just about any hardware store.
The final step before finishing is to sand the flat surfaces to remove all the gouges and "tracks" left by the router straight bit. I'll be using a combination of a random orbital sander and hand sanding to get the end grain smooth enough so it doesn't absorb all of the finish I'm applying. I won't be posting any photos of that process cuz it doesn't even show in pictures how smooth you need to get it before varnishing or epoxying.

If this "construction" process works as well as it has so far, I plan to make a whole bunch more.