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Author Topic: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?  (Read 12063 times)

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MikeDeuce

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Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« on: January 04, 2006, 08:31:50 pm »
Has anyone tried it? I've searched and found threads where people have used dremels with some success, but haven't spotted any results of actual laminate trimmer use. Can it be that bad with a 1/16" slot cutting bit on MDF?

I have my router usually mounted to my router table and it's annoying to mount and unmount it, so I'm just looking for a little bit of convenience. Plus, sears has a little 19.2v cordless model which could make for very convenient use. I have a thing for cordless tools, sigh.

Thanks folks
mike

Yoder

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2006, 11:49:08 pm »
I did read on here that a member used a laminate trimmer to cut the slot.  I believe he used a cordless one.  Heard dremels were getting burnt up doing these....

I was considering getting a cheap chinese laminate trimmer from ebay for $20 shipped...probably just start off with a new Ryobi plunge router for now, though.

MikeDeuce

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2006, 12:21:43 am »
Ooooh I somehow missed that in my search efforts... there's a chance that I will pick up the cordless laminate trimmer for laminate trimming purposes anyhow, so I guess I'll pick up a slot cutting bit and give it a try. Thanks!

DrewKaree

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2006, 01:12:17 am »
Read my caveat.

It'll work just fine

Test it on some scrap FIRST and listen to what you're hearing.  If it sounds like you're slowing it down tremendously (sound starts off high-pitched and whiny, then gets lower and lower and sounds like it's spinning less), then do it in 2 passes.  Make the first pass half depth, and the second one as deep as you need it to go.

IF YOU DO NOT TEST IT OUT LIKE I SAID AND SCREW EVERYTHING UP, DO NOT SAY YOU WERE NOT WARNED!
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2006, 02:31:56 pm »
The 1/16th slot cutter on a router is sooooo friggin easy to route MDF.  Take the 5 minutes and unscrew your router from its table and us the right tool for the job. 

My router too was in a router table and I was dreading taking it out and using the slot cutter.  After I did it I couldn't believe how easy it was and how great the results.

BTW, my router is a Craftsman and I used the lowest speed since mdf is so soft.

DrewKaree

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2006, 03:42:05 pm »
You're missing the point.  He is trying to justify buying another tool, and a cordless one at that ;D
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MikeDeuce

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2006, 05:09:13 pm »
Hahah thanks for understanding, and the tips. I hadn't thought to do a couple passes, but that serves as a good backup plan.

Plus, if it's that easy for a proper router, I can only hope that a laminate trimmer won't mind either. And I'll post results on this thread either way so at least someone can respond with "told you so".

Time to go shopping  ;D

Thanks all.

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2006, 10:04:03 pm »
I do most of my routing with a laminate trimmer. The slot cutter will work just dandy. Just make sure the blade is on the right way.

MikeDeuce

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2006, 12:26:51 am »
Yep, just picked it up tonight for $59... uses the same 19.2v batts as my drills, circular trim saw, handvac and flashlight so I saved some cash there. I thought it might have two strikes going into this, being cordless and being a laminate trimmer, but turns out my worries were unfounded. This thing, for all my particular intents, is a little bad-arse. The manual even states that grooves, shaping edges, chamfering, rabbeting, dadoing and dovetailing are all acceptable in light duty.

I (at 9:30pm) couldn't resist
« Last Edit: January 06, 2006, 12:30:39 am by MikeDeuce »

MovingTarget

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2006, 01:15:25 pm »

DrewKaree

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2006, 01:26:57 pm »
Screw that, think BIG!  I recommend a Powermatic.

Why?  Just because  ;D
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Yoder

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2006, 09:23:42 am »
Thanks for the update.  I'm glad the trim router works well.  I'm assuming you got the Craftsman one.  Does it come with a flush trim bit like their corded one? 

If so, that's a great deal for $60!

MikeDeuce

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2006, 08:32:36 pm »
MT: good call on the new counter sink bit... like a hot knife!

DK: As nice as that sounds, "just because" doesn't always work with the lady of the house, er apartment  :P

Yoder: Yep, Craftsman 19.2v cordless. Not sure if this link will work: http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid=00911583000&subcat=Custom+Combo+Kits

It did not come with a flush trim bit, but I had one from the kit that came with my corded router. The ability to use a router at the apartment without getting rocks thrown at me was well worth the price!

Got to play with it for a little longer today, as I have begun construction of my single player CP. I purchased 1/8" extruded acrylic from TAP plastics and laid it over my 1/2" MDF CP... put in the flush trim/laminate trimmer bit and it totally impressed me once again by plowing through the 1/8" acrylic VERY comfortably. Here's a little shot (let it snow):



And a close up (too close perhaps):


Yoder

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2006, 10:03:33 pm »
Nice mess!  Thanks for the info.

I'm really leaning toward the laminate trimmer versus picking up a big router now.  For the small jobs I'd need to do I think it would be plenty.

I actually went to sears to pick it up and none of the stores in my area have it.  They only have the $90 corded one which is just a relabeled $80 Ryobi that Home Depot carries...of course it comes with a 1/2" flush trim bit which would save me $15.

I'm glad it's quiet.  I live in a house but my neighbors are real close so quiet would be nice for me too.

MikeDeuce

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2006, 02:58:18 pm »
Heh heh... it looked like I had been playing in snow as my whole torso was covered with the acrylic chips as well. took about 10x as long to clean all that up than it did to route the edge flush (d'oh).

The corded budget routers will undoubtedly save you money if you can tolerate the noise... with the model listed above, if you lack the batteries, charger, and flush bit, that's at least another $75 there. Although, if you happen to need a cordless drill, you can find combo kits and such with batteries and chargers for about $100. It works out well if you happen to have a lot of the required gear already, otherwise it's pretty steep. Good luck!

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2006, 04:32:42 pm »
Wow this sounds like a nice tool (I have a 19.2 set also and was looking at that trimmer last time I was in Sears).  Have you tried doing any recess routing, like taking out 1/8" off the top of a CP for a trackball mounting plate for example?  Does it keep it's height locked in place well?  I couldn't get a dremmel with routing attachment to hold it's height for crap when I tried.

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2006, 04:50:17 pm »
I found that Home Depot appears to sell this (as a Ryobi) for $50...I'm torn on going with this or a corded one...I just worry that the 19.2 V batter will die after a few years due to lack of use.

Home depot version.... Shortened link

Also the corded ones ($80-$100) usually come with a ($15) flush trim bit...which you'd use to cut the lexan flush to your CP.

BTW, this should have no problem mortising...these are commonly used by door/triim guys to cut door hinge mortises (recesses).
« Last Edit: January 17, 2006, 09:23:19 pm by saint »

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2006, 05:25:02 pm »
There really isn't anything arcade related that this tool won't do well. As long as you are not trying to sling some big moulding profile bits or something, or force it to make full depth cutouts or some other stipid routering move, it is a great tool. (I do personally prefer the one with a cord.)

MikeDeuce

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2006, 05:44:49 pm »
Does it keep it's height locked in place well?

I hope I'm not overhyping the tool, but it really is perfect for my weekend projects.

The height adjustment on it has a quick release buckle (not sure what its actually called), similar to a quick release seat or wheel on any modern bicycle. You can tighten the nut on the end of it (which was necessary out of the box, and the other end of the wrench it comes with for tightening down the collet can be used for that) and once you clamp it down again it shouldn't shift at all. It is plastic, but for this type of work it seems completely sufficient.

The manual seems to recommend making a couple passes if you plan to do a very deep recess, but 1/8" will be a piece of cake. I can do a quick run on some scrap MDF (if my neighbors aren't home, possibly during the week... otherwise definitely next weekend). I'm a little curious anyway, since I may want to recess my sticks that are coming in tomorrow.

It churned right through the 1/8 acrylic like nothing with the laminate trimmer bit, so MDF should be even easier.

I found that Home Depot appears to sell this (as a Ryobi) for $50...I'm torn on going with this or a corded one...I just worry that the 19.2 V batter will die after a few years due to lack of use.

Yeah... the corded one sounds like a solid choice, especially when you consider the total commitment required by a 19.2 set. Not that I'm trying to convince you, but I absolutely love my 19.2v tools. I also have this guy in my kit:

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid=00911391000

Mostly because my household is the type that never has a working flashlight around. Either the battery is dead or the bulb has failed. If you happen to be a similar type, a set of tools that share the same battery might be a great investment.

But if I had a garage that I could keep the doors closed on, I would probably still be happy with my corded one.

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2006, 10:01:42 am »
I currently don't own a router, but I'm in the process of trying to decide which one to purchase to help me build my cabinet.. and this thread is great!  I had thought about this before, but thought that some of the work might be beyond the capabilities of the laminate trimmers...

So if the laminate trimmer can handle the slot-cutting and can do some minor cuts to help flush mount my joystick; the only other task I had envisioned for my new router purchase was to use a pattern cutting bit to match up the two sides of the cabinet.. what do you think about that task for such a tool..? is that beyond what I'll be able to accomplish (sucessfully) with the laminate trimmer? or do I really need to just buy a full-fledged router.. I don't know how much real heavy duty wood working i'd do that would really require a router, so if i can get away with using a laminate trimmer that's probably the way I'd go...

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2006, 10:10:48 am »
So if the laminate trimmer can handle the slot-cutting and can do some minor cuts to help flush mount my joystick; the only other task I had envisioned for my new router purchase was to use a pattern cutting bit to match up the two sides of the cabinet.. what do you think about that task for such a tool..? is that beyond what I'll be able to accomplish (sucessfully) with the laminate trimmer? or do I really need to just buy a full-fledged router.. I don't know how much real heavy duty wood working i'd do that would really require a router, so if i can get away with using a laminate trimmer that's probably the way I'd go...

I'm a "newbie" and this "pattern cutting bit" sounds like the cats meow for my woodworking skills (lack of).  Has someone used these bits before?  Does it make matching the sides much easier?  I would think so...  Thanks for your HELP!  I love this board!  Hopefully I'll have a new cab in a few months...

PrizLucky

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2006, 10:24:22 am »
a pattern cutting bit is basically a straight bit with a bearing on it.. so you stack your piece to be cut with the "pattern" you want to cut to (in this case it'd be my first finished side of the cabinet) and you can use the router to make the 2nd side exactly match the 1st..  (you have to cut the new piece down before running the router..)

here is an example:  http://www.rockler.com/findit.cfm?page=5411

DrewKaree

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2006, 10:48:38 am »

I currently don't own a router,



I'm a "newbie" and this "pattern cutting bit" sounds like the cats meow for my woodworking skills (lack of).




Whatever you two decide, when routing, always move counterclockwise around the piece you're routing.  The bit then feeds into the material, whereas doing it the opposite direction might cause "skips" and inaccurate cuts.

A pattern cutting bit  will give you pieces that match exactly if the piece you're wanting to copy has void-free sides for the bearing to ride along.  For example, if using plywood, make sure to fill in the edges if there's any holes in the plies.  If your bearing rides into that gouge of missing ply, your "matching" piece will no longer be matching. 

I'm not sure if they make pattern bits that'll work.  Check out  one of these three to get specs on what size shank (you'll need a quarter-inch shank with a laminate trimmer) they sell those bits in, and if there's a recommended speed they say not to go above or below.  Match that up to the specs of the trimmer you're looking to get.

www.rockler.com 
www.mlcswoodworking.com
www.leevalley.com
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2006, 10:53:01 am »
I currently don't own a router, but I'm in the process of trying to decide which one to purchase to help me build my cabinet.. and this thread is great!  I had thought about this before, but thought that some of the work might be beyond the capabilities of the laminate trimmers...

So if the laminate trimmer can handle the slot-cutting and can do some minor cuts to help flush mount my joystick; the only other task I had envisioned for my new router purchase was to use a pattern cutting bit to match up the two sides of the cabinet.. what do you think about that task for such a tool..? is that beyond what I'll be able to accomplish (sucessfully) with the laminate trimmer? or do I really need to just buy a full-fledged router.. I don't know how much real heavy duty wood working i'd do that would really require a router, so if i can get away with using a laminate trimmer that's probably the way I'd go...


The laminate trimmer will work fine as long as you prepare properly. If you are going to use a pattern bit for cutting matching sides for example, you want to rough cut out the side with a jigsaw first. Trace the pattern onto the workpiece and then trim it out rough with a jigsaw, roughly 1/8"to 3/16" oversise (outside the traced lines) Then position your pattern, and trim the remaining 1/8" to 3/16" with the pattern bit in the laminate trimmer. This will give much better results than trying to cut the pattern out with just the pattern bit, and will keep you from burning up the laminate trimmer, which ir reality is just a light duty router.

nostrebor

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2006, 10:54:31 am »
Drew left some great links. MLCS has been great for router bits for me, and they are usually the least expensive!

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2006, 11:18:42 am »
Thanks for the info guys! A laminate trimmer sounds like it should handle all the tasks I'll need.. and it should save me a few bucks! (though part of me still wants to get a "real" router!)


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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2006, 12:24:15 pm »

Thanks for the info guys! A laminate trimmer sounds like it should handle all the tasks I'll need.. and it should save me a few bucks! (though part of me still wants to get a "real" router!)


Then get yourself a "real" router :)  The cost difference isn't gonna be that big, and if you get a "real" router, with the right size collet (that's the part that holds the bits), you can do so many more things than are possible with a laminate trimmer. 

I might be talking about something OTHER than that Sears model, since I haven't seen a good laminate trimmer for less than $100, and the Bosch Colt, which seems to be the shiznit in this category, is ~$130.

See if there are DeWalt refurbished stores in your area too.  Might save you a few bucks and I can vouch for that one being a really nice one, although I don't use it for anything other than laminate.
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2006, 02:48:04 pm »
I picked up a laminate trimmer the other day.  I went with Ridgid's heavy duty $100 model.  It got good reviews by woodworking magazines I saw on the web and it has some plusses that a lot of better brands don't have (by better I mean Porter Cable, Dewalt, etc).  A link...

Shortened link

This router has a 6 amp motor (maybe 1+ HP or so?), a steel base, and variable speed with soft start.  Also, the base appears to be perpendicular to the body so that you should be able to use it for most router tasks.  If you read Amazon reviews of other trimmers you'll find that many are not perpendicular so they are really designed only for trimming laminate.

Note, the money was not really why I went for this.  I wanted something small that I can use to do door hinge mortises, laminate trimming, and other small tasks.  I'm not a woodworker, so I think this will be fine for me.  Besides you can get a "real" router for much cheaper than $100.

BTW, this router comes with a flush trim bit.  I plan to use this to trim my lexan, etc.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2006, 09:24:37 pm by saint »

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2006, 03:00:03 pm »
yeah, I'm thinking that I might just buy a cheapo router.. Home Depot has the ryobi 2hp plunge base router for $99, or the smaller fixed base router in a combo kit with a small router table for $99 ..   
I might just pick one of those up... I know the Porter Cable is there taunting me for $40 more, but saving $40 and getting a small router table seems to be a better bang for the buck for my needs right now..
If I find that I'm really using it a lot, and need something better later, I can always upgrade.. (and 2 routers > 1 right  ;D )

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2006, 06:01:59 pm »
The ryobi routers are OK... the table sucks wind. Blow the extra 40. It will be worth it. Get a 1/2" collet router if you go the full blown router "route" :)

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2006, 07:12:07 pm »
So if you were going to get a new "good" router you would suggest a Porter Cable or Dewalt?  Any models you would suggest?

I see this new hobby is going to be addictive!!!!

TIA!

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2006, 12:18:19 am »
Totally forgot to share this picture:



Roughly a 1/8" depth cut, done with the cordless craftsman 19.2v trimmer, and it tore through it as easily as the laminate. Great little tools, these things, but I still say if you can deal with a "real" router in your situation, go that route.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2006, 12:21:11 am by MikeDeuce »

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2006, 03:55:29 am »
Hey... that pattern cutter is pretty cool! I've been looking for something like it so I can create a master board (a curvy cab can be hard to keep cutting out). Thanks for the links, I think it's just about time to put in an order to rockler.
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2006, 09:15:36 am »
So if you were going to get a new "good" router you would suggest a Porter Cable or Dewalt?  Any models you would suggest?

I see this new hobby is going to be addictive!!!!

TIA!

If *I* were going to buy a good new router it would be a Bosch. The 2-base setup, whatever the current model is. My second choice would be a PC, in the same configuration. I have the 3-base Ryobi set and a Ryobi plunge router, and the Bosch colt laminate trimmer. The Ryobi routers are quite good for the casual arcade cabinet builder. They start to lack when you get the bug to go full blown woodworker or work with hardwoods or want to make lots of blade or base changes, etc.

Once the woodworker bug hits, you'll want to own about 4.3 routers anyway ;)

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2006, 12:23:49 pm »
After doing research on this, if I were buying a full size router I'd go with the $100 Ryobi (180PL) plunge router (1/4 and 1/2" collet sizes, variable speed w/soft start, and it's compatible with aftermarket templates and jigs) OR I'd spend $200 and get a Porter Cable two base kit (free D-handle by mail).  Of course any of the top brands are going to be solid.

I don't plan on getting into woodworking ( the only wood items I even own are particle board desks, etc) so the laminate trimmer will do for now for me.

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2006, 04:13:14 pm »
For a "get the job done I don't plan on routing too much more router" Harbor Freight has a 1.75HP plunge router for 40 on sale now.   I am sure that would work for the casuall cabinetbuilder, anyone who wants to get into woodworking would be well advised to buy a nicer set up.  It comes default set for a 1/2" shank and has an attachment for a 1/4" shank.  They also sell a 3 wing slot cutter set including a 1/16" slot for 25.

Don
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2006, 07:31:40 pm »
I was going to put an order in with rockler for that bit, but now I see that it says it's "designed to be used in a router table". Do you think it will be a problem working with a corded plunge router? I'm mainly looking to just punch out curvy sides.
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2006, 07:34:45 pm »
I was going to put an order in with rockler for that bit, but now I see that it says it's "designed to be used in a router table". Do you think it will be a problem working with a corded plunge router? I'm mainly looking to just punch out curvy sides.

I have about 4 of those bits, and one of them actually DID come from Rockler.  I have yet to EVER use a pattern bit in a router table yet (don't have projects small enough or non-cumbersome to do on a router table) and they work just fine.  I'll see if I can find a link for the one I just used to copy my CP top.
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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2006, 07:44:41 pm »


http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=1863

I used the flush trim bit just because I originally needed to match the sides of my CP, but it's the exact same principle.  Another thing I just thought of about why you might have to use the Rockler bit in a table is the cutter might hang below the material you're matching up.  Picking up a flush trim bit like the one pictured above will allow you to use it even if you don't have sawhorses or anything to prop your material up on. 

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Re: Laminate trimmer for t-molding slot cutting?
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2006, 07:49:50 pm »
[Image Removed]

http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=1863

I used the flush trim bit just because I originally needed to match the sides of my CP, but it's the exact same principle.  Another thing I just thought of about why you might have to use the Rockler bit in a table is the cutter might hang below the material you're matching up.  Picking up a flush trim bit like the one pictured above will allow you to use it even if you don't have sawhorses or anything to prop your material up on. 



Thanks for confirming that! I had thought about the problem that I might run into with the bearings being on top, but I figured everything out and it won't be a problem. One more question that I meant to ask. Is there any difference between a pattern bit and a flush trip bit other than the bearing positions? Can a flush trim bit handle more than just a little bit of overhang (such as actually cutting it out of the board)?
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