Do you guys think that a 1 3/4 hp router would work for making raised panel doors? I do not want to buy another router and I am only making a few doors anyway. Let me know what you guys think.
Yes, it will work.
If the machine is not variable speed, use vertically oriented raised panel bits. If variable speed, you can use vertical or horizontal bits. Be gentle on the machine, make several incremental cuts.
I have the Porter Cable 1 3/4 hp router, and I purchased the CMT Sommerfield raised panel bit set, and I am able to make raised panels no problem, even horizontal. The rail/stile of course are no problem. For the panel itself, I make three passes, first on the large bearing, second about 1/8" from finished depth and finally at the finished depth on the smaller bearing. I have the variable speed router, and the recommendation for the large panel cutter is a slow speed. What I end up doing is spinning a bit faster than recommended, and when I feed the wood, I adjust the feed rate until I can feel the router has slowed down to a good workable speed.
Basically, you just get a good feel for how fast to feed the material. Practice on some scrap and you'll figure it out within your first try, as you'll natrually speed up/slow down until it just "feels right".
I've read about add-ons that make a router variable speed. Is this a good option? I also seem to recall something about these being damaging to motors.
Consider two types of router speed controllers.
The first is essentially a rheostat, it lowers the voltage to the motor. This thing is junk. It is to be hoped that no one even makes them any more.
The second is an electronic speed control. They work under the same principle as the EVS electronics built into many routers. There are two disabilities with the add-on:
1) They don't have a tachometer built into the router. An EVS router does, so when you feed stock into the router and it begins to bog down, the electronics give the motor more power. Some speed controls, when the router is "idling", allow the speed to run to full. This is dangerous when using a large diameter bit.
2) A fixed speed router is typically not designed for lower speed operation. The fan may become ineffective at lower speeds. If using an add-on at a lower speed, I would caution to monitor the motor's temperature.
I've been told by respectable authority that Porter-Cable considers the attachment of a speed control to be a warranty voiding action.
Depending on the style you want, you could try the tablesaw instead of your router. I made some cove-style doors using only my tablesaw and the turned out quite nicely. That way you wouldn't have to buy the panel raising bit set either.
If you want more details on making the panels, send me a mail and I can give you some instructions.
I think others have addressed your question, but I'll throw in my two cents - I have made several raised panels with my PC router before recently buying the 3hp big dog. Just go slow taking off a little at a time.
One other suggestion I picked up from Wood magazine a while back - stain the panel before assembly, that way when the panel expands and contracts, you won't see the line where the stain stopped. I have several old wooden doors with raised panels in my house that were stained and in the dryer winter months I get to look at the raw wood line.
I would be interested to learn more about your raised panel technique using a table saw. Why not post it right up here on the forum for everyone to read. Thanks.
I learned this technique a few weeks back at a wood working show I went to. I had always wanted to make raised panel doors before but didn't think my 1 3/4 HP router would cut it. I was thrilled to see the seminar on making cove styled raised panels on the table saw.
The main idea in this technique is using a diagonal fence. You will need a fence about 1" thick, at least 40" long and about 5" wide. The blade will be cutting into the fence so you have to use a wooden one.
I will give some of the details for making a door using 3/4" stock.
First thing you do is prepare your rails and stiles by cutting them to length. Then you mill a 1/4 groove in the center of each rail and stile approximately 3/8" deep.
Next you will need to cut tenons on your rails 1/4" thick by 3/8" deep. Now you have your basic door frame assembly. Similar to the way the assembly would be if you had used a cope and stick router bit set.
Now for the fun part. Lower your blade below the table and use your miter gauge set at 45 degrees to position your make shift fence over your blade. Line the back of the fence up with approximately the rear nut that holds the insert in place. Clamp the fence in place. You will only be able to take off 1/8" at most per pass. Start with the end grain as you would on a router table and make a pass on each end/side. Continue removing material a little at a time until you have 1/4" thickness at the edge of the panel. You need to push fairly slow otherwise you will get a lot of blade marks. Also, it helps to just do a skim pass at the end.
You will want to run a scrap first to make sure your fence is position correctly. If it is too far back, the panel will not get thinner at the edge of the board as required. You can change the angle of the fence to make the slope of the cove change.
I hope this is clear enough for you to be able to follow. If you have any more questions, just ask.
Thanks Jeff. I once read an article describing something similar.
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