|It has happened to all of us...
You're routing a decorative edge or a round-over on a panel. When you rout with
the grain on the sides of the panel everything is fine. But when you rout
across the end grain, it looks like your whole project is about to go up in
Wood burns when it gets too hot (no surprise there), and heat is caused by
friction between a cutting tool like a router bit or saw blade and the fibers
in the wood. There are several things you can do to reduce the chance of
First, always cut with a clean cutting edge -- a cutting edge that's free from
pitch (gum) which can increase friction and cause a hotter cut. And the cutter
should be sharp. A sharp cutting edge slices the wood fibers, but a dull edge
mangles the fibers.
Another thing you can do to avoid burning is to feed the workpiece faster
across the cutter. But wait -- you might think a slow rate would produce a
cleaner cut. Maybe so. But there's a difference between a cut that feels clean
and a cut that looks clean (with no burning).
When you feed a workpiece into a cutter at a slow rate, the cutter is making
more cuts in the same spot on the board (more than it would at a faster feed
rate). This produces a great deal of heat because the cutter isn't just cutting
-- now it rubbing or burnishing the wood.
Another solution would be to reduce the speed of the cutter. By slowing down
the cutter, the amount of tool-to-wood contact is reduced. So, like moving the
wood through the cutter faster, there's less heat produced and less chance of
Go to Tip #43