Router Overworking on Raised-Panel Door Work

Why is a router struggling on door panels? Probably because it's the wrong tool for the job. October 2, 2010

How do I keep the speed of my router down? I have tried two different routers, one with built in speed control and one with external. The bit is a large raised door panel. With both systems the bit comes up to speed nicely, and then as I pass the work in the bit will bog down a little and then go way - way faster than it was at free rpm. I about ran from the room a couple times thinking the bit was going to fly apart. This canít be safe and I have almost given up on raised panel doors at this point.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor P:
Raised panels on a router? Run now before you get hurt. Don't even think about doing this. Get a shaper, at least 3/4" but better if larger or buy the doors from somebody who has the knowledge and tools to make them safely. Shame on whoever led you down this path!

From contributor R:
I've raised literally thousands of panels using a router. I would like to know what routers you have tried? I've done this with Freud's 3 1/2 hp FT2000E (under $200.00) Bosch's 3 1/2 hp (well over $320.00) and several other 3 1/2 hp models from various manufacturers. I've only experienced speed control problems when the electronic speed control went bad on older machines. You should be easily able to safely route raised panels with a router. If you want to raise a lot of panels, then get a shaper set up, and mount a power feeder on it. Bottom line, if you are nervous about doing any milling operation don't do it! Find another way you feel safe. No job is worth your fingers.

From contributor D:
You can relief cut most of the bevel cross section relatively safely by beveling your table saw blade and holding your panels vertically as you pass them over the blade. Obviously, very large panels and any with a radius can't be done. Then your bit only has to do clean up passes, removing smaller amounts of material.

From contributor J:
Sounds like you're overloading the router. The little automatic speed control is attempting to maintain the same power, speed and torque while you're continually loading and overloading the motor. Are you trying to cut the panel in a single pass?

It really requires quite a lot of power and torque to rotate those large diameter raised panel bits. Because of their size, they need to run at a slower rpm. The difference between the sfpm tip speed and the cutting speed near the bearing is significant. This makes it even tougher to get consistent cuts, especially while hand feeding. Some of these nasty cutters are up to 3 1/2" in diameter with an undercutter as well. Cross grain cuts are the worst.

The cutting action itself along the surface face is more of a scraping cut and the router bit will become dull and compromised with your very first burn mark. I really don't think much of these router bits being sold and utilized in any available hand-held router or small router table set-up. They have neither the hp nor bearings for the task. The whole operation can be very dangerous without automatic feeds and enclosed cutter head set-ups. I have big old pin routers that can handle these airplane propeller bits but I still don't feel safe even standing in front of them. Those vertical raised panel bits make more sense as long as you aren't cutting any radius panels. What makes even more sense is to order your cabinet doors from the big factory and save time, money and your fingers.

From the original questioner:
I thank you all for your input. Yes I think I will have the pros build the doors for me. I do think the problem is the router working too hard and increasing power to compensate, but canít maintain speed so just goes faster and faster.

From contributor I:
I agree with Contributor P. Quit trying to turn a router into a shaper and get a shaper. You will be much happier, produce a better product and be more productive.