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I tried to do something like the first picture in this article and it was a disaster. I was working with 3/4" maple and bit dug in, chewed it to pieces, and eventually broke the piece in half. I have a fresh, sharp bit, a powerful router, and I was moving the right way past the bit. What did I do wrong? Should the router be on high speed or low? What else affects my chance of success?

It looked something like this: enter image description here

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    Did you adhere the template to the workpiece with double-sided tape? Also, a picture of the setup and the results would go a long way in helping diagnose. – scanny Dec 27 '16 at 0:29
  • I used hot glue. Is double-sided tape recommended? – Chris Nelson Dec 27 '16 at 2:20
  • I'm sure hot glue is fine. The article doesn't mention sticking the template to the work, but of course you must somehow. And of course you need to use a bearing to ride against the template. But all these and more details are answered in an instant by a picture of your setup and results. – scanny Dec 27 '16 at 2:22
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    How much material were you trying to take off in one go? Were you working an end-grain or long-grain surface? – Graphus Dec 27 '16 at 9:12
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    I rough cut within 1/8-1/4" of the template. The shape was an arc which aligned with the grain, at worst around 40 degrees across the grain and getting shallower. – Chris Nelson Dec 27 '16 at 13:12
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This is a very dangerous task if you don't know what you are doing. There are a couple of issues here that can lead to blowout.

First, as Graphus mentioned, is the amount of material you are removing. I would recommend being as close to 1/16" as you can comfortably get with your rough cut.

Second, when you are climbing the curve, so to speak you are going against the grain, and particularly with a straight cutter like is shown in that image, you will be fighting that the whole way. It will want to grab and as soon as it does, its going to pop on you. I prefer to avoid straight cutters in this scenario. I would recommend a spiral cutting bit, to help minimize that blowout and tendency of the bit to grab the material. Freud Spiral Flush Trim

Lastly, for tighter radius parts, it is often worth it to work the piece in halves, flipping the part for each half to always be working with the grain. You can either flip the pattern to the other face, or switch between a flush trim and pattern bits as needed to accommodate.

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  • A close rough cut is a good hint. (Though a $100+ bit isn't happening.) Not working against the grain is great. Flipping could definitely work with this. Thanks. – Chris Nelson Dec 30 '16 at 2:53
  • Yonico makes a 1/4" shank one for much less. Whiteside makes a 1/2" for a little less. No relation just some searching. I've used both companies with no problems. – Dano0430 Dec 30 '16 at 20:29
  • Yes, Freud is an expensive option, but was really just showing an example. Hopefully flipping the part works in the mean time. – Jacob Edmond Jan 3 '17 at 10:50

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