Molding tricks with a tilting router lift

I have often been annoyed at limitations of what I can do with my router bits, but having now built a tilting router lift, I figured it was time to experiment with what patterns I could cut with my cheap bit set.


Fancy molding bits can be bought, but at a price. For experiment, I'm only using bits from this set of router bits that came with my router. I have two sets of bits like that (each came with a router). As such, I'm not hesitant to take the guide bearing off and even grind the bearing post off to flatten the top. If have two of each bit already, so no harm in modifying one of them, even if I could potentially destroy them.


Here's my prototype piece of molding. The first cut I'm going to make is the convex round. I'm going to use my 3/8" radius round over bit for this one. The curve looks generously large, but I'm not even using the largest round over bit from my set.


With the lift tilted, I don't even need to raise the router all the way up to push the lock button and get in there with a wrench.


Tilted 45 degrees, ready for the cut.


Using push sticks to hold the stock against the fence. I don't like getting my fingers that close to a router. Router kickback can be unpredictable.


The next cut I'm going to make is a cove cut, using this cove bit. But I'll be tilting the bit away from the direction of cut to produce a wider cut. This is in some ways similar to a this table saw cove cutting technique, but produces much cleaner results because the cutter edges are round, not pointy like saw teeth.


I mounted the fence 90 degrees to where it was previously. This router lift design has the screw holes placed in such a way that it's easy to mount the fence from four different directions.

Here I'm checking the alignment for the cut. Please note that I would Never put my hands in that spot while actually making a cut. I can't emphasize that enough - routers are unpredictable in terms of kickback. While tilting it in itself does not make kickback worse, it adds another dimension, and may cause it to behave in ways different from what you expected.


And making the cut.


Next I'm going to make a shallow angular cut. I'm using the bevel cutter from my router bit set. As with the other bits, I removed the guide bearing and ground off the post. I'm going to tilt it about 22.5 degrees to make this cut.


Here it is, protruding from the bottom...


with the lift tilted at 22.5 degrees


And the molding so far...


And finally, I'm adding a round to the end. I actually wanted to two curves to meet smoothly, but I think I should have tilted the router a bit left for this cut.


So I have a slight corner in the transition. So that would take a bit of sanding. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this molding turned out, considering I'm just experimenting with what I can do with my tilting router lift.


See also:


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