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Thread: Milling Wood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19

    Default Milling Wood

    My dad just got himself a table top mill/ drill for making wood projects. He is retired and keeps himself busy making puzzles etc. mostly of hardwood. My question is does anyone have any reccomendations on what type of cutters might be useful for him cutting wood? I am used to working with metal and I assume that you would normally use a higher spindle speed with wood. Would router bits be the weapon of choice here - or do they need to be turned faster than the little mill will go? I'm looking for ideas for something to get him for Father's day to go with his new toy.

    Many thanks for any advice you can provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio
    Posts
    9,117

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    I mill wood just like I mill metal, only at higher speeds. You have to keep the RPM & FPM up to prevent burning. Use as sharp a tool as available. Routers would work, but I only have a few, so I use end mills or fly cutters.

    There is a tendency for the grain to split out on the edges, and I usually back up the edges with scrap or shims. Paint sticks work well.
    Jim H.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Maine
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    6,714

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    The little I've done, I've used regular milling cutters. Some wood is remarkably abrasive though, so if you're doing a lot of wood mlilling you may want to look at carbide.

    For wood, I find "climb milling" seems to work a lot better than "conventional milling because of the split-out problems JCHannum refers to.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
    Posts
    274

    Default Milling Wood

    I have done a lot of this as my hobby is model Railways and I am duplicating a actual place. I have used mostly off cuts of plain ol 2 x 4's, and also I have a 10 year old piece of 2 x 8 outdoor treated wood, thats been in the basement for at that time. I use Carbide end mills and a 10 tooth carbide shell
    mill for facing it. I have been able to hold size to within .002" but the wood neeeds to be very dry. I have my shop vac running to catch the sawdust.
    If I knew how to post a picture of a fixture I made for gluing a trestle.

    Regards Graeme

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Many thanks to all. It's great to have access to the knowledge of so many folks with differing types of experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Tipp City, Ohio
    Posts
    1,747

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    I have done quite a bit of wood milling and turning. A few things I have learned.

    1 carbide
    2 dryish wood helps
    3 turn the bit as fast as possible
    4 becarefull with grain patterns and direction of cuts. Wood tears.
    5 to help with above, keep your cutters sharp.

    When I have (and hopefully will agian soon) turn a cue to final demensions, I used a lamanet router with a carbide router blade. I have the lathe turn as fast as possible and then the router mounted to the cross slide.

    When milling pockets for inlays, fast, sharp and light cuts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Keystone State
    Posts
    1,124

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    There used to be machines called a "pattern mill" or "patternmaker's mill"; I don't recall the real name or the manufacturer. They were like the Grizzly "wood mill" (G9959/9977) but the table could rotate like some shapers and could "tilt" to the "front" like a giant angle plate, and had a higher RPM (~10000, IIRC). The "cutters" it used were HSS with nine cutting edges. The machines may not have been too common, or they all got tossed with the wood patterns when the patternmakers got the axe.

    A few of the cabinet shop I have worked in use "round column mill/drills" for things that would "kill" a drill press, but need more "control/precision" than a router (hand held, table, overhead/pin) or a shaper (wood).

    Depending on the size of your machine and the work you can use shaper cutters, as the are designed to operate at slower RPM (~5000) than router bits.

    Shouldn't have much problems if you think your project through as if you were using a router/shaper. Climb cutting should be ok, if you are clamping down the wood, not using your hands. Also remember it is a dead tree, and will flex more than metal and can "shatter/disintegrate" if you are too agressive in you cuts.
    Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

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