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How Do I Hollow Out A Block Of Wood?

Wood routers are great tools to have when it comes to wood working because they can be used for a number of different purposes. One of those purposes is hollowing out wood and that’s exactly what we are here to talk about today. Using a router to hollow out wood is not very difficult but you will need to follow a few specific steps to get the job done right. Let’s talk about the steps you need to follow to properly hollow out a piece of wood using a router.

Creating a Width Guide

The first thing that you will need to do in order to properly hollow out a piece of wood using a router is to create a guide to control the diameter or width of the space that you are hollowing out. This guide or pattern should be the exact size of the hollow that you are looking to create. Use a piece of plywood and cut the shape of the hollow into it.

Secure The Guide

The next step in hollowing out a piece of wood with a router is to attach the guide or pattern to the piece of wood that you will be working on. Your best bet is to use a series of clamps to hold the wood and pattern firmly in place and against each other. This is very important because if the guide moves during the routing process the hollow will not be the proper size. This is especially important for smaller projects because cutting just a little bit too far outwards may result in the router bit penetrating and breaking the outer wall of the hollow. On a side note, clamps may get in the way, in which case you can also use double sided tape to attach the pattern to the wood.

Setting The Bit Depth

The third step in this process is to choose your bit and to set the depth at which it will be routing at. You need to match the length of the bit and the amount that it protrudes out of the chuck to the depth of the hollow that you are aiming to create. The deeper you want your hollow to be the longer the bit will have to be. For this process we would recommend using a spiral bit as they create cleaner cuts than most other bits. Make sure that the bit depth does not exceed the thickness of the wood or else you run a risk of cutting straight through it.

The Type Of Router

Depending on the tools at your disposal you may want to consider using a different type of router. A normal fixed base router will do the trick just fine, but it may require some trial and error to get the depth right. On the other hand a plunge router is much more convenient for hollowing out wood because it lets you adjust the cutting depth on the go, something that is ideal for rounded hollows that contain different depths within the wood. Of course you can also use a CNC router to automatically program the cut you want to make and let the machine do all the work for you, but of course CNC routers are quite expensive.

Final Tips

One tip that you should follow when hollowing out the wood is to always try and cut with the grain of the wood as opposed to it because this will reduce splinters and cracking. Also after you are done routing out the hollow you will most likely need some kind of sand paper to get the edges smooth.

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