Builders: Lamintate trimmer or router

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by JimH, Jan 21, 2008.


  1. JimH

    JimH Member

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    On acoustic instruments, for binding channels, rosette, soundhole and a few other things I've been using a (borrowed) makita laminate trimmer. For pickup routing on electric and so on would I need something more heavy duty? i.e. an actual router? If so would this be able to do the jobs the laminate trimmer does or would I need both?

    I'm in UK so can't necessarily get the same brands as you guys...

    Thanks,
    jim
     
  2. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    I use Porter Cable 310 laminate trimmer routers whenever I can. For heavier cuts like cavities in solid bodies it's 1.5 hp routers like the Porter cable 690. These are the general workhouse routers in the shop.
     
  3. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Thanks,
    So the answer is both?
     
  4. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    You need both for a guitar building shop, but if you are just going to make strat or tele bodies you'll only need a full size router.
     
  5. JimH

    JimH Member

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    I'm doing acoustics too.

    Thanks.

    Unfortunately I can't find the models you mentioned in UK. I guess there will be makita equivalents.
     
  6. JimH

    JimH Member

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    One other question to anybody, is it critical to have a really good quality one? I think it will have relatively light use.
     
  7. DamianP

    DamianP Member

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    Not critical, but much better if you can afford it.

    Cheaper machines are built to much looser tolerances which can cause issues with accuracy (particularly with regard to plunge cutting). Usually nothing you can`t allow for with experience but much nicer to avoid if you can.
    Personally I use a Makita 3612 1/2" in my table and a small Trend T3 for hand held jobs.

    The Makita is a great machine, as good as anything else I`ve tried. I wouldn`t recomend the Trend as it does suffer from some of the issues mentioned. You can do accurate work with it but it is a bit of a pain to have to keep re-adjustimg.
    Indeed I am about to replace it with a Makita RP 1100.

    I think you can get Porter Cable tools here. I remember looking at some once.
    They were , however, priced well above what anyone who makes a living from woodworking could reasonably afford.

    Damian.
     
  8. JimH

    JimH Member

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    thanks very much, what about the table - why are some £300 and others £25? - Also what is an RP-1100, I've searched and it seems to be an extension nozzle rather than a machine.
     
  9. DamianP

    DamianP Member

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    http://www.makitauk.com/index.php?special=product_detail_popup&pid=231&catid=64

    The cheap tables are tiny things unsuited to very much really.
    I made my own table, incorporating one of those router lift mechanisms, which makes life much easier. Grovelling in the dust adjusting the cutter height is no fun. An accurate fence with adjustable faces is also useful as it can be used for planing small parts, machining truss rod slots etc.

    In an ideal world I`d buy a pin router. It`s only the 10 grand a year rent for a workshop to house it that stops me!


    Damian.
     
  10. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Thanks Damian - I really appreciate the time you've taken to reply. The RP1110 is bigger than I thought - it looks almost as big as the 3612. Is it really suitable for the smaller, more intricate jobs like rosettes and purfling?

    Ah 10K - chump change to your average luthier... er gulp.
     
  11. David Myka

    David Myka Gold Supporting Member

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    Jim, I do all of my binding channels on my acoustics with a full size router. I find that the laminate trimmers do not work as well with the larger diameter binding bits that I use. They are too small (lacking mass) and vibrate too much at higher speeds. I got rid of mine and only use full size routers now.

    For a nice fixture check out this:
    http://pweb.jps.net/~kmatsu/htmlpages/bindrtrjig.html

    I modified mine to work with a larger router and it works great.

    ~David
     
  12. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Wow - what a superb jig - if you can call it that. excellent idea. Thanks.

    ...so the size of the router does not determine what size cuts it makes? So apart from maneuverability there's not down side to a big one?
     
  13. JimH

    JimH Member

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    So can I just ask if I shouldn't worry about having too powerful a machine? -ie RP1110 for instance. I've had advice before that laminate trimmers are what I need as routers have too much torque and cause tear out.
     
  14. bunny

    bunny Member

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    I've tried to find Porter Cable routers with 220V power voltage but they don't seem to make these. if you live in Europe I'm afraid you'll have to find some alternative.
    There's some info I found though that may help:
    "With its manufacturing
    operation centralised in Jackson, TN,
    Porter-Cable operates a second
    manufacturing facility in Steinheim, Germany,
    where its products are produced and sold
    throughout Europe under the FLEX brand
    name."​
     
  15. David Myka

    David Myka Gold Supporting Member

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    Jim, the size of the router does relate to the size cut it can make to some extent. A laminate trimmer was originally designed to trim thin plastic veneers on cabinetry and counter tops and use smaller bits generally. I use a 1" diameter (25.4mm) binding cutter and I needed something that could handle that and still run smooth. I personally like the heavier weight routers for their stability in use.

    Not sure why you were told that higher torque causes tearout. Tearout and chipping is caused by dull bits or taking too mch material off at a time (not an issue with typical bindin channels). Keep your bits sharp and you will have good results.

    Glad you liked th link to that binding fixture. Be sure to check out http://www.mimf.com/ and http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/ for more specific acoustic guitar building advice. Register at MIMF and make extensive use of their library. There is such a wealth of information there.

    ~David
     
  16. DamianP

    DamianP Member

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    Jim,
    I wouldn`t worry about having a machine thats too powerful. Sometimes a smaller machine can be easier to use for a particular task but I always use the most robust machine I can.

    Really, when it comes to routers, you can`t have too many. Large, small, bench mounted, dremels, etc, etc.
    I gave this advice to a friend who was starting out in woodworking. He was a little sceptical and thought he`d be fine with just one.
    He now owns more than I do!

    +1 on David`s forum recomendations.

    Damian.
     
  17. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Thanks guys - great info, didn't know of OLF at all. Great resource. Seems there's no simple answer to the trimmer/router question although been given a good starting point. Can I ask to those who make electrics do you route around a template for the body shape? and if so with which machine?

    ...ever heard of PRO CLM 1200 RSK?

    Seen one going relatively cheaply - not that I'm trying to cut corners - but bargains never hurt....
     
  18. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    Routers are like paint guns. To ask "what kind of gun/router do I need to make guitars" is pointless as most builders have many.
     
  19. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Fair enough - however that piece of information was, in itself useful. All I was doing was attempting to avoid some of the pitfalls of the novice by asking advice. i.e. Not buying unsuitable or needlessly expensive equipment. The college where I'm studying only makes acoustics, so only uses laminate trimmers. - However that doesn't mean they're the best thing - maybe they are or maybe they're what they can afford, so I thought why not see what TGP had to say.
     
  20. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Thanks Ted. As usual seems as though there's a hell of a lot of info to be digested before you make a good choice.
     

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