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Cutter Care & Maintenance Guide

Cutter Care & Maintenance Guide
  Looking after and maintaining the performance and life of your cutters.
     
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Cutter Care

Cutter Care
  Router cutter care and maintenance plays a major role in preserving cutter performance and prolonging life.
Cutter Care
It is essential to keep cutters clean. After every routing operation remove the cutter from the collet and clean it. If you are not reusing it in the immediate future, lightly spray with an anticorrosion agent such as Rust buster and store it separately to other cutters and tools. However avoid spraying bearing guides with Rust buster.
It is important to keep the surface of the shank clean and smooth. If tarnished or showing signs of surface corrosion, the shank should be cleaned with very fine wire wool and preferably polished with metal polish to remove any fine scratches (this is to avoid providing a key for the resin to adhere to).
Keep the cutter edges clear of resin or other baked-on residue, as this will prevent waste from clearing freely, causing the cutting edges to overheat. It will also forestall the need to exert undue pressure on the cutter and minimise stress on both the cutter, ball-bearing guide and the router.
Cutter Care
  Resin can be removed with Resin cleaner, cellulose thinners, lighter fuel or other solvents. However, do take all necessary precautions when handling solvents, particular those relating to personal safety and fire risks. When handling solvents wear suitable rubber gloves to prevent skin irritation as well as eye protection in case of accidents. Remove the ball-bearing guide of self- guiding cutters or take extra care to prevent any surplus solvent entering the ball-bearing. Stubborn Ôbaked-onŐ deposits can be removed with very fine wire wool, a fine wire brush or a piece of stiff plastic (a small piece of plastic laminate is ideal for this purpose). Avoid touching the cutting edges as this will dull their edge.
Ball-bearing guides and solid pilot pins should also be kept clean, although the former should only be scraped clean, without using a solvent. Pilot pins left with resin deposits adhering to the surface, will leave a rippled finish and possible burn marks on the workpiece.
When cutting pine or other timbers that are rich with resin, the cutter should be cleaned more regularly with Resin cleaner , and coated with a dry lubricant spray such as Trendicote spray. Being a PTFE based coating, this will temporally reject the resin deposits, preventing them from adhering to the metal. Repeated use of this spray prior to cutting, will significantly reduce the accumulation of resin and waste deposits. Some cutters are available coated with a resin resisting coating. In our tests, these have shown to have a short lived effect.
     
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Extending The Life Of The Cutter

Extending The Life Of The Cutter
  Extending the life of a cutter
To prevent excessive wear of the tungsten carbide when trimming laminate, adjust the height of the cutter at regular intervals. This will ensure that wear is evenly spread along the complete length of the cutting edges. To spread the wear in this way when trimming with a chamfer cutter, it will be necessary to use a larger ball-bearing which will change the point of wear.
The life of a trimming cutter can also be extended by trimming only 3mm in one pass. The use of an overlap trimmer to pre-trim the laminate to this margin will greatly help in prolonging itŐs life. By adopting this method the quality of finish will be improved.
     

Maintaining Cutter Edges

Maintaining Cutter Edges
  Maintaining cutter edges
Using blunt cutters will always result in a poor finish, overheating and add unnecessary stress to the cutting tool and router. The edges of a cutter must therefore be kept keen and sharp for all machining operations. When the edges have become dull, but before they become blunt, they can be honed back to a keen edge. This procedure will extend the life of the cutting edges extensively before a cutter may require professional re-sharpening. Once a cutter has became blunt, the cutter is best re-sharpened by a local saw doctor or sent back to the manufacturer (possibly via the sales outlet or agent) who in the case of quality cutters, should be expected to offer such a service.
     

Cutter Honing

Cutter Honing
  Cutter honing
Regular honing of a cutter will return a true sharp cutting edge to the tips. This should be carried out by honing on the flat face of the tip only. This will not alter the shape of the cutter or the relief and clearance angles. For HSS cutters, this can be carried out using standard oil stones such as India and Carborundum. Do remember though that these stones themselves wear quite easily and require regularly dressing to keep the grinding face flat and even. This applies to the honing of router cutters, as the wear tends to be concentrated on the edges, rather than across the width of the stone as with hand planes or chisel blades.
Cutter Honing
  Diamond Sharpening stones, offered by Trend, are very effective for honing router cutters in both tungsten carbide and HSS. For router cutters it is advisable to use the 600 grit (red) to maintain a fine smooth face. The 300 grit grade (blue) can also be used if necessary to bring an edge quickly to the cutter. Lubricate the stone with lapping fluid to lubricate and disperse the metal particles. However, do remember to dry the stone before storage. The stone can also be cleaned with a cleaning block. Hone the cutter using light strokes only as the diamond particles embedded in the stones nickel layer cut quickly. Remember to hone each face an equal number of times.
     

Cutter Re-Sharpening

Cutter Re-Sharpening
  Cutter re-sharpening
If the cutter is actually blunt or chipped then it should be resharpened professionally. The grinding procedure, to the flat face of the cutter, will remove the deepest chip, but may involve removing a good deal of the carbide. In certain cases the chips may be so deep that it is not feasible to grind the edge as the tungsten carbide would be left so thin as to make it dangerous. Alternatively re-grinding the profile of the cutter may enable the deep chips to be removed, but this will also necessitate the regrinding of the body of the cutter to ensure correct chip clearance and relief angles are maintained.
In many cases with less expensive small diameter cutters, it is possibly uneconomic to re-sharpen them. With poorer quality cutters, the carbide may not be fit for re-sharpening and there is the risk of the carbide cracking during the grinding operation. Under normal circumstances, it should be possible to re-sharpen professional grade cutters up to at least four times, depending on the type of cutter.
When purchasing cutters, in particular those with complex shapes, selecting quality professional grade cutters such as those in the Trend Professional Range will always prove a far better investment as they can be successfully sharpened many times over.
With shaped cutters which are chipped, sharpening will alter the profile of the cutter, the deeper the chip the more carbide will be removed by grinding. In most circumstances the change in the size of the profile or mould produced by the cutter will not be detectable, but where the dimensions of the mould are crucial, for example, if it is part of a jointing set, then a poor joint will be obtained. It is therefore advisable to supply the matching cutter for modification to match the pair. With arbor mounted jointing cutters, shims can be used to compensate for the thickness of tungsten carbide removed during the sharpening process.
When ball-bearing guided trimmers are sharpened, the sleeve on the ball-bearing may need to be reduced to the same diameter. Often the ball-bearing will require replacing with a smaller size which will require bushing to the correct diameter of the cutter. The extra cost of this should be born in mind. Your cutter supplier should be able to supply you with a standard price list for sharpening all types of cutter.
     
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