Wipe Out Chip-Out
The best way to avoid chip-out when routing an edge profile is to make several shallow cuts, rather than cutting the finished shape in one massive, wood-chewing pass. If you're working on the end grain of a solid board or a rail-and-stile assembly, which also requires you to handle some end grain, clamp a backer board alongside the end grain, as in Photo C.
Or, rout the edges that include end grain first, then do the ones that are all edge grain. That way, if you knock some slivers loose while pushing across the end grain, you'll clean up that spot with the edge-grain pass.
If your workpiece displays a tendency to splinter when you begin routing an edge profile, it's time for climb-cutting. This can be a tricky operation, so exercise extra caution. Here's how it works.
Typically, you rout an edge profile by pushing the router forward with the workpiece to your left. Because the bit spins clockwise, this action pushes the cutting edge into the wood. To climb-cut, keep the workpiece at your left, but start the router at the far end of the cut and pull it toward you, as in Photo D. Now the bit's cutting action pulls the grain down, instead of lifting it up, and that reduces the likelihood of chip-out.
The router thrusts toward you when you climb-cut, so clamp the workpiece securely, take a balanced stance, grip the router firmly with both hands, and make light cuts. Remove no more than 1/8" of stock per pass when using small bits and only about 1/16" with larger ones. Don't climb-cut with bits over 2" in diameter, which create a tremendous amount of torque. Don't make climb cuts on the router table, either, where the workpiece is likely to shoot out of your grasp.
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