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Avoid tear-out when routing

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Danger zones

General rules

Here are some general rules to help reduce the chances for tear-out:

  • Use a sharp bit. Dull bits chop at the wood rather than slice it cleanly.
  • Rout in 1/8"-deep increments to limit the amount of material being removed at one time.
  • Maintain a wide stance (feet at least shoulder-width apart) to avoid being caught off-balance.

Divide and conquer
Before putting the router to the wood, identify the tear-out-prone "danger zones" on your workpiece, as marked with chalk in photo. Routing these zones in a normal left-to-right (counterclockwise) direction increases your chances for tear-out. Instead, climb-cut the danger zones: right to left (clockwise) on outside edges, and left to right (counterclockwise) on interior edges.

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