Installing non-cylindrical lock hardware requires varying configurations for the door face and edge openings, as well as the jamb openings. For many years, locksmiths would use drills, jig saws, files (metal/aluminum) and chisels (wood) to prepare the openings for lock hardware. With the...
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Router cutters are designed for specific applications. There are wood cutters, aluminum cutters, and metal cutters. For most applications, locksmiths will route openings through solid wood and varying thicknesses of aluminum. Contact the template manufacturer, and use the cutters they recommend. This will ensure the best possible results.
Before using a router, check:
- To make sure the cutting edges are sharp. If not replace or re-sharpen.
- To make sure the shank is straight. Bent shanks can cause the cutter to run "out of true".
- To make sure the cutter is clean. Remove all trace of glue, resin, sawdust etc.
Router Cutter Installation
Always insert at least three-quarters of the cutter shank into the collet and securely tighten. If not, when operating, the cutter may flex excessively, resulting in a poor edge or even worse, the cutter coming out of the collet.
Suggestion: When routing an opening into metal or aluminum, dip the router cutter into the tapping fluid or use a small brush to coat the cutter. In addition, brush the tapping fluid onto the metal or aluminum surface being cut. Tapping fluid reduces the friction, keeping the cutter cooler and extending its life. Router cutter tapping fluid can be purchased at most hardware stores. Read the label for the proper tapping fluid for the material being cut.
A tip: When setting the depth for routing a strike plate, place two strike plates onto a flat surface. Place the template onto the two strike plates. Place the router onto the template. Lower the cutter until the tip just touches the surface the two strike plates are resting on. This sets the exact depth for the router cutter to cut a clean strike plate opening into a wooden jamb.
Here are some basic rules to follow:
- Wear ear and eye protection.
- Unplug the router before making any adjustments.
- Cut in a clockwise direction.
- Adjust the cutter so only 1/8" to 1/4" extends beyond the metal or aluminum lower cutting surface.
- Feeding the router too fast or with too much cutting depth can splinter the wood. Wood will show burn marks.
- Use multiple passes for depths of cut greater than 1/4" especially in hard woods.
- Never reverse direction when operating a router. You can always make a second pass over the area.
- Wait until the cutter stops turning completely before removing the router from the template.
- Make a second pass to ensure a clean installation.
- Check the opening. Use a brush or rag to remove any chips or debris from the opening.
- Use a coarse, flat bastard file to square the frame corners to accommodate the strike lip.
Operating The Router
The secret to successful routing is selecting the proper rate-of-feed. Clean, smooth routing is the result of cleanly removing small amounts of material with the cutter rotating at a fast speed.
If the cutter is forced to travel too fast, the speed will slow, and larger amounts of material will be removed. The result is a rougher finished or damaged product, with the possibilities of dulling or damaging the cutter. A too fast rate-of-speed will produce a slowing of the motor, and the material cut will become bigger and bigger.
If the cutter is forced to travel too slow, it may not create a continuous pattern of cuts. Instead, the cutter may scrape away along the edge of the material. Scraping produces heat, which can damage the material and the cutter. In addition, moving the router too slow makes it more difficult to control. A too slow rate-of-feed can be heard and felt. The motor will have a very high pitched sound, and the router will jolt between cuts.
At the proper rate-of-feed for the router, cutter, and material, the motor will maintain a constant speed, the material removed will remain a uniform chip size, and the router will slide smoothly across the work surface.
Note: Routers are not designed to create square corners. If the lock hardware being installed requires squared corners, use a chisel, file or corner punch to create the square corner.
Routers normally need little maintenance. Keep the air vent holes of the motor unobstructed to prevent the motor from overheating. Keep sawdust away from the inside of the motor; sparks from the motor can ignite the dust.