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Thread: V-Carving Cedar

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Oshkosh, WI
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    64

    Default V-Carving Cedar

    WP_20150429_002.jpgWP_20150429_004.jpg

    I have been reading a ton of posts here regarding v-carving. I can get great turn outs with other woods but when I try cedar I still am not happy as you can see by the pictures. I am running 1.2ips @16,000rpms while using a 1/2" 90deg vbit with 1/2" shank. Any suggestions?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    North Plains, Oregon
    Posts
    468

    Default

    What you see is what you get. I've v-carved thousands of pieces of cedar and what you have is probably the average cut. Cedar varies so much from almost creamy that cuts very cleanly to very fibrous that tears and frays. Some things that help are a second cut at the same depth, some improvement by spraying shellac to crisp up the fibers and making a second same depth or .001 so deeper. Tight vertical grain cuts well and flat not so well. Your feeds and speeds are in the ballpark. Having a sharp bit is an absolute necessity.

    Rots a ruck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Diamond Lake, WA
    Posts
    1,596

    Default

    Agree with Donn.

    Cedar is not the most friendly wood when it comes to machining. Even machining on a router table with super sharp bits produces questionable results. Cedar is just to fibrous a wood to let it machine cleanly. The other option is to hand carve it and your carvings will be a little cleaner - but that defeats the purpose of having a CNC in the first place. :-(
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    gleason, wi 54435
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    427

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    It looks to me like you need to do some node editing (or maybe machine adjustment). The entire left side of the k seems to really wander. Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Timmins, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,824

    Default

    I am definitley NOT a sign maker... but I get asked several times a year to make cottage and rural property signs - which I use 1" or 2" Western red cedar for.

    I use Dimar insert carbide bits, and typically run 12,000 rpm, and feed speeds of 180 to 240 ipm. The cuts are generally very good IMO, but no waviness like you show (but some fuzzy parts that I just use a small brass bristle brush to clean up before painting).

    I just did a large (48" by 30") rural home sign that had a 3D log cabin carved in the center that I did with a 1/8th ball end, that carved much better than I expected.

    Cedar does vary so much in grain and density. I buy clear grade from my dealer (it is expensive) but I get 16' planks completely knot free and generally uniform, even grain. It wont hurt to start with a better grade of wood, but of course it adds to the cost.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Oshkosh, WI
    Posts
    64

    Default

    Thanks everyone, the machine is due for an overhaul so I will make sure everything is tight and setup properly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Terrace, BC, Canada
    Posts
    47

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    I use a lot of cedar in my work. I also get clears from my supplier (I'm in northern British Columbia - red cedar is like a weed around here.)

    When v-carving, I cut twice (at around 11K rpm, and 120 IPM). After the first carve, I soak the v-carving in shellac, then cut again. Occasionally, I'll soak it a second time, and carve a third time, at .001" deeper.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    109

    Default

    Roy,

    Where do you get your shellac from? I've found it increasing difficult to find shellac at the home centres in Calgary and area. I did finally find some denatured alcohol so that I can cut the shellac when I find it. I hate having to use methanol instead of denatured ethanol.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    gleason, wi 54435
    Posts
    427

    Default

    I think most home centers now sell premixed shellac rather than the flakes you cut with alcohol.

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