Attempting to precisely machine hardwoods
presents a whole set of challenges not encountered when shaping metal. Unlike
most metals, all woods have definite grain directions and variable
densities that can significantly affect their cutting properties.
The finished quality of edges and sidewalls can change dramatically,
depending on the direction that the material is cut. Since the
fabrication of any practical component requires that the material be
machined from all directions, the burden is on the tool designer to
develop bits that will cut uniformly over a wide range of hardness,
abrasiveness, moisture content, and surface properties.
Problems encountered include top-edge
splintering, poor sidewall
definition, splitting, and imprecise dimensions of the finished part.
However, with the right equipment,
cutters, and procedures you can machine virtually any hardwood to
produce smooth inlay pockets and components of
remarkable accuracy and precision.
A thorough knowledge of the
characteristics of the wood you are working is crucial to the selection
of the correct cutting tools for and dialing in optimal machining
We have tested a variety of hardwoods
and have determined initial values for the most important cutting
parameters that should work with most CNC based routing / milling
systems. The woods are separated into 3 categories based on relative
hardness (Janka scale), the parameter that plays a dominant role in
determining machining properties. These initial values may be extended
as you gain more experience with a particular wood and refine the
requirements of your application. If a wood is not listed, try selecting
the closest fit from the list and test the cutting parameters on the
material you are working with.
This list will be expanded