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Unread 07-14-2011, 03:23 PM   #1
fingerlickin'
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Default Cutting a circle in butcher block?

I'm looking for some advice on how to cut a hole for my XL BGE in a piece of butcher block I got. My sister in law (new favorite) has a cousin who works at a local company who manufactures butcher block. Short version...I'm getting a 30" x 60" slab for $50. I thought that was a nice deal and would make an ideal top for my new BGE table.

I suppose I could use a jig saw but the top is 1 3/4" thick. I didn't know if that was too thick for a jig saw to handle and what type of blade do I use for hardwood?

I've also heard of using a router with a template and using multiple passes. I have a router but it's not a plunge router and do they even make a router bit long enough?

Oh, and the whole is 26 1/4 in diameter if that matters.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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A jig, or saber, saw will be fine to use and there are extra length blades available for thicker material such as your butcher block. What I've done in the past for such things is to rough cut the opening with a saber saw, then using a router and a jig, clean up the cut. Of course that was when making multiple pieces. Just the sabre saw and then finish with a sanding drum will give you a fine result.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 04:04 PM   #3
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You can use a router, attached to a thin piece of wood. The last circle jig I made, was out of a scrap piece of laminate flooring. You'll want to make the distance from the center screw, to the outside of your bit, 1/2 the distance of the hole diameter.

There are several companies who make long router bits. Check out Woodcraft.com.

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Unread 07-14-2011, 04:26 PM   #4
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I am a woodworker and I do stuff like this all the time. First get a thin piece of MDF or a good plywood and cut out your hole in it. This will be your pattern so do a good job smoothing it out until you are happy with it. Then use that as a guide pencil the hole onto your butcher block.

Then use a jig saw and rough out the hole as close as you can get to the line.

Then get some double sided carpet tape and attach the pattern over the hole.

Then using your router and one of these


use the pattern to clean up the hole. This actually is a picture of a 2 Inch pattern cutting bit.

Your hole will only be as good as the pattern so spend your time doing a good job on it.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyleach View Post
I am a woodworker and I do stuff like this all the time. First get a thin piece of MDF or a good plywood and cut out your hole in it. This will be your pattern so do a good job smoothing it out until you are happy with it. Then use that as a guide pencil the hole onto your butcher block.

Then use a jig saw and rough out the hole as close as you can get to the line.

Then get some double sided carpet tape and attach the pattern over the hole.

Then using your router and one of these


use the pattern to clean up the hole. This actually is a picture of a 2 Inch pattern cutting bit.

Your hole will only be as good as the pattern so spend your time doing a good job on it.
The perfect way to do it...

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Unread 07-14-2011, 05:15 PM   #6
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When I did mine, I made my mark, and used a drill every 6 inches or so. Then I went with a jig saw to connect the holes. I used a rasp to clean up the cut. If i could've found a router bit that was long enough at the time, I would've done that. It's think and dense wood.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 05:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyleach View Post

Then using your router and one of these


This actually is a picture of a 2 Inch pattern cutting bit.
Thanks Marty,

If I used a bit exactly like this one thought I would put the pattern on the bottom of the butcher block I assume. If I put the pattern on the top I believe I would want a "top bearing flush trim bit", right? At least 2" long cut length I would think.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fingerlickin' View Post
Thanks Marty,

If I used a bit exactly like this one thought I would put the pattern on the bottom of the butcher block I assume. If I put the pattern on the top I believe I would want a "top bearing flush trim bit", right? At least 2" long cut length I would think.
Correct. You can get the bits with the bearing either on the top or the bottom. 2 inches should be plenty for you.
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Unread 07-15-2011, 08:41 AM   #9
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If that butcher block is made of "Hard" maple then that will be some tough sledding...!

I make hard maple cutting boards for family and friends and if it is hard maple this is what I might suggest... (the circle template is how I would go...)

First, I would use a jigsaw and cut as close to your mark as you can and pay attention to the blade as this will be a long, deep cut... You may also scorch the wood but that's no big deal...

Second, router bits come in 1/4" and 1/2" shank. I don't think I would do this with 1/4"... To dangerous for my taste! I would use a 1/2" shank and do a small test to see how she acts to the wood e.g. use the scrap you just cut out of the table (keeping in mind, your going to want to keep this scrap to use as a cutting board...) You will probably get alot of smoke from scorching the wood but it is what it is... Clean it up with a round over bit...

My preferred way would be to use a circle cutting template to cut out the circle... http://www.southpointhawaii.com/include/pdf_files/cmp-plansnow-routerjig.pdf
and look at page two to understand if you don't... This, to me is the safest and probably the best way to do it. Taking you time and maybe with one or two bits you can get this done without damaging you tools or your body... Its important to support the table top and where your cutting so the blank/scrap does not just drop and bind up your bit... I would also do this with a 1/2" shank but 1/4" would probably work ok if done slow...

Now, if its made of pine then most of the above in null and void but I would still use the circle template...

Good luck and be safe...! lee

PS if it is hard maple (several names for hard maple as in rock maple) I would really like to know how it goes... and a FYI, you may already be aware as I have a BGE as well, Use the lid as a template and depending on how much larger you want the clearance to be (distance from BGE to table top) there are several ways to increase the size e.g. trace the BGE lid with a compass or my favorite is using some like a nut laying around the garage and putting the pencil where the threads are and trace around the lid...

Enough of my rambling... it will probably be made of hickory and split on the way home and you will end up using it to smoke with!!!
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Unread 07-15-2011, 09:52 AM   #10
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Festool jig saw circle cutter. Simple.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=18738


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Unread 07-15-2011, 10:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsorenson View Post

PS if it is hard maple (several names for hard maple as in rock maple) I would really like to know how it goes... and a FYI, you may already be aware as I have a BGE as well, Use the lid as a template and depending on how much larger you want the clearance to be (distance from BGE to table top) there are several ways to increase the size e.g. trace the BGE lid with a compass or my favorite is using some like a nut laying around the garage and putting the pencil where the threads are and trace around the lid...

Enough of my rambling... it will probably be made of hickory and split on the way home and you will end up using it to smoke with!!!

Thanks for the advice. I believe it's a hard maple top. It has a stamp on the back with 2 maple leafs on it. It's definitely a quality product from http://www.mapleblock.com/main/butch...ountertops-11/

As far as the diameter of the hole is concerned I am using the 26 1/4 measurement given on the XL BGE plans from BGE. Those plans are pretty weak but they give the size of the hole and the distance from the top of the counter to the bottom of the egg as 12 1/2. Of course I am skeptical of this so there is a store down the road with an XL sitting in a cart on a paving stone so I did some measurements and it seems to be right. I couldn't measure the opening because there is an egg sitting in it.

I don't think I can just trace the lid because of the spring hinge on the back. I would love to be able to mount the egg opening more flush with the top but it's not possible as far as I can tell.

With the lid open I measured up from the bottom of the egg 12 1/2 inches just to make sure there is no interference between the hinge and the table I then made a mark at about 8 places around the egg. To try and verify the diameter of the hole I then used some nylon clothes line (so it wouldn't stretch like string) and wrapped it around the egg and taped it on those marks. I then measured the line and the circumference came out just smaller than the circumference of the 26 1/4 measurement which is like 82.466 something. Off the top of my head I think the number I got was somewhere around 80 but I don't remember exactly. I figure the difference between the two will account for the gap between the hole and the egg once it's in the table.

Then there's how far down to mount the bottom shelf but I'll save my breath on that for now. You just have to take into account the thickness of the top and the paving stone.

I found it very difficult to find any reliable info on building a table for the XL BGE. Hopefully when I get done I can put together some sort of a useful plan for the next guy who wants to build one.

That's my plan anyway. If anyone who's built a table for one of these XL's wants to tell me I'm wrong I would love to hear it BEFORE I cut into this beautiful piece of wood!

Sorry to ramble but this Mo-Fo's been keeping me up at night. All I want to do is cook damn it!
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Unread 07-15-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdollar View Post
Festool jig saw circle cutter. Simple.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=18738


Chuck

That does look simple. Do you know if that jig will work with any jig saw or only a Festool? I guess I could call Rockler or Festool and ask. Until then I believe my plan is to use a jig and finish up with a router but I would love to not have to make a template if I don't have to. Time is one thing I'm short on.
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Unread 07-15-2011, 01:06 PM   #13
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I would call them. You will need some sort of circle cutter to make a template, unless you want to go to a lot of work. Being lazy, I like to do projects with the least effort required. Sometimes that requires buying a tool, but, a guy can't have too many tools, right?


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Unread 07-15-2011, 02:06 PM   #14
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OK so I guess I'm going to have to use a jig saw either way. Any advise on what kind of jig saw blade would work best. Is a 4" blade going to be long enough. I'm thinking 8-10 teeth, up cut.
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Unread 07-15-2011, 02:15 PM   #15
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Keep this in mind.
A deep cut with a thin jig saw blade tends to "walk" left or right on thick cuts.
This is caused by varying hardness as the blade goes through the wood.
Also, the basic flexibility of the blade itself.
What you see happening on the top is not necessarily what is happening throughout the wood.

May not matter--most of the cut is "out of sight" from the top.

Just a thought.

Gonna be great when you are done.

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