Machining Mahogany Questions---What to Use for Tooling
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    Default Machining Mahogany Questions---What to Use for Tooling

    I have a job coming up that includes machining some mahogany blocks....Has anyone machined wood? What kind of tooling should I be looking at? It will be squaring ups some 2" x 4" blocks and milling some steps and angle in them. Thanks

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    HSS or Carbide are both fine. 2 flute end mills work well. 3 flutes are good if chip removal allows. Dust collector is a biggie.

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    Has anyone machined wood
    Carpenters do it all the time.

    I've got a whole box of Ash bowl turning blocks here, for shipping blocks..

    Look at what carpenters use to cut wood.. Router bits and whatnot.. I usually
    use any old endmill I have on hand, something sharp, usually carbide, because
    that's what I have.

    Mahogany is pretty hard stuff, isn't it? So probably carbide, sharp, and then
    get busy..

    If you can cut metal, you can definitely cut wood.... I haven't done a ton of it,
    but it sure is easier than Inconel.

    Get the sawdust out of the machine ASAP!!!
    I shared a shop with a wood cutter, and after he made a bunch of fine sawdust that settled
    EVERYWHERE!!! the coolant would start stinking in a few days.

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    Get router bits made for wood, or end mills made for aluminum. Cutting tools must be sharp, new, not used before. It is not that hard but can make a dust that your system (body, lungs) may not like, like allergic reactions. Cut to make a chip on long grain. It has a grain and you must respect that, or blow out corners. Make all cuts with a vacuum hose collecting chips.

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    Sharp, 1 or 2 flutes, low helix. I've never used them on wood, but the specialty plastics end mills have extra relief and high rake angles to help clear the chips and reduce lifting forces. That should help to prevent splintering on the end grain. It may be necessary to sandwich the mahogany between something sacrificial to protect the corners.

    If there is a bunch of it to machine, I would lay some visqueen down inside the machine to collect the dust, then vacuum out after it's all done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by munruh View Post
    I have a job coming up that includes machining some mahogany blocks....Has anyone machined wood? What kind of tooling should I be looking at? It will be squaring ups some 2" x 4" blocks and milling some steps and angle in them. Thanks
    when facing use the largest face mill you can find or a fly cutter. Use inserts designed for aluminum. Let it run 5 to 7 krpm for 4" cutter. When milling features use end mils designed for aluminum, as others said, low helix 3/8" or 1/2" for large features and smaller for small. run the end mills at 20 krpm. Like a router. Rig up some sort of dust collection. HSS or carbide, makes little difference. use high feed rate cutting slow will leave burn marks.


    dee
    ;-D

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    Pay close attention to entry and exit of the cutter in regards to grain.
    Evan with a sharp tool you can pull the side out of a nice piece of wood.
    taping with a couple layers of the blue painters tape or sacrificial scrap wood will help to support the grain
    Can't add enough about what the sawdust does in a metal shop.
    Mahogany's not to bad, but some of the real exotics are lethal if dust is inhaled, and the residue after being on the way of a machine aint to pretty.

    If the parts are to kept clean, make sure your machine is dry above the cutting area.
    My manual mill drips a drop from the spindle ever so often, that would stain a clean piece of wood

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    I agree with all of the above points, but will add that compared to most milling cutters, wood router bits are dirt cheap, .....and you don't have to buy top of the range to get a good job out of them

    Bear in mind.

    1, 5000 ft / minute (yes 5 thousand! is about an average cutting speed for wood.

    2, If a cutter is leaving burn marks it's blunt or you are not pushing - feeding it hard enough.

    3, With 99% of woods, trying to work to +/- 0.002 (or some other inane tolerance ) is a complete waste of time, because it won't stay in tolerance for long !

    DUST, in a metal shop, cover every machine and worksurface that isn't being used with dust sheets, and on the machines you are using - dig out the chip trays etc, and cover them with sheets to stop the wood dust going in to coolant etc etc, ......and it makes chip disposal easier.

    AND ABOVE ALL, get yourself some sort of face mask (AKA ;- hooter filter ) even the 3M paper cup types are quite good, BUT some exotics are ''quite nasty'' in which case use a decent respirator or air flow mask etc etc

    FYI lotta data on machining and H&S here The Wood Database

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    Over the years the big west coast guys in guitars were customers of mine, Taylor, Tacoma (now Fender) and Warmoth. Guess what brand of CNC's they all use to cut wood? Fadals.... Another smaller startup bought a new Haas.

    I don't recall the first time I saw a Fadal in one of these shops, at least 20 years ago for sure. The machines hold up well cutting wood in spite of dust issues.

    I cut hardwood all the time on my CNC's. On the mill use quality brazed carbide wood router bits, on the lathe high positive aluminum inserts. IMO, the rigidity of metal cutting machines is the major factor in success.

    The picture shows a hard maple "turning" done on the mill. Climb cut gave an almost burnished finish.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails turning.jpg  

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    I cut wood occasionally on my Fadal but used to run routers. I mostly use LMT Onsrud carbide tooling- they have various geometries for different operations and wood types. Leitz is another quality brand- I think they are now LMT Onsrud's parent company. Both are not as cheap as Home Depot stuff, but this will give you better results than typical hand router tooling with brazed edges. You can buy direct from LMT Onsrud online or from a distributor. There is also speed and feed information on their site. Whiteside router bits might be a slightly cheaper and more available alternative- they cater to the hand/router table market but make high quality bits and are usually stocked by decent woodworking stores (non-HD/Lowes). As other people are saying in this thread, wood is not too picky about tooling but better tools will still give better results.

    I have also faced wood with my Maritool 2.5" face mill with the super sharp polished alu finishing inserts they sell. Gives very good results, even in some squirrely grain.

    I agree with those saying some kind of dust collection is necessary. I have rigged up a Festool portable dust collector to a loc-line vacuum tube mounted to the side of my spindle. While this does not completely remove all chips, it does cut way down on fine dust/particulates which I am more concerned about. It is also very easy to remove once I finish a wood job.

    Results with wood will depend on individual piece grain structure- mahogany is usually pretty straight and predictable.

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    There is a neat trick when you can't avoid cutting against the grain and even the best tools still leave fuzz, micro chipping or tear outs, especially on fine details. I spray a quick drying lacquer sanding sealer before the finishing pass. A coating of CA glue works too. Shellac is another product, but it has an extended drying time over the others. The final pass will remove all traces of the sealers.

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    I programmed for Jim Olson about 20 years ago:
    The FADAL | James A. Olson Guitars

    As has been said, inserts and solid carbide designed for aluminum and watch the grain.

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    Thanks everyone for all the replies.........I appreciate them. I'm having a bit of a time finding mahogany wood.....our local lumberyards don't have it.

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    depending on qty and species check ebay

    how many pieces do you need?

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    Quote Originally Posted by munruh View Post
    Thanks everyone for all the replies.........I appreciate them. I'm having a bit of a time finding mahogany wood.....our local lumberyards don't have it.
    If it isn't a twisted pine 2x4, my local lumber yard doesn't have it either.

    Search,

    "Bowl turning blocks"
    "turning blanks"
    "exotic wood blanks"

    Should pop up what you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by munruh View Post
    Thanks everyone for all the replies.........I appreciate them. I'm having a bit of a time finding mahogany wood.....our local lumberyards don't have it.
    Try somewhere like this http://www.metrohardwoodsinc.com/home.html (they list mahogany) ............. you need the specialist craft and furniture type supply houses.

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    I get my material from Liberty Hardwoods or Paxton Lumber in KC, there is also Cedar Creek in KC, but I have not purchased anything from them yet, they deliver on an open flatbed, seems screwy to me. Anyway, give those 2 a call and they should be able to deliver it to your shop unless you are too far west. I would also suggest talking to them about prepping the blanks for you, I know Paxton has planers and molders, not sure about a wide belt sander. If you can have them deliver it close to thickness at least it could save you alot of hassle if you aren't setup to do that.

    Finish to 2" thick will require 8/4 or most likely 10/4 thick material to start with. How much are you going to need?

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
    I get my material from Liberty Hardwoods or Paxton Lumber in KC, there is also Cedar Creek in KC, but I have not purchased anything from them yet, they deliver on an open flatbed, seems screwy to me. Anyway, give those 2 a call and they should be able to deliver it to your shop unless you are too far west. I would also suggest talking to them about prepping the blanks for you, I know Paxton has planers and molders, not sure about a wide belt sander. If you can have them deliver it close to thickness at least it could save you alot of hassle if you aren't setup to do that.

    Finish to 2" thick will require 8/4 or most likely 10/4 thick material to start with. How much are you going to need?

    Jason
    thanks everyohe......need about 300 inches total, but just a foot or so now for the prototype part.

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    If prototyping use whatever you have handy as most woods act same under machine.

    Glue up standard dimensional lumber and have at it.

    Year out will usually be more with soft woods d o you can practice order of operations and cut or tool paths with cheap wood then once figured out go for actual material.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk

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    The best for profiling would be a compression bit. It has an upcut spiral at the bottom .25" or so(dependent on diameter)and the rest of the flutes are a down cut. This helps avoid splintering on the top and bottom of the work piece. If you're pocketing go with just a downcut spiral. Go either two flutes or three(Three if you have enough chip evacuation). When changing directions to cutting across the grain try to avoid a sharp corner to avoid chipping(arc it in). As far as feeds and speeds go, if you're burning the material your rpms are to fast for your feed. Either kick up the feed or slow the speed.

    Onsrud and Nap Gladu bits have always worked well for me.


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