Issues cutting Poplar

I’m trying to do some pocket cuts in a piece of Poplar. I’m using a 1/4 in down cut bit using 30% crossover and a feed rate of 50 and it’s burning the wood. My Dewalt is between 1 & 2 on the speed. I tried to speed the feed rate up using PicSender but it didn’t make that much difference.

What settings and or Bit would be best for this kind of wood?


What is your depth of cut?

With a 1/4" downcut bit feedrate of 50 IPM and dewalt on 1.5ish should be fine. I usually do depth of cut for that about 0.08"

If your bit is now dark and discolored from burning the wood it may be very dull at this point.

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Fixed above…usually the recommended depth of cut is 1/2 the diameter of the bit…I usually go a bit under that.


I’ll have to check my settings on the shop computer when I go out there in a bit. That might be the issue but as soon as the bit hit the wood yesterday it blackened right up. I’m using Vcarve Pro and sending the code to PicSender.

The bit did blue up a bit so I’m not sure if its history now or not.

If the bit turned dark from burning the wood it is probably shot and you will have a hard time cutting wood with it now and the burning will just get worse no matter the settings.

I have definitely burned my share of bits getting everything dialed in.

Thanks for the reply’s. I just realized that the wood was Maple and not Poplar. I picked up both yesterday and was cutting the Maple.

I do them about the same speed and feeds…maple can be much harder (but not always) so play with feedrates.

Tried again with your recommended DOC and the bit is DOA! I found in my tool box a 1/4" upcut bit I bought from Harbor Freight and it’s cutting as I type this and not burning the wood. Thanks for the tips and now it’s time to get some new bits.

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Also, there is a huge difference between hard maple and soft maple. Soft maple is very similar to poplar and they can be easily mistaken for one another. They are about the same softness, weight, and heartwood color: white. But the sap wood of poplar will be grey or green while soft maple sapwood will usually have tints of pink. They also both have a fuzziness and are more difficult to have a polished finish.

Hard maple is much harder and heavier than the others and gives a much smoother finish.

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