How do I prevent pins from chipping out while using a box joint jig

Q:

When using a box joint jig with a router table I'm getting the last couple of pins breaking off just as I rout them. The stock I'm using is 1/4" poplar. What am I doing wrong to cause this?

A:
Chip-out is a common (and annoying) problem. It is caused when the bit / blade tears rather than cuts. A sharp bit will help, but there are a couple of other things you can do to help prevent chip out.

I find that using a backing board is the most reliable solution. If you place a sacrificial board behind your work piece then any chip out will happen there instead of destroying your hard work. Depending on your setup you can clamp it in place or use double sided tape.

If, for some reason, that isn't practical, you can use masking tape to hold the fibers in place on the end of your workpiece. That doesn't always work though, so I recommend using the backing board.

Good luck and happy woodworking.

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