Making a groove in a tight space

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Old 09-25-18, 11:26 PM
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Making a groove in a tight space

So I have horizontal beams with a gap of about 6 inches between them. I can not even fit a palm router in. I am going to install led strips, but want them recessed, so I really need the groove. Any thoughts on how I can achieve it? Whatever I do it with, I will need a guide to center myself across the width and something to limit my depth to keep it constant as well. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 09-25-18, 11:27 PM
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What about a circular saw?
 
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Old 09-26-18, 02:44 AM
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Where exactly will the LED strip go? Is removing the board, routing it out and reinstalling an option?
 
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Old 09-26-18, 03:02 AM
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How about just adding a strip on the outside edge? It doesn't look like it would make a difference what it looked like from the back, it appears solid?

Depends on the width/depth of the strips, but you could just add a 3/8 x 3/8 stip to the front.

You could probably do it with a router and multiple bits. Slightly larger diameter each pass would equal greater depth of the groove. Time consuming and expensive it would seem.
 
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Old 09-26-18, 03:43 AM
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Hand held circular saw that normally takes a 4.5" blade


but with a 2" mini chop saw blade


Actually, two blades and a spacer, so it cuts like a dado blade.
 
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Old 09-26-18, 06:37 AM
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I agree with Vic--just add a new strip of wood high enough o hide the LED strips. Install it flush to the existing board & paint to match so it'll blend in.

Otherwise--you'll save yourself a lot of headaches by just prying off the boards you want to groove and then run them over a router table or tablesaw with dado blade.
 
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Old 09-26-18, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by guy48065
add a new strip of wood high enough o hide the LED strips.
Quick note on that- water will run down the front and back sides of the slats to the new strip and into the LED lights.
You probably want 3 channels in the strip of wood #1 a dado center channel for the LED lights, and then a thin #2 front and #3 back groove to create a drip edge so that the water drips BEFORE it gets a chance to accumulate on (now) or in (in the future when the plastic sheath around the LEDs has cracked or weathered).
 
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Old 09-26-18, 11:25 AM
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I was assuming the LEDs would be UNDER the board....not on the top. For downlighting...not uplighting. On top they would be glaring into anyones eyes coming down the steps.
 
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Old 09-26-18, 04:01 PM
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You would use a palm router and a piloted t-slot bit or piloted rabbit bit (piloted means it is a bit that has a bearing on the bottom of it). The palm router will be held perpendicular to the face of the board, not straight up and down. The bearing will ride on the bottom edge of each board. The depth you adjust the bit to will determine if the cut is centered or not. You may need to make several passes to get the notch the right width.

The size of the bearing can be changed to incrementally change the depth of the dado that the bit makes.
 
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Old 09-26-18, 08:47 PM
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What X said, is what I was trying to say...'cept I know little about routers.
 
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Old 09-27-18, 05:55 PM
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Thank you for all the replies! I considered the saw option, but making the perfect cut with it might be a bit tricky. Was looking for a more simple approach. I did consider using a piece of trim to hide it, but that was more of a last option. I feel recessed will be the cleanest...
Removing them is a last option as well, I would very much rather keep them in place. Though it is something that I could still consider.
I was planning on putting them in a waterproof casing to protect them from the elements and to diffuse the light, so the water diverting grooves shouldn't be necessary, but good to note nevertheless!
I am facing them downwards of course
Using a router in the fashion Xsleeper mentioned sounds ideal!

Though are you referring to me putting the strip on the edge? Because I was thinking somewhere more to the middle (the front face of the wood being unchanged). Although having it on the edge would have its benefits I guess.
 
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Old 09-28-18, 06:52 AM
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There's a limit to how far away from the base of the router you can safely reach with a router bit. That said, I think routing a groove in the center of a "2-by" using a bearing-guided slot cutter should be possible.

One thing to watch for is that the bolt holding the bearing on the bit shaft doesn't hit anything along the BACK side of your horizontal boards. In the picture it looks like the fence has some sort of backing.
 
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