Wulf's Webden

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En Rout

So, that router I mentioned yesterday. This isn’t the networking device that helps directs packets of information; it is the woodworking power tool that sends sawdust flying but, if you get it right, gouges out beautiful and precise patterns. You’ve probably got some routed work in your home, such as the decorative moulding on a wooden picture frame or neatly cut joints holding your furniture together. It may have been done on an industrial scale machine but it is the same principle as the tool I got yesterday.

The particular project I have in mind is building some bookshelves for one of the rooms. That could all be done with hand tools but (after a bit more practice) the router should make it faster to cut the slots required and, with a suitable jig (guide frame) set up, much more precise. Some of that time I save can be invested in refinements to improve the design, make it more attractive or make it stronger.

For example, I’d like the option to adjust the shelves in future if I get a few books that are a bit too tall for my initial spacing or have a whole run that has a lot of wasted headroom. If I can bang out a precise slot in less than a minute, I can afford to cut multiple slots to provide for that flexibility. I can add decorative profiles to the edges rather than just gently rounding them off with a rasp and some sandpaper. I can also add refinements to increase strength, such as if I want to cut a slot on the underside of each shelf to glue in a reinforcing strip.

Lots of options although, before I start on the project itself, definitely some further practise – a router has the potential to be fun but is a tool, not a toy.

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