Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Wood Profits by Jim Morgan

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Crosshair Baseplate 1

Slotted Pilot Template 4

Boring Templates 6

Shelf Support Template 12


Router Duplicator 19


Trammel Baseplate Trick-Bag Baste 39

Vacuum Trammel 44


Vacuum Clamping 50


The Generic Baseplate 63


T-Square Trick-Bag Basic 69

Routing Straightedge 75

Fractionating Baseplate Trick-Bag Basic 81

Center-Finding Baseplate 85


Doweling Jig 89


Dowel-Making Fixture 97

Dowel-Turning Jig 102


Slot-Cutter Drawer Joinery 112


Offset Baseplate Trick-Bag Basic 1 1 5


Flush-Trimming Baseplate Trick-Bag Basic 119


Mortising Jig Trick-Bag Basic 124

Shop-Built Slot Mortiser 131

Template-Mortising 145


Custom Router Table Top 1 56

Universal Router Mounting Plate 163

Bit Opening Inserts I 73

Router Crank 1 77

Table Saw Extension Router Table 183

Horizontal Router Table 191

Bench-Top Router Table 203

Floor-Standing Router Table 212

Split Fence 237

Sleds 246

Featherboards 256


Surfacing Baseplate Trick-Bag Basic 264


Router Lathe 269


Jig-Making Materials and Hardware 298



Abracadabra! It's magic!

Kind of a hackneyed device, isn't it? It seemed good as I started this book projcct. But as I collected and refined the ideas and plans for the jigs and fixtures and gizmos in this book, I heard every putdown and jibe and smug joke the theme could evoke.

"Wooo! It's maagic."

But as the book nears completion, the theme still works for me. When I get into the shop and try out a new router gizmo I've made—and it WORKS!—well, there is a magical feeling to it.

But the "magic" theme goes beyond a self-satisfied feeling when I accomplish something in the shop. It acknowledges that a lot of the successes we all experience in woodworking stem just from knowing the trick.

There are three kinds of magic, in my mind.

1. illusion

2. sleight-of-hand

3. trickery

Illusion is simply ihM. Illusion. It's hocus-pocus. What you are seeing is not what's really happening.At the family picnic, Uncle Bud absolutely woivs the little kids by pulling off his thumb tip momentarily, then putting it back. It's just in the way he holds his hands, we older kids realize.

There's none of this hocus-pocus here, because I've kept the illusions out of Router Magic. It's just good, hardcore, down-to-earth, practical-as-dirt woodworking using a router.

Sleight-of-hand is common in woodworking. To me. sleight-of-hand is handling a taxing, intricate operation so quickly and fluidly that it seems easy. It's handling the task in a way that provokes the "How'd he do that!?" response. The way some woodworkers chop out dovetails qualifies as sleight-of-hand.

The catch with sleight-of-hand, and the reason 1 'vc left it out of Router Magic, is that it grows out of dedicated, almost obsessive practice. If you'd hand cut dovetails for a half-dozen drawers every working day for 25 or 30 years, you'd become adroit at it, too.

Trickery is what this book is all about. Trickery is simply executing a well-devised strategem, putting a gimmick to work, making use of a special device or apparatus. This is the foundation of both great magic and great woodworking.

Here's a trick, the sort you've seen performed on television by one flamboyant showman or another. He trusses up his young assistant, puts her in a wooden crate, then pushes it off the bridge into the river below. As the water closes over the crate, a limo pulls up.Thc showman turns, opens the back door, and helps his young assistant alight. And you say, "How d he do that!?" Let me assure you, it is a trick. If you know the trick, you don't need any special skills to replicate the performance. In this particular case, you need special equipment: twins.

What I've put in Router Magic is strictly trickery. And of course, the point is to tell you exactly what the gimmick is. While I do wrant you to be dazzled, 1 also want to you say, -Hey! I can do that!!"

Router Magic is a -whole bag of neat tricks for doing woodworking using a router. It's for the busy person who wants to know the tricks so he can cut to the chase, so she can get more done in less time. It's for the woodworker who already has a router and bits and uses them regularly in his or her woodworking. But Router Magic is also for the woodworker who has the router sitting on a shelf while he waits for it lo show off its much-toutcd versatility. If you fit this latter description, this is the book that'll turn you into a router wizard.

If you arc just starting out, for example, you may want to stop at the jigs and fixtures marked with die "Trick-Bag Basic" symbol.The symbol identifies the router accessories that my woodworking colleagues and I selected as the most useful for the average woodworker to have in his bag o* router tricks.

Trick-Bag Basic leaf through the book and take a look at these projects. You'll find them relatively quick and easy to build, often of scraps you already have in your shop. Let me emphasize here that this is not The Magic Router. It is NOT "neat stuff you can do with tliis incredible router from another galaxy!"Your standard router will do just fine for most of these jigs.

If you work through the b<x>k and stock your bag o' router tricks with just these basics, you'll begin to apprc-

dale the versatility of your router. Using the "Trick-Bag Basic" accessories, you'll be able to perform a significant range of operations.

With jigs like the T-Squarcs and the Fractionating Baseplate, you'll rout precisely positioned and sized dadoes, groDvcs, and rabbets.Thc multipurpose Surfacing Baseplate equips your router for planing lumber, forming tapers, even curing circles and shaping edges without the snipes caused by bobbles and tips of the muter. The Flush-Trimming Baseplate will help you to pare plugs and through tenons and to trim edge-banding.

I especially like the Trammel Baseplate because it is just such a great trammel. With it, you can cut disks (or holes) ranging in diameter from 1 inch up to about 24 inches. Believe me, this is a very handy range, especially on the low end. Cutting circles is one of the things that routers do best. This is a relatively small project—modest amount of material, only a few steps—but it will have a big impact on your woodworking.

Another of my trick-bag favorites is the Mortising Jig. Mortising is something that plunge routers do especially well. This jig is great because it is quite simple to make, it is solid and durable as the Rock of Gibraltar, and it is easy to use. Take five or ten minutes to set it up, then you can knexk out a mortisc-a-minute. And every mortise will be the same.

Beyond the "Trick-Bag Basics," you'll find a dozen or more solid accessories that enable you to use that router in different and certainly unexpected ways. The tricks you perform—boring holes, for example, or making dowels ar.d dowel joints—will make it clear to you just how versatile the router can be. And as you tackle these operations, your router know-how will become more advanced.

But maybe you feel you've already mastered the router. Perhaps you already use your router for the kinds of operations I've cited. Don't put the l>ook down yet, for I'd like to think that even a seasoned woodworker will discover new tricks and techniques in Router Magic.

You see, I picture this book as a magic workshop, a show for insiders, an opportunity for the performers to exchange information and ideas with an audience of their peers. You know, there's no better audience for a magic show than other magicians. Sure, the audience will know a lot of the tricks and will be able to pick apart a performance to figure out the other tricks. But magicians—like woodworkers—are always on the lookout for new twists, subtle improvements, and especially innovations.

In this light, a woodworker will look at a jig or fixture he or she sees and evaluate it. lias it been seen before? Does it WORK? Is it really better* Or just different? Does it have some flexibility, or arc its applications very specific? Is it something to keep in mind? Or something to be built straightaway?

You experienced w<x>dworkcrs should study each jig and fixture in this book with a critical eye. I certainly have, and so have my woodworking colleagues.

The ideas for these jigs, fixtures, and tricks come from a variety of sources. My job for the past year has been to find, develop, test, and fine-tune these devices. I not only looked in b<x>ks and magazines for ideas, 1 contacted woodworkers far and wide, looking for creative glimmers and bursts. The best of these projects, I think, were generated by a small circle of woodworking colleagues here at Rodalc Press. I'd say to a friend, "What if you wanted to use the router to... ?"And we'd turn the idea around and roll it over, and tickle its chin and kick its butt, stroke it a little and chase it around the block. I'd sketch a plan and build and try it. Often, I'd ask a respected colleague to come up with a prototype. There were collaborations, where one person would build a basic jig and others would offer suggestions for improvements and enhancements. I borrowed unabashedly. There are, after all, few ideas that the sun hasn't already shone upon.

In the end, I got a swell collection of magic apparatus and router tricks. Like a good magic show, Router Magic is a mixture of basic tricks and some unusual stunts. I openly admit, some of the jigs herein reprise old standards. You'll sec jigs and tricks here that you've seen elsewhere. But I think you'll embrace the approaches taken here; they are solid and no-nonsense. I've avoided screwing up a good jig just for the sake of making it a little different.

This is part of the book's emphasis on fundamentals.To pull off the advanced tricks, you have to have a mastery of the basics. So here and there in the book are chapters that examine fundamental router jig making."The Generic Baseplate" is a good example. About a dozen of the router fixtures in this book involve making a replacement baseplate for your router. The job is easy, but seldom as easy as mosi woodworking books make it seem. "The Generic Baseplate" details how to go about this essential work. And when 1 say it details how to do it, I mean it gives you ail the particulars.

Router Magic also focuses on contemporary materials and technologies. Knowing about modern materials and hardware (and where to get them) is important to a magician. Phenolic plastic. MDF. Toggle clamps. Easy-on-the-hands plastic knobs. And knowing about unusual technologies that are within the reach of the small-shop professional and the hobby woodworker is important, too. Using vacuum for clamping. Using forced-air flow to lift stuff and help you move it.

With all the stress on fundamentals and materials and technology, don't think this is stodgy stuff. In every good show, there's at least one extravaganza that positively rolls your socks down. And I've got three or four of 'em in here.

Look at the fifth chapter, "Router Duplicator." Maybe you've seen similar devices in woodworking catalogs. The idea is to create an object in wood—a carving, a sign, a hollowed seal, a shallow plate or lx>wl—through the parallel movements of the duplicator's two beams. As you "trace" a three-dimensional pattern with a stylus mounted on one beam, the second beam duplicates the movements of the first, causing the router mounted on it to reproduce the object being traced. It's a whiz-bang trick.

And to make it better, the Router Magic duplicator isn't trapped on rails or mounted on a stand. It literally floats on air. That IS magic!

Now you can buy a duplicator if you have enough money, or you can make the Router Magic duplicator for a remarkably modest amount of money and shop time. As with all the projects in Router Magic, the plans for building and using the duplicator arc detailed and tested.

(Let me note parenthetically that all of the project chapters include a list of the parts and the hardware you need for building the item in question. The construction directions are methodical and thorough. Lots of drawings and photos of pertinent procedures are included.The directions for using cadi jig or fixture are likewise thorough and sequential. I don't think you can go wrong.

Practical detail is a special characteristic of Router Magic. I get needled by my colleagues for being long-winded, and 1 am.But I'm trying to make sure I've explained the full intricacics of each project Often, when I read through woodworking books, 1 get frustrated by the missing pieces of information—those vital details and subtle nuances of technique that make the difference between success and frustration. I've tried to focus Router Magic on the gritty details chat make the real difference.)

A major portion of Router Magic is given over to router tables and router table accessories.This is an extravaganza of shop-made rabies and accessories, ranging from two different ways—one horizontal and one vertical—to mount the router to the table saw. through a variety of sleds and featherboards, to a nifty bench-top router table.

Let me talk some about the Bench-Top Router Table. While it may not stop the show for you, it may turn out later to have stolen it for you. In a small shop, this router table is great because it is compact and doesn't occupy its own piece of the floor. Set on a workbench, it is elevated above the standard working height, putting the action closer to you. It's very portable, so you can carry it to a remodeling site or a backyard job. I even incorporated three hand-grip openings in the base to make it easy to carry (or to hang on a stout nail for storage).

But three design features make this router table genuinely special.

First, it's designed around a small, fixed-base router, which a lot of hobby woodworkers have.

Second, you can install and retrieve the router from the tabic in ten seconds. In other words, the router isn't "tied up" when it's in this router table, which is invariably the ease with other router table designs. (As you know, you usually have to unscrew three or four screws, remove the router from the mounting plate, then reinstall the stock baseplate by redriving those three or four screws. Takes three to five minutes and a screwdriver.) A couple of toggle clamps hold the router underneath this router table's top. You don't even remove the stock baseplate to mount the router under the tabletop.

Third, a lift-top feature makes it super-easy to make bit changes and bit-height adjustments. This is a feature UNIQUE to shop-built router tables.

The real show-stopper Router Magic table is the fabulous Floor-Standing Router Table. It has the lift-top feature, a shop-made router adjustment crank, router bit storage,dust and chip collcction.and more.

All in all, these arc unique router tables. You can't buy anything like them ANYWHKRL!

Router Magic's bravura act has to be the Router Lathe. With this shopbuilt mechanism, you can "router-turn" posts and legs and spindles and finials with rings and coves and tapers. But its real specialty is spirals, which arc beyond the capabilities of even the most expensive lathes and the most skilled turners. You either cut these kinds of turnings on a device like this, or you carve them by hand.

If you want to buy one of these devices, you have two choices—an incredibly expensive industrial machine or a chcap-o-shoddy one. Our router lathe is quite easy to build using some bicycle sprockets and chain, some off-the-slielf bearings and gears, and some plywood. It's durable,flexible, and unique. No one has published plans for such a device. You may never build one, but it will be sure to grab your attention.

If ever there was a magical, gee-whiz router gizmo, this is it.

Before turning you loose in the shop, let me say that the first step to becoming a certified router wizard is to get that router off the shelf. Then you've got to fill diat bag o' router tricks. You can buy a lot of gizmos out of catalogs, but the sweetest, most fulfilling tricks arc those you create yourself.

So take this book into the shop and get busy.

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