Introduction

Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Jim Morgan's Wood Profits

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The rouicr is woodworkings most versatile power tool. You can use it in just about every aspect of a job but assembly (it won't drive nails or screws). In the extreme, used creatively, it'll do almost any kind of cutting and shaping of wood. You can use it to prepare rough-cut lumber for a project, shape the pieces, cut the joinery, and embellish the finished assembly with decorative edge profiles. Though configured by manufacturers as a portable tool, one that you hold in your hands and pass over the work, it's just about the only portable tool that can sensibly be mounted and used as a stationary tool.

Not ever)' woodworker has a router, but most do. An increasing number of them are aware of all the terrific things you can do with a router A hal f-dozen or more books on router woodworking are available. Every woodworking magazine has articles about router woodworking. Tool catalogs are loaded with routers, bits, and all sorts of router jigs and fixtures. At every woodworking show, there's at least one person demonstrating novel router uses—and selling gizmos so you can make your router do the same jobs.

Fred and I want you to be more than aware. Get out there and try that router in new applications. You may discover that the old way isn't the best way.

This book will be your basic router woodworking manual. It tells how to do all sorts of woodworking operations using the router. There are jobs that can be done only with a router—edge treatments and template-guided work, to name two. Other jobs—cutting curves, most joiner)' work—can be done exceptionally well with a router, though there are other options. And finally, in some situations, the router wouldn't be your first-choice tool for the job—we're willing to concede that. But the router may be a reasonable alternative.

The "whys" lead to the "hows." How to do a job may be easier to assimilate i f you grasp why it's being done a certain way And knowing why may lead you to another way that's better for you—maybe better period. Which leads us to the next point.

In all these situations, there's always more than one way to do a given thing. Fred and 1 have tried pretty conscientiously to find more than one way to do every operation we talk about in this book (more than one router-oriented approach, that is). For example, a plunge router may make an operation simple. We explain how. But not everyone has a plunge router, so we explain how to do the job with a fixed-base router, too (if that's possible). And finally, you may want to try doing the very same operation on a router table, so how to do that is covered as well.

Though the opening chapter is on routers and is followed by one on bits. Woodworking with the Router isn't really a shopping guide. What we are trying to do is open your eyes to the variety of routers available and to features and configurations that you may not know about. Instead of telling you what jigs to buy. we show you what jigs to maJtc. A jig may be as simple as an oversized baseplate, but it's never more complex than an adjustable trammel. Sure, you can open your wallet and buy a lot of these jigs, but why buy a jig if you can make it. (It's always seemed odd that folks who consider themselves to be woodworkers would buy items they can easily—and more economically—make themselves.)

Our projects include several different router tables, including one in which the router is mounted horizontally. It offers an "angle of attack" that makes some jobs easier to perform than they would be on a regular router table. To increase the value of any router table you make, we have a range of accessories—bit guards, fences, sleds (which are like your table saw's miter gauge), and a variety of hold-downs and guides. Most are surprisingly easy to make.

Is all this information original? Of course not. Cutting a dado is cutting a dado. Sometimes the best techniques are the tried-and-true ones.

What is original, you'll find, is the logical, thorough, in-depth presentation. For this to be a basic operating manual, it's got to cover those solid, traditional techniques, as well as the exciting, new derivations. Likewise, the information must be easy to find, complete, and clearly presented. It's got to be down-to-earth and practical. When you've got a question, when you can't remember an operation's exact sequence of steps, you want to be able to flip to the proper page without thumbing through the entire book. You need to be confident that the operation is covered, and that it's covered thoroughly and understandably, and that what's being presented isn't some speculation, however well-intentioned.

INTRODUCTION

Frank Brien Photography

(Left to right) Bill, Fred, photographer Mitch Mandel, booh designer Jerry O'Brien, and illustrator Frank Rohrbach.

A basic operating manual is exactly what we were trying to produce here, a systematic, thorough guidebook to router woodworking. So we've included an index and cross-references. Cutting laps is a lot like anting tenons, for example, so you'll find cross-references from one chapter to another where such references are pertinent.

Whether we've invented a technique or not. we've tried it in the woodworking shop. Thanks to the cooperation and generosity of router and bit manufacturers, we've been able to prove out our techniques using a simply capital assortment of routers and bits. And we had a ready supply of criticism and advice, as well as an abundance of suggestions, from our woodworking colleagues. There's nothing in here that we aren't confident about, nothing that we haven't successfully done. What's here is not the sum total of what we tried, of course. We left out techniques that proved to be problematic, excessively involved, too specialized, or simply hazardous.

What you will find is the distillation: Bill and Fred's most excellent router techniques.

The Authorial Team_

Bill Hylton has been writing and editing woodworking books for 20 years. He is the author of Build It Better Yourself, as well as the backyard building books Projects for Outdoor Living and Outdoor Furniture.

Fred Mat lack has been building projects for magazines and books for 12 years. He has designed and constructed hundreds of projects, ranging from solar food dryers to toys to antique reproductions.

Frank Rohrbach created Woodworking with the Router's countless illustrations. A longtime draftsman. Frank illustrated Jigs, Fixtures, and Setups, Outdoor Furniture, and other books. He is a regular contributor to American Woodworker magazine.

Mitch Mandel took the photos in Woodworking with the Router. A photographer for more than 12 years, Mitch is an avid and accomplished woodworker. He is a contributing writer and photographer for American Woodworker magazine.

(Left to right) Bill, Fred, photographer Mitch Mandel, booh designer Jerry O'Brien, and illustrator Frank Rohrbach.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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