Safely First

An oft-ovcriooked router-table safety device is the toggle clamp. Many of the sleds we show in this book—the sled for coping cuts shown in the chapter "Frame and Panel Construction." for example. or the sleds for mortising and tenoning shown in the chapter "Monise-and-Tcnon Joints''—are equipped with toggle clamps.

These clamps are not just for looks. If you are doing cope cuts, for example, you need to clamp the workpiece! The reason Is that the rotation of the cutter will pull it in. If you allow that to happen, your router will act like a tree trimmer's chipper for a split second. Then something will probably break and go (lying across the mom. I don't want to be there when it happens, and neither do you.

Now. you may have strong fingers, and they may be strong enough to clench the workpiece sufficiently tight to prevent this disaster. But a toggle clamp is a strong, untiring device that's superior to fingers for the job. And unlike screw-action clamps of various kinds, toggle clamps are NOT inconvenient or time-consuming to use.

Toggle clamps are available in an intoxicating variety of styles and sizes. The style shown here—in two sizes—is well suited to use on a sled. I like the T-handle because it doubles as a sled handle: As you push the clamp handle to advance the sled, you are also pressing the clamp closed.

Several spindles and spindle accessories arc shown in the photo. I'd recommend that you replace the standard spindle with a slightly longer one and that you ditch the hex nuts used to adjust and lock the spindle. Use a check nut and a wing nut instead. The extra spindle length allows you to accommodate a greater range of workpiece thicknesses. The check nut-wing nut combination allows you to make adjustments without using wTcnchcs.

already-cut workpiccc on the bit. just as it was when you started the cut. Set the starting block gently against its trailing end and clamp the block to the fence. Advance the workpiece to the end-of-cut position. Place the stop block against the leading end of the workpiece, and clamp that block to the fence.

To cut your stopped groove now. you just have to set the piece against the starting block, drop it on the cuttcr, feed it till it hits the stop block, then tip it up off the bit (or swing it away from the fence and the bit). While stops usually make these kinds of cuts more sure—they take the error out of the operation—you do have to take enough care to get the stops set right. For myself, if I'm only doing a couplc of the cuts, I just eyeball it.

Small Work

Small work presents another challenge to the operator. First, you'll realize that after you've used your router table for a variety of jobs, the hole in the middle will be fairly large. The options that allow you to work small items without having them fall through the hole around the bit are presented in "Choking Up on the Bit" on page 97.

The next thing you'll realize is that routing really small pieces can put your fingers in dangerous proximity to the cutter. Even if you're "brave" (read "foolhardy") enough to go ahead and run the job, you'll find that your fingers get very stiff in a hurry due to the tension. They tend to get numb from the vibration, too. (Little picccs don't have enough mass to sit still.)

If the picccs arc fairly rectilinear, you may be able to hold them very

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment