Carving has traditionally been the exclusive domain of artisans wielding hand tools. But, armed with a router and one of the jigs shown in this section, you can produce carvings similar to hand-wrought works.
Although most plunge bits can be used in router-caning, some cutters have specific applications. With their capacity for removing large quantities of waste, bowl bits, for example, are ideal for relief carving. A V-bit can be used for producing serifs in lettering, while veining and lettering bits, excel at creating the lines typical of incised letters. It is easiest to feed the router with a pulling
motion, rather than pushing it along, so set up your operations accordingly.
There are few hard and fast rules in carving, so it is a good idea to practice your cuts on scrap mater... >
Carved accents and ornamentation have been a feature of fine furniture for centuries. Traditionally, these details were etched with painstaking skill by master carvers wielding a battery of gouges, chisels and files. While a router cannot duplicate the finely detailed work of a skilled carver, it can still produce impressive results with far less effort and training. With the right setup and techniques you can use your
TAPERING A LEG
router to perform a variety of decorative cuts, from tapering legs and cutting flutes in quarter columns to shell carving. The flutes shown in the quarter column in the photo at left, for example, were cut in a cylinder wrhile it was still mounted on a lathe; the router was fixed to a simple jig that rides along the lathe bed... >
Making your own dowels provides for a great deal more flexibility in your woodworking projects than if you rely solely on commercial dowel stock. The principal advantage of custom-made dowels is that you can use any species—one that matches the surrounding wood or one that contrasts. Another benefit is that you can size the dowels precisely to suit your needs. The simple shop-built jig shown on page 118 describes how to use a router to transform square stock into dowels.
Woodworkers have been cutting wood threads for more than 2,000 years. The Romans used wooden screws
in presses for olive oil and for wine. For the modern woodworker, wood threads have more pedestrian uses— in screws and bolts to embellish furniture or in shop-made clamps and vises... >
Fastened to a box-like jig that rides along the bed of a lathe, the router shown at left plows a flute in a quarter column. For instructions on building and using this jig, refer to page 120.
COMMERCIAL JIGS AND ACCESSORIES
Lightweight enough to be used in freehand routing (page 134)
Converts a router into a fluting tool. As on a lathe, stock is mounted on the jig between centers; router is fastened to a metal platform. Turning the crank rotates the workpiece and moves router platform along a guide rail, enabling the cutter to shape the stock along its length. The height of the platform is adjustable to set cutting depth of bit
Some joint-making jigs go well beyond the merely functional and allow a router to create joints that give equal weight to decoration... >
(Combining enduring strength with an attractive apperance, the through dovetail is often used in fine furniture to join carcase corners. The half-blind version of the joint shown starting on page 108 is a good choice for assembling drawers because the drawer front conceals the end grain of the sides. Traditionally, the joint was cut using a handsaw and chisel, but many woodworkers now make it with a router. There are a raft of jigs on the market that, paired with a router, enable you to cut a variety of dovetail joints (page 88). But you can also make them by using the techniques shown in this section, producing both through and half-blind dovetails.
CUTTING THROUGH DOVETAILS ON A ROUTER TABLE
Marking the tails with a shop-made template
A dovetail joint consists of a tail board and a pin... >
Л laminate trimmer slides along a shop – built jig to rout a recess, or “pocket,” for a screw in the face frame rail shown at right. Pocket holes are commonly used with screws for joining face frame members or attaching a tabletop to its supporting rails. Because they recess the fasteners below the surface of the workpiece, pocket holes solve the problem of having to screw straight through 3- or 4-inch-wide stock;
they also conceal the fasteners. The jig shown, designed by Patrick Spielman, features a slot that allows a laminate trimmer to rout the screw recesses.
USING A SHOP-MADE JIG
Making the pocket-hole jig
Cut the jig body and fence from hardwood, then taper the top face of the body in a gentle concave curve, starting the cut 5 inches from one end... >
ROUTING A LOCK MITER
Making the cuts
Install a lock miter bit in your router and mount the tool in a table. Attach a notched auxiliary fence (page 90) and screw an extension board to the miter gauge. Set the bit height so the uppermost cutter is centered on the board end with the work – piece flat on the table. Position the fence so the bit will dado the stock without shortening it. Holding the workpiece against
the fence and the miter gauge extension, feed the stock into the bit (above, left). To cut the mating piece, clamp a guide block to it to ride along the top of the fence. Then feed the board on end into the cutter, keeping it flush against the fence with one hand while pushing it and the guide block forward with the other hand (above, right).
MAKING A MORTISE-AND-TENON WITH A ROUTE... >
Fitted with a three-wing slotting cutter and mounted in a commercial biscuit joiner attachment, a router cuts semicircular slots for wood biscuits. Glued into two mating slots, the biscuits form a strong and durable plate joint—without the expense of a plate joiner. You can also cut the same joint on a router table with a simple shop-made setup, as shown below and on the following page. In fact, a table-mounted router can cut all the same joints as a biscuit joiner, including edge-to-edge, edge-to-face, and end-to – face joints. One exception is an edge-to – face joint in the middle of a panel, such as would typically be needed to install fixed shelves in a bookcase.
ROUTING BISCUIT SLOTS
Plunging the workpiece into the bit
To rout biscuit slots for an end-to-face plate j... >
The corner half-lap joint is often used to assemble frames and doors. Adding dowels or screws to the joint provides an extra measure of strength. The joint can be cut on a table saw with a dado blade, but a router will do the job just as well. Do not try to make the cut freehand. This joint depends upon perfectly square shoulder cuts. Use a T-square like the one shown below to guide the router. If you are making many repeat cuts on boards that are the same size, take the time to build the jig shown on page 93.
ROUTING A CORNER HALF-LAP JOINT
Using a T-square jig
To rout half-laps with shoulders that are straight and square to the edges of the stock, use a T-square jig like the one shown at right... >
The double dado joint connects two dadoes, one dado on the inside face of one board and the other dado—with one tongue shortened—on the end of the mating piece. The joint is stronger than a standard through dado because it provides more gluing surface. It is an ideal choice for joining boards of different thicknesses, such as attaching a drawer front to the sides, and provides good resistance to tension and racking. The setup shown in the steps below and on the following page will join a 3/j-inch-thick drawer front to a 1/2-inch-thick drawer side. The three cuts can all be made with the same bit—a three-wing slotting cutter. In this case, a ‘/4-inch bit is used; the shim attached to the auxiliary fence is also Ч4 inch thick... >