The router is by far the most adaptable joint-making tool in the workshop. Numbers of com­mercial jigs and router bits have been developed over the years that enable the tool to produce many common joints, such as dovetails, box joints, and mortise-and-tenons, and perform other, not so common, operations. The jig shown in the photo at right, for example, relies on router-like cutting action to cut pocket holes. Although the jig can accomplish little else, it does the job of assembling face frames quickly and precisely. Other commercial router jigs are illustrated starting on page 88. Some of these devices are expensive, and if you plan only to make the occasional joint, you may be better off doing the work with hand tools...



1 Building the jig

The jig shown at left is ideal for routing rectangular grooves; it can also be fitted with templates for curved cuts. Rather than following the pattern with a piloted bit or a non-piloted bit and a template guide, you feed the router base plate along the jig’s inside edges. Saw the guides from l-by-2 stock and rout a groove і inch deep and wide along the inside edge of each one. Cut a two-shouldered tenon at one end of each guide to fit in the grooves and bore a pilot hole into the middle of each tenon for a %-inch-diameter hanger bolt. Screw the bolts in place, leaving the machine thread protruding to feed through the adjacent edge guide and lock with a washer and wing nut...



Vacuum damping is a reliable and simple way to fasten templates and workpieces together. The systems shown in this section of the chapter offer as much holding power as mechanical clamps and greater convenience with­

out risk of damage to the stock. The only requirement is that mating surfaces be flat and smooth.

There are two common vacuum­clamping systems. The venturi system (below) is relatively inexpensive to set
up, but you will need a compressor with */:-horsepower capable of delivering 60 to 80 PSI. The system shown on page 82 relies on a vacuum pump rated at 3 cubic feet per minute or higher. In either case, vacuum tape is fastened to both sides of a commercially available bench plate, which is capable of clamping on two sides...



1 Building the jig

A jig like the one shown at left will allow your router to cut hinge mortises quickly and accurately. To make the cuts, you will need to equip your router with a straight bit and a template guide. Build the template from a piece of ‘/t-inch plywood. Size it wide enough to support the router. Outline the hinge leaf on the template; increase the dimensions to compensate for the template guide and the thickness of the fence, which is also made from Vi-mch plywood. Cut out the template, then attach the fence with countersunk screws.


Routing the mortise

Secure the workpiece edge-up in a vise...




1 itted with a straight bit, a template guide, and a snap-on bushing, and guided by a shop-made template, a plunge router can plow a recess for an inlay quickly and accurately. The same setup can be used to trim the inlay to fit the recess perfectly. A wide range of inlays is available, from simple bands of exotic wood to elaborate marquetry pat­terns, as shown in the photo at right.

Routing the recess to the proper depth is one of the challenges of this opera­tion. For marquetry inlay, the recess should be only slightly deeper than the inlay thickness—typically ‘/* inch. If after gluing the inlay in place, it sits below the surrounding surface, you can sand the wood adjoining the inlay until the two surfaces are flush...




Using a template guide in a hand-held router

Remove the base plate from the router, insert the threaded part of the template guide through the opening in the middle of the sub-base (above, left), and screw on the locking ring to hold the two together. Choose a template guide whose diameter is as close to that of the bit as possible without touching its cutting edges. Reinstall the base plate onto the router, then prepare a template that is slightly smaller than the finished piece to com­pensate for the difference between the bit diameter and the
diameter of the template guide. Fasten the template atop the workpiece—in the example shown, double-sided tape was used—then clamp the assembly to a work surface...



Pattern routing is a precise and efficient method of creating multiple copies of a single contoured shape. The concept is easy to understand and the technique simple to execute: Once a template of the desired pattern is shaped and fastened to the workpiece, the router is guided by the cutout shape to replicate the design on the workpiece.

The two main ways of pat­tern routing are described start­ing on page 62. If you are using non-pUoted bits, you need to fasten a template guide to your router’s base plate and make your template slightly larger than the finished size. This compensates for the difference in diameters between the bit and the template guide...



A router table’s versatility is limited only by your creativity and the selection of bits in your shop. Many complex shapes and profiles can be molded on a router table by using two or more cutters in succession. As shown below, you can shape a handrail using two different bits. With a panel-raising bit (page 54) and a set of cope-and-stick cutters (page 57), you can make an arched door panel on the router table, and then produce attractive joinery to hold the door frame together.

There are some limitations on the work you can do on a router table, most governed by the bit size. Some cutters are too large for smaller routers to han­dle safely...



Turning at speeds of up to 20,000 rpm, a router can be an intimi­dating tool—and a dangerous one, if it is used carelessly. This section will show you how to build and use several devices that can make your router table work safer.

Spinning router bits look deceptive­ly harmless. Because their outside edges are almost invisible when the router is turning, bits can seem to be smaller than they actually are. To shield your hands from being nicked by a spinning bit, always use a bit guard that extends over the cutter. Two types—a fence-mount­ed guard and a freestanding version— are shown on page 51. Although you can make bit guards entirely from wood, using clear acrylic plastic or polycar­bonate will allow you to view the cut­ting action.

The dangers of wood dust and chips are les...





Gluing the plastic laminate to the top

Start the project by building the leg-and-rail assembly, referring to the anatomy illustrations on pages 38 and 39 for suggested dimensions and joinery. Then, cut the top to size and set it on the assembly. Cut two sheets of ‘/6-inch plastic laminate a few inches larger than the top. Working outdoors, or in a well-ventilated area indoors, apply contact cement to one side of the top and one of the plastic sheets. Let the adhesive dry following the manufacturer’s directions. Since it will be impossible to reposition the plastic once it contacts the top, use the method shown above to bond the laminate in place...