Skill Builder: Hand Router
Goodbye, sweet KNOB.
First things first, let’s find some scrap material to practice on. Hey, you know that KNOB we spent countless hours building last semester? Turns out it doesn’t fit into your average NYC apartment, so let’s take it apart and use it for scrap. =*[
Safety first and second and last
The hand router is a scary tool. It can rip your heart out. – Resident Daveed Raphael
I’ve never actually used the hand router but I did once have a near-use experience. One time I asked Daveed for a hand-router demo but he was too busy to guide me. However, he did leave me with the sage advice above. Scared straight, I played it real safe: hair tied back, sleeves rolled up, full-face protection, AND ear protection.
Setting up a jig
Straight to making wheels with the circle jig.
Getting a feel for the giant jig. It’s a little big for small scrap, but good thing I have big scrap.
I’m thinking so much about safety that this dowel just looks way too short for this circle jig.
Dry run. I can already tell that cord management is a must.
I get a wheel, you get a wheel, everybody gets wheels!
Actually, I started off thinking I would build a game of Towers of Hanoi. However, I quickly abandoned that idea after I realized how big even the smallest wheels produced by the circle jig were. I could have made my own jig, but extra time just wasn’t in the cards this week.
First pass at a circle. A very un-aggressive ~1/4” depth route.
I tried to be smart in the first photo and cut similar depths for multiple wheels at once so that I didn’t have to adjust the hand router n times with every wheel. It didn’t feel very efficient after all, so I switched to completing one wheel at a time.
One wheel at a time seemed like the right process. Focused and safe.
The first wheel is subtracted.
Many wheels subtracted.
wheels wheels wheels. pancakes pancakes pancakes.
Let your heart do what it desires
such as… “hey that really wasn’t THAT scary, what if we try free-handing something?” People do it with the dremel all the time right?
Let’s pencil a heart with just enough curvature to make it interesting.
First pass at ~1/4” depth felt pretty good – hand router cuts well and line is easy to follow.
Second pass was a bit of a different story. Actually, I did this experiment because I was mostly curious if the hand router would sort of follow the path created by the first pass. Seemed to make sense if you think of the router as following a path of least resistance. However, it turns out the hand router doesn’t guide itself as much as I had hoped. That made the second pass a lot more difficult in that when I did stray from the cuts of the first pass, the hand router was cutting un-cut material at 1/2” depth. Verdict: lots of feedback cutting through wood 1/2” at a time, lots more hand recoil(?), not feeling very safe. 0/10 would not do again beyond one pass.
I still wanted to separate my heart from my raw material so I used the jigsaw. The jigsaw is your friend. We don’t use it enough. Quick, clean, safe.