Break Out the Router, From Nick

As I mentioned in “Zen and the Art of Yarn Maintenance” we want to eliminate all square corners and edges on our swift.

Time to break out one of my favorite power tools! My Ryobi router. A router spins a bit at VERY high speed. In this case 25,000 RPM (That’s Revolutions per Minute for all you non-technical types).
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This bit is profiled in a shape that we want our edge carved in. A small rounded profile in this case (Technical name is a roundover bit). This will cut into the wood and leave the harsh edges with a slight roundness.

On the bottom of the bit (top in this view with the router upside down) there is a ball bearing. The bearing acts as a “stop” against the side of the wood once enough material is cut away. In other words, it’s fool-proof! But you know what they say, make something fool-proof and they’ll make a better fool.

Thinking back to 8th grade woodshop class there are 3 tips to successful edge routing.

Tip 1: Always feed the router against the direction of rotation (in this case the router bit spins clockwise). For some extra reading on this see: http://www.dekalbsaw.com/bitkickback.html
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Tip 2: When possible uses a scrap piece of wood under the router that is the same thickness as the item you are cutting (opposite side of the material you are cutting). This will prevent the router base from tilting by accident.

In this photo you see the arm we are rounding on the the left, and the scrap “helper” to the right.

Tip 3: Cut your profile in a few passes (2 or 3). This allows the bit and router to strain less. This will result in cleaner cuts and less sanding later. Sometime if you cut too fast or too much at one time you’ll see burn marks in your wood. Nothing that can’t be sanded away, but we might as well try to avoid them.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Of course it’s important to have your material clamped down securely. I break out a bunch of magnetic presses to keep things put. You can also use a rubber anti-skid mat for this. I’ve done that in the past with good results. But figured I’d give my magnetic clamps a try.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
While shopping at Eddie Bauer a few months ago with a VERY good friend I saw this incredible gadget. It’s called a Gorilla-Pod. All 3 leg of the tripod are flexible. Makes setting up angles very easy. And the legs can wrap around a tree or railing.
This allows my hands free to take a video of some router action.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Here’s a before of an edge:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
And after:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
And here’s an image of the arm junction. I routed these corners with the arms assembled. I’m happy with the results.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Then it’s time to attack the circles. Since we have two circles one acts as a helper while one gets cut. Since both circles were cut from the same piece of wood everything is very precise. As B.A. from the A-Team once said… I love it when a plan comes together…
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Here’s a before and after of the circle edges
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
And I could not resist placing the arms on the top circle to get an idea of how this will all look together. As Borat said… HIGH FIVE!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Next it’s time to situate the pegs…