Routers and routers…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like a Scientologist’s smile.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

No, but if you do buy cheap tools, you should expect to have to repair and improve them before you can use them…
You will notice dear reader that the title of this piece contains the word ‘router’ – twice in fact… Let’s get this sorted out before we get going with the story. It’s all about pronunciation. ‘Router’ is probably tied to the word ‘route’, or possibly ‘rout’. There, that’s confusing for a start! In Britain we pronounce the word ‘route’ as ‘root’, but sometime in the US they also pronounce it as ‘rowt’ to rhyme with ‘shout’, although I notice Chuck Berry does sing about ‘Root’ 66, not ‘Rowt‘ 66. Let’s go back to routers. The thing that squirts the internet around your house is, I think, usually a ‘rooter’, or is it a ‘rowter’ in the US? I don’t know, and I don’t really care.
Anyway, I’m not talking about that kind of router here – I’m on about the electric woodworking tool that goes by that name; it’s used for cutting decorative linear features and slots into timber (‘lumber’ in the US). I reckon that the word for the woodworking tool probably comes from the word ‘rout’, a military term meaning ‘a rather disappointing outcome’, rather than ‘route’, working out the prettiest roads to drive to the seaside.
So… My friend JJ asked me to make some wooden frames to stretch canvas over for her paintings – JJ is an artist, (but only a few weeks ago she claimed that she wasn’t…). In order to form the raised edges of the stretchers (a quadrant moulding – a quarter of a circle) for the canvas to be supported cleanly, I decided that I would use my router.

DSCN4121I’d always fancied having a ‘router table’ to mount my router on, and decided that this would be a very good time to buy one. They make the cutting more accurate and manageable than holding the jumping buzzing machine in your hands and pressing it against the wood.
Yes, this is where my opening paragraph comes in – I bought the cheapest one that I could find – a Clark CRT1 model from Machine Mart. It is quite good really, only some of it is made of plastic, and only some of the bolts are badly threaded and jam in the wing-nuts, and there are only one or two mystery items supplied which don’t appear in the parts list, and don’t seem to serve any purpose. Still, it was the cheapest one…
What I had to do: Well, I didn’t have to do these things, but I knew the table would be easier to use with them changed. Of, course once you have ‘tinkered’ with it you can’t take it back to the shop if it fails in any way – the term ‘Invalidation of the Warranty‘ hangs ominously in the air above one’s head as one gets one’s spanners (wrenches) and screwdrivers out. Me, I really am a daredevil!…
It had a little clear plastic dome which hinged out and covered the scary sharp-sharp whizzing cutting bit. A very good idea, I do approve of workshop safety, but when cutting wood you can see the shavings and dust collect inside the thing, it quickly fills it up, and then it refuses to retract back into its hole. I took the thing off!… Daredevil that I am! I don’t really think that I am at a much higher risk of injury as a result…
Wood shavings: Their route out of the cutting area, (originally via the aforementioned annoying plastic dome), for some reason seemed to be towards the back of the table, then, not out, but vertically up a short tube, and then out of a smallish round hole the back – a hole where one could attach a vacuum cleaner hose to do some sucking. If you choose not to bother with a vacuum cleaner, which is my choice, then the un-sucked internal bent tube quickly becomes choked with compacted shavings and dust, and you have to regularly poke it all out with a pencil. Doh!… I cut a new square hole in the back, daredevil that I am – it works very well now…
There were one or two other modifications needed too: The various plastic parts which are able slide about and have their position adjusted on the fence and the table top, and are held down with bolts and wing-nuts needed much larger washers to make them move more easily. Some bolts with a square on their shank at the head (coach bolts) were supposedly held firm for tightening by the slots in the yellow plastic parts –  no, the plastic just bent instead – still, it was fairly easily rectified.
So, now it is a very nice and useful item, and I really enjoyed fixing it…
Whoa… ‘Invalidation of Warranty!‘…

DSCN4117

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in art, brain, design, existentialism, Grumpiness, humour, information, jobs, painting, surrealism, words and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Routers and routers…

  1. Yesss, that’s exactly my style. The first thing I did when I bought a biscuit jointer about a decade ago was to mount it on a rig that fits in my bench vice. That way, I can whizz through a whole heap of components without having to [put wood in vice, pick up and switch on machine, cut slot, put down machine, change wood in vice….]
    You also remind me of my first home made router table with a Black and Decker router. The machine quickly failed so I toddled along to the B&D shop in George Street. He had a quick look and asked: “You HAVEN’T been using it upside down have you?” I had to explain rather forcefully the upside down is the right way up!

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