Anyone _not_ like routers?

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Lots of folks here have a router in their pocket, a router on their tool belt, a router in their backpack, a router in the table, and a spare router under the bench.
Many of you just seem to absolutely *love* these things.
I just cut my first dovetails today. I did them by hand, with an X-acto razor saw. They came out pretty well, considering it was my first try, and it occurs to me that I have no desire to buy the jig and the bit and futz around with the setup in order to save myself time by doing these with a machine some day.
I'm finding the more I do with chisels and hand planes, the less I'm interested in using a router to do things. I've never used my router for much anyway. It's a bad router, granted, but even if it didn't have the problems it does, I don't think I'd like it. Seems like you have to spend forever changing bits, changing depths, changing bases, setting up templates or jigs or hold-downs or fences or some damn thing in order to use the thing for three minutes and save yourself a little physical labor.
True, I do this all the time on the drill press. I spend 15 minutes changing the setup to make one hole in one piece sometimes, then turn around and do it again. I love playing with my drill press, and I don't mind the setup time. Yet when faced with the same problem on another machine, I can rarely be bothered to get it out and futz with it. My router table usually serves as a temporary holding area for stuff I need to put away. It's totally paradoxical.
Am I nuts? How is it that this most marvelous and alluring tool does not excite me?
Just wondering if I'm the only one, I guess.
I think I'm turning into a Neander.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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That's because it's such a flexible tool. It's not always the best tool for a given job, but if you don't happen to own the best took for your job, there's a pretty good chance that a router can fill in. And there are some jobs that a router does better than any other tool. But because it's such a flexible tool, it's often necessary to build jigs that adapt it to a task, perhaps by holding it in a fixed position or by limiting it's motion to a particular range.

That's great! I doubt anyone here would laugh at you for spending the time to learn to cut dovetails by hand. It's absolutely a good skill to have, and if you continue to develop that skill it'll serve you well. Likewise, cutting dovetails with a router is a good skill to have, and one that requires a certain amount of practice. It may not be important for the work that you choose, and that's fine. On the other hand, if you needed to build a kitchen full of cabinets including a dozen or two drawers, being skilled with router and dovetail jig would be very important. It's not that you couldn't do them by hand, just that you could do them faster and cheaper with router and jig.

That sounds a little self-defeating. You've never really learned to use your router, and yet you don't think you'd like it? A router is like any other tool, from a table saw to a hand plane... you need to understand it, and you need to think about how to use it efficiently. Ideally, you want to set up for a job once, and then cut every part of your project that needs that setup at the same time. This will not only speed your work, but make it more accurate as well. (The same goes for any tool, particularly the table saw.)
You also need to get to know your particular router. Example: I've heard people complain that it's very difficult to remove the motor from a Porter Cable 693 plunge base because it's so hard to remove the little allen screw that tightens the base around the motor. Well, it sure is difficult to remove that screw, but you're not supposed to remove it. You just loosen it, and the motor slides right out. There's no need to make life difficult by not bothering to understand your tool.
Now, maybe your router really is a crappy one that performs badly and is difficult to use. If that's the case, don't fall into the trap of thinking that all routers are equally disappointing. But before you discount it, spend some time thinking about the problems you have with it and whether there might be good solutions, or whether they really are inherent in the machine. If the latter, sell it and go get a demo of a better model.

So there's another self-defeating behavior. You don't use your router table because it's "too much bother," yet you make it too much bother by making it difficult to get to. Honestly, putting a bit in your router and setting the bit depth shouldn't take more than two or three minutes, even on a two-wrench model like the PC 690.
Also, as with any tool, keep in mind that time you spend in setting up an operation ensures that you do the job right. And again, a lot of the payoff for the time you spend setting up comes when you can easily and accurately repeat the operation using the same setup for multiple workpieces. If I'm making box joints on either the table saw or the router table, I usually take more time setting up than I do cutting both ends of all four sides of the box. Overall, I end up saving time and doing a better job compared to what I personally am able to achieve with a hand saw.

Sounds like a matter of personal preference combined with lack of training and possibly a cheap tool. If you're interested in giving the router a chance, pick up a book such as "Woodworking With the Router: Professional Router Techniques and Jigs Any Woodworker Can Use" by Hylton and Matlack.
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Caleb Strockbine wrote:

Faster maybe. Cheaper is a hard case to make, since I'm already cutting dovetails without buying anything new. I'll get better at it, so I expect to waste a lot less wood in the future. :)
I take your meaning though, and I'd probably feel differently if I were working on a huge project with lots of similar parts, or if my shop time had any monetary value.

Well, that's not quite right. I've never really *bothered* to use my router. It's slightly different. I tried a lot of things when I first got it, and I have several of those "50,000,001 Inspiring Router Ideas" books, but over the course of time the thing has definitely collected more sawdust than it has made, and most of the "inspiring" ideas have gone untried.
I won't say I mastered any of the techniques, but neither did I do such a bad job that I was disappointed and discouraged beyond hope. A better router would definitely make some things easier, but I keep pushing it to the bottom of my priority list. It isn't really defeat so much as ambivalence. I find I don't really care whether I get a better router some day or not. There's just not much allure there.
I guess that's what it comes down to. For a one-off, or a two-off, the router is more of a PITA than it's worth to me. The jigs, the setup, the noise, the mess. (A DC is something else on the list ahead of a new router.)
I don't mass-produce things, don't make *big* things, and repeatability is no big concern. Everything is a one-off, and I'm not in a hurry. My shop time is a lot more relaxing and enjoyable when I don't flip on the banshee.

Nah, it isn't that. I have stuff there because I rarely use it, not the other way around. All of my horizontal surfaces become item collectors at some point. The difference with the router is I almost never have a need to move stuff off of it.
Anyway, I'm not really looking to figure out what's "wrong" with me. I'm comfortable being me. I've just been mulling over some thoughts, and I was wondering if I'm the only one to realize one day that he doesn't find routers particularly magical.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 01:07:02 -0400, Silvan
I love mine. Spends most of its time in the table.
These http://www.livejournal.com/users/quercus/29910.html#cutid1 are just three layers of stacked MDF, bandsawn to a profile and then run over a chamfer bit. Easy to do, and most of all - quick !

Congratulations. I don't use a router for mine, I hand cut them.
The dovetail isn't the appropriate joint for most purposes. It's slow to cut (biscuits are quickest), not as strong as a finger joint with modern adhesives, and awkward to assemble. However they're still the signature joint for quality work, and they'll hold together in 100 years, after hide glue has failed.
So if you're going to do dovetails, do good ones ! Get the proprotions to be attractive, and that still means hand-cutting them.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Beautiful gothic arches! Could I have some of the plans or source material for it? I wanted to build some into a baby's crib for my baby-to-be instead of prison-bars slats.
Hasan
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On Wed, 22 Oct 2003 22:34:03 GMT, Hasdrubal Hamilcar

Thanks, I'll see what I can do. -- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Anything'll be fine, even a source for a picture you found useful.
I am wondering what wood to use on the crib slats (for the side railing). I would love to use Balsa. Is it very expensive in Canada?
thanks, Hasan
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On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 01:07:02 -0400, Silvan

I think you just haven't found a legitimate use for it yet. Next to my table saw and drills, its probably the power tool I use most often. I actually have 3 of them...if ya wanna call my RotoZips true routers.
I don't do anything elaborate with them...roundovers, etc. And the one in the table very seldom comes out. But I wouldn't wanna be without mine.
Spend a day with yours...and just experiment. Don't do anything productive. Just cut a sample with every bit you have...find out how to fine adjust it, etc. Get a coupla books from the library before you start...maybe with some small projects in them
Then just spend a leisure day putzing.
Its not a must-have tool for everybody. But, yes...I love mine! lol
Have a nice week...
Trent
Certified breast self-exam subcontractor.
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I like routers better in the router table--less noise, less dust. I use them for round-overs, cutting dutchmen, hinge mortising, or decorative moldings. I used to make dovetail joints with routers, but now I prefer cutting dovetails by hand.
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brocpuffs wrote:

I'm thinking about getting a shaper. I don't use my router for any of the things a router can do that a shaper can't, and I think a shaper would be a better shaper than a router.
It's still really low down though. Need a replacement sander, then a bandsaw, then maybe a router or shaper, maybe, but probably not. There will be something else in between. There always is.
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Silvan wrote:
<snip>

It sounds like your woodworking may be as much about the journey as the destination. If you truly enjoy the process of woodowrking, your projects will as enjoyable to do as hey are to complete.
The whole Generation X expectation of immediate gratification, combined with equipment manufacturers pushing the sale of hardware, has made turning out projects more important than actually working on them. At some point you will decide which show you like better:T he Woodright's Shop or The New Yankee Workshop...
Tim
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The Guy wrote:

There's definitely something to that.
I could sit here for an hour thinking out loud, but I guess I'll spare everyone. In the end, I can leave all the self analysis at the door and just consider that if I'm content, that's really all I need to worry about. :)

I used to watch both when I watched them, but that was many years before I ever touched a tool or a piece of wood that wasn't bound for the fireplace. I don't think I've seen either show since I got out of high school.
I've always admired Roy, but I don't quite want to give up *all* power. For one thing, I've just ordered a lathe, and I really do want to get a bandsaw soon.
I could resaw these oak 6x6s with a hand saw for less money, but I guess I'm not *that* much of a Neander. At least not yet...
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snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net says...

I have no objection to power tools, use them all the time, but I find myself shying away from the router unless there is no viable alternative. And then I'll almost always opt for the router table rather than handheld.
I guess that spinning bit attached to a heavy weight and guided only by my two hands just strikes me as the most dangerous tool in the shop. I can't drop my table saw :-).
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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Now you just hit on a marvelous idea! Why CAN't we do dovetails on a drill press?
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 01:07:02 -0400, Silvan

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wrote:

router
and
spend
labor.
to
Anything less than a industrial strength drill press will have their bearings destroyed in very short order. They are not designed to take high side loads.
--
Jim in NC
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OK, I need to respond to this. It's a fairly common myth with some basis in fact. This is only the case older or very, very cheap DPs that use sleeve bearings. I think the last decent one to do that was dropped in the early '80s.
The vast majority of drill presses over the years use regular sealed or shielded ball bearings for the spindle. If you run the bearing numbers, you'll find that they're the same ones used on many motors, shapers, grinders, and a zillion other things that take radial loads. No problem taking the stress of routing or sanding.
The real problem with doing anything other than drilling on a DP is the chuck taper. the Jacobs Tapers are designed for axial loads and not radial. Putting a high side loaded can, and frequently does cause the chuck to fly off and carom around the room. That's why some DPs used to come with locking collars--so you could rout safely.
Using Locksite "Secures Gears" (a cylindrical locker adhesive) will keep your chuck from flying off, but you'll never been able to change it again.
GTO(John)

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Morgans wrote:

Might be useful for removing some of the waste maybe. I don't think I'd try spinning a dovetail bit with it. 3,100 RPM vs. 25,000 RPM... I doubt it would do a good job.

That's why I'm getting a JET mini lathe from Santa SWMBO this year. She's pretty upset at having to spend my entire budget on one thing instead of getting the joy of shopping to buy me a bunch of useless crap, but I'm getting a great deal on a great machine, and I can stop torturing my drill press.
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But a dovetail would be a straight load. And I know about side-thrust because I got blasted for it a few weeks ago on here.
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 15:27:59 -0400, "Morgans"

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On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 01:07:02 -0400, Silvan

Many of these guys use poly, too, so there's no accounting for taste.

You call a bloody 98DB shrieker "alluring"? Shirley, ewe jest.

Newp.
Bueno, bwana.
------------------------------------------------------------- give me The Luxuries Of Life * http://www.diversify.com i can live without the necessities * 2 Tee collections online -------------------------------------------------------------
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Ya know, a drill press acts a lot like an overarm router. Phil
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