I had pretty much made up my mind to replace my dated D/T jig with a
D-4. Then last week I was at the hardwood supplier and someone
mentioned how much they love there WR.
Anyone here use a WoodRat? Thoughts/opinions?
I love mine, the learning curve is steep, and it's a machine one has to use
fairly often to remain consistent.
I don't believe there is another router based jig that can doo all the
things the WR can.
I don't have a link handy, but there's a video you can see on the net by the
PS you can order a DVD that show it if very well.
Tom summed it up pretty well. It's a great little machine once you
learn how to use it, but the learning curve is steep and it takes a
fair amount of practice to get comfortable with it. And the manual is
frustratingly obscure. If you're thinking that you'll get one and be
happily cutting perfect joints the next day, you'll be disappointed.
And be aware that if you get one, you'll probably want to get a
dedicated router for it. Mounting and dismounting the router is not
hard, but has to be done carefully and it's not something you'll want
to do often.
All of that said, though, I'm very happy with mine. It's very
versatile and can make all kinds of joints, including DTs, sliding
DTs, box joints and M&Ts, at all kinds of spacings and all kinds of
angles. And it can use any bit you like, no need for special ones.
It was well worth the effort to learn how to use it.
If you Google around, you'll find more information on it, including
the manufacturer's site and the US Distributor's, and this one:
http://www.aldel.co.uk/ which I found pretty useful.
Reply-to address is real
I have a question (maybe a couple):
When you are using your Wood Rat to make many dovetails across a board do
you do the tails or the pins first? Then you mark the locations on the
second board. When you do this it appears as though the accuracy of the
location of the mating pins or tails (whichever you do second) is totally
dependent on how accurately you can mark the first pattern that you cut out
on the second board. How difficult is it to get a row of 6 or more
pins/tails to line up perfectly with each other? Pencil line marking just
doesn't seem to me to be accurate enough for them to fit together properly.
Several years ago I got interested in a Wood Rat at a woodworking show, but
every time that I came by the Wood Rat booth it seemed that the guy who was
doing the demos was just leaving. I couldn't even get him to talk to me
about it. I never did get to see it in action in the 2 days that I was at
the show. Then I tried to get Wood Rat to send me a demo video and never did
get one out of them, although I got many promises. Are they really this hard
to do business with or is it just me? I ended up buying a Leigh D4R the
following year and have their FMT jig as well. Leigh is much easier to do
business with and my dovetail pins and tails or mortices and tenons always
line up perfectly. The Wood Rat would have been a much cheaper way to go if
it worked as well and if I could have gotten them to demonstrate it to me.
It's hard to describe if you haven't seen it (though not hard to do).
The Woodrat has two positions in which you can clamp a work piece, one
for refernce and one for cutting. As you move the tool, both of the
clamp locations move together.
You cut the tails first, with the tail board in the cutting position.
You don't mark the pin board at all. Instead you clamp a cut tail
board into the reference position and the tail board in the cutting
position, and you move the tool so the tails, one by one, line up
against a pencil mark you've made on the tool. So the spacing of the
pins becomes a template for the spacing of the tails.
I bought mine at a show and the guy who was doing the demos was going
non-stop every time I walked by, seemingly happy to talk, demo and
answer questions all day long.
The only dealings that I've had with them since were a couple of times
that I bought some accessories from them online. On one occasion they
shorted me -- I had ordered two of something and they only sent one --
and I e-mailed them to report the problem and within hours they
e-mailed back and apologized and told me the missing item would be
sent that day (and it was).
I don't have enough experience to say whether I was lucky or you were
unlucky, I can only tell you that I have no complaints.
Reply-to address is real
Have you checked the relative price of Woodrat (nichhe) vs. router
(mass market) these days? Dedicating a router to it is no big deal
cost-wise, and it does save on setup time.
I love the Woodrat, mostly because of the quick setup time on it once
it is properly up and running. You might actually use this thing,
whilst many of the other jigs are sitting ignored because you can't be
bothered to get them out and set up.
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