Awhile back, I began posting a series of blogs on the evolution of my router planer. Since that time I’ve actually made three more minor modifications that have had a huge impact on how well this thing works.
The first modification: I was always frustrated with how long it took to measure the height at which to set the cross members of the planer using my square in a slotted 2×4. Well, I finally came up with a solution so simple even I was amazed (not the brightest bulb in the pack I guess). Anyway, here it is:
Basically, it consists of one 3/4” pipe over which a 1” diameter stop collar and a series of 1” diameter pipe connectors are piled up on top of each other to give a simple measurement. The router I use has a 3/4” depth of cut, so every time I reach that depth, I just remove a stop collar (about 3/4” thickness) and I’m back to cutting depth. When I get to a pipe connector, I just remove it and substitute two stop collars which leaves me with about 1/2” cutting depth before I can take out the first of the two stop collars. Hope this all makes sense. For anyone out there using this type system, flat washers or large enough nuts would also work.
Second modification: For width of planing, I was always struggling with the “wishy-washy” aspect of the sled my router rode in. It sometimes even caused the router to “run” if I wasn’t quite vigilant enough (after a whole bunch of repeated passes, it gets to a point where the attention span isn’t necessarily what it should be). So, I replaced the “fixed” stops on the sled with a couple of simple homegrown “clamps”. Here they are:
The “clamps” consist of two pieces of trex stiles I had left over from a deck project cut to the width of my router base, drilled through the center of each with a half inch forstner bit and held together by one 6” bolt with a wing nut. Tightening down causes the center of the trex to flex together causing the ends to clamp down on the sled angle iron runners and holding them very solidly exactly where I want them. An added benefit of using this type of clamping system is that I can now adjust the width of a pass I can make based on the width of the piece I’m working on.
And that brings me to the third, and final, modification (probably the best one of all as far as I’m concerned). If you take a look at the two photos showing the clamping system, you should also see wheels on their sides. These wheels allow me to move the sled easily in small increments for each pass of the router. I had originally thought I’d use ball bearings of some kind for this purpose, but decided I needed to use what I had on hand (finances, you know), and decided wheels turned sideways should work just fine. Well, they exceeded my expectations. The fact the sled rides on the two runners gives it enough drag resistance so that the sled stays in place while I make the pass. But the wheels on both ends of the sled allow me to use my hands and my body to move the sled over just enough to make the next pass. Works for me. Hope it works for someone else, too.
Thanks for looking.