Monday, October 01, 2007

Router Fest

Not sure how many routahs His Normness possesses, but I think I may just have him beat. Yep, Coachbuilder's Router Central chez Alf now. Thank goodness for my copy of Salaman to turn to in order to explain the fine nuances. First, the "Boxing" routers. Would you believe coachbuilders had another name for rebates apart from "check"? Mad impulsive fools; they also called 'em "boxing". So a Boxing Router is identified thusly:

"This has a single iron 1/2 - 3/4in; no fence, and is similar in construction and working to the Router Plane. Used for finishing rebates to the depth required, and for cleaning out grooves already made and testing them for depth. They were used when one could not employ a coachbuilder's Tee Plane owing to sharp curves in the timber."

To sum up - it's a funny kind of router.

16" stock length (width?) seems to be the standard, then top to bottom:

3/8" cutter, ash or oak, guessing craftsman-made by the lack of an "eye hole" for the shavings.

3/8" again, beech with a plated top to stop the wedging action splitting it out presumably. A reasonably clear stamp of Williams, 42 Boro' Road, London. Remember the assorted Williams I had hope of with the Tee Rabbet? Well happily both Henry (1845-1852) and Thomas (1858-1868) occupied that address. I'll take that and make a reasonable assumption about the Tee Plane and an unreasonable one about the dovetail saw. Well I can if I want to...

1/2", beech, beautifully clear Edward Preston & Sons stamp.

1/4" (actually an old chisel - thriftiness theme continues), beech with a slightly convexly curved,plated sole. No eye hole again.

So got yourselves a handle on the Boxing Routers? Right, so time to get Groovy.

"The iron, 1/2, 3/16 or 1/4in wide, has a hooked cutting edge, and is wedged in the stock sideways. Made in pairs for working on either hand, with a metal fence adjustable within 5in limits and fixed by various means including a screw engaging a nut which runs in a slide within the stock. It is used for working grooves for taking a panel or glass, and occasionally for cutting away waste timber from a rebate at some distance from the edge of the workpiece. For this purpose a groove was cut to the required deth as close as possible to the finished outline; then with either a Chisel or Gouge the intervening wood was chopped away and finished with a Boxing Router."

You're wondering how you've managed without them, aren't you? Well I must admit to finding a sudden urge to give the saw till doors an arch...

Again 16" long is the standard and they all have plated soles. Don't seem to have an obvious pair within these three, but further study may find stamps to prove me wrong:

3/16" iron, left side fence, could be craftsman-made. In all honesty I can't read my own notes...

1/8" iron, left side fence, beech. The left hand side of the central area of the stock seems to have been cut away - not dissimilar to the skew rebate - perhaps to add grip? I'll need to try one to see I s'pose. It's a hard life.

1/16" wide, beech, right sided fence, somebodyorother & Sons on the iron, but it eludes me thus far.

So by now you've no doubt worked out the mystery irons. See? Easy when you have all the pieces of the puzzle ;-) And to finish our exploration of these tools, the inevitable tin box of "stuff" - a prerequisite of any tool chest or other collection of tools.

If anyone's short of a collar stiffener then you know where to look...

1 comment:

  1. I have a shirt that takes collar stiffeners, so I might give you a shout one day when I lose one. Don't throw it out.....


    Paul Chapman


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