Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hand router

 A welded-together router, this afternoon

Among the tribulations of Christmas is the well-known phenomenon of extreme depression on reading that every child of every friend you ever had has either won the Nobel Prize for Ballet or become the leader of the National Youth Orchestra, whereas your own children are just Or'nery and at the best of times you can only aspire to their one day being adequate.

Fortunately your childless friend-or-relation taking pity on your forgetfulness in omitting to send her an invitation to come for the festivities, invites herself and with detached objectivity makes up for your evident want of parenting skills by pointing out all your family's deficiencies. I had not noticed myself that boisterous singing at the Ngatimoti Carol Festival was Bad Behaviour; I had thought it was a logical tactic in the annual Motueka Brass Band vs. the Congregation competition. A series of other helpful observations on how the young adults (for that is now what they are) can improve themselves were gratefully received and I am quite sure will be acted on. Twelve months hence we will find that they have each gone on to marry the Prince of Wales/chair the United Nations/become vice-chancellor of Auckland University respectively. When this happens I shall write a Christmas letter to this effect: depend on it.

In the meantime the only accomplishment to report is the cutting of a deep narrow slot in a piece of pear-wood. I shan't say why: it can be a mystery, and add interest to the proceedings. Suffice to say that I needed a blind-ended recess half-an-inch deep, square to the surface, and 1.5mm wide. No tool exists to create such a slot so I had to make one myself, and because I am Dead Clever and Dead Vain I shall very generously say how I did it and you may admire me excessively even though none of my children are Lydia Ko Hayley Westenra or Lorde.

What I made is a small hand router. The cutter is a piece of industrial hacksaw blade, ground to shape and sharpened with a diamond file. I thought I would hold it vertical by welding three pieces of angle-iron together, each clamped to the same flat surface during the welding to give a uniform sole. Grub screws were to hold the blade in place.

This did not work. The blade caught in the bottom of the slot, dug in, and tipped forwards.

I took a slip of steel and welded it to the front of the slot, so that pressure by the grub screws need only hold the blade at the correct depth.

This did work, but adjusting the depth of cut with a brisk tap of a hammer proved undependable.

So I welded a bit of angle-iron as a cap, over the top of the blade, with a 6mm screw to push the blade downwards.

I found that rotation of the screw merely pushed the top of the blade sideways. Moreover the upward pressure tended to bend the angle-iron cap backwards.

So I welded a front to the cap to stop the backwards-bending, and a slip of steel at the right-hand side of the blade to stop the sideways bending.

And I am happy to report that this now works perfectly. Ugly, true. But it only cost me a morning to make, so now I can devote the time saved to developing better parenting skills.

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