Router Woodworking

The sample clamped in the holder is being checked for squareness. A .001" feeler gage will not slide between the bar stock and the blade of the square. The bar stock is up against the shoulder of the stock (shown in the background). Refraction, reflection and parallax confound a visual inspection. The 1 mil gage either enters a gap or it doesn't, a simple solution without sophistication.

Routing to .001" (1 mil) is a 6800 word story about the principles of precision routing. The text and pictures (29) summarize the concepts, the nature of the fixturing, and the principles of measurement required to rout to .001". The emphasis is on the simple things, with ordinary woodshop technique; not machine shop tooling and technology. The work was inspired by the discoveries encountered making a precision tee-square.

Drilling on exact centers, zero-flattening the edges and faces of the T-square-body, routing parallel to .001", templet routing in stages, consistant and precise measuring, holding the work steady, handling small workpieces accurately, managing routing trauma, and staying in the safety zone, were some of the challenges. What I thought I could do with ordinary furniture making fixturing was not possible in the 1 mil universe. Every critical phase of the square, from milling to drilling had to be fixtured.

The routing, fixturing, jig design changes, and inspection methods are explained in general. Some of the t-square fixturing is used as props to tell the story. The concepts are ordinary; they're just redefined and refined for precision, exacting standards. In between the lines is another story, the story of the nuance, attention, attitude, and the changes in perception I had to make to get to .001".

The focus of this essay is routing and those subtleties necessary to prepare for precision routing, not drilling and milling.This work assumes skills in jointing, planing, routing, milling, sanding and drilling; it is not for the inexperienced, (though it may inspire those that aren't). This is a taste of the advanced work often ignored by the publishers.

It is not for for everyone. (Click here for sample page). Even if you've no desire to hit .001", this work has value if you'd like to know more about precision, accuracy, repeatability, and the X-factors in woodworking. For example you cannot read a precision rule to better than .010". Reasonable joinery has a 1-3 mil interference; you're guessing at adjustment if you're using a rule to get there.

The "Routing To .001" article is an E-mail-able PDF (read-able on almost all computers). The product (pictures & text) is mine, culled from 40 years of studying the art, and never before published. It is only available from me. To order, email or just send $24 to:

ESCONDIDO CA 92027-3940

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Last modified: Mon Mar 14 06:24:30 PDT 2016