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Inverted Mount & Routing Curves

I wanted a quick way of routing curved shapes on my Rat and decided the only way was to invert the router. (sorry Martin!!)  This is how I did it.


First you need to make two cutouts in one packer plate to clear either the plastic or alloy rails like this.


 You can now mount the inverted plate on the packer utilizing the longer bolts provided with your Woodrat. 



Its now easy to slide in the router underneath and firmly lock it with the star knob.  Plunge bars really help here for depth adjustment.


Next cut out and clamp a false top equal to or very slightly thicker than the depth of the bolt heads   I used 6mm MDF. With a quarter inch bit you can now plunge upwards through the false top and lock the router.


border="0" Lastly fit a lead pin as shown. I used the shaft of a broken solid carbide router bit. This is a vitally important safety feature and MUST  BE FITTED.
border="0" It is now simple to rout curved shapes like this. 



I marked a black line around the shape so that it will show up in the photo. Always bring the work piece towards the cutter whilst firmly held against the lead in pin. I strongly advise you to make a guard to keep your fingers away from the cutter.

This is another way of enhancing the versatility of the Woodrat and am already thinking of enlarging the hole so that I can use coving bits,  improving the clamping method, making an arm to convert it into a pin router, and then making house signs, and .......template routing............and................. well it never ends.

I have to say that this is not as safe as most operations on the Woodrat but is no different than using  a router table. Take care, you are responsible for your own safety. I offer this as an invitation to experiment and would very much like to receive any other suggestions/improvements etc.


border="0" Meavy Oak  in 1900

In my home village of Meavy on Dartmoor there is an old oak tree believed to be well in excess of 1000 years old and a few years ago a branch had to be removed for safety. I fortunately managed to acquire a few small well seasoned pieces with the intention of making some memento quartz clocks. These clock movements require accurate circular recesses to be mounted into. I used the Woodrat to do this. The oak was b****Y hard!

border="0" The pieces of wood have curved backs and angular sides but this is how I did it.

I cut a piece of scrap plywood, square and 12 inches wide, into which I placed a small pin as shown. Cut the head off the pin.


border="0" Carefully measure and mark the position and circumference of the recess and drill a very small hole to mount onto the pin. Bring up under the plate and test to check that wood will fully rotate without fouling the face when clamped.
border="0" Ensure that the centre of the bit is directly above the pin hole. Bit by bit route out the recess to the correct depth and diameter whilst slowly turning the wood by hand. Once started do not track e/w to check the correct diameter but slide the router n/s.
border="0" The clock should be a smooth friction fit so that it can be removed for battery changing etc. There are some pictures in the gallery.


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Centre Finder

Tony Spear has reminded me that this gadget is not suitable for the Little Rat.

   I often need to align the exact centre of any routing bit on to a marked line on the work and be sure that I can repeat this positioning. For example here I wanted to route a 1/4" mortise in the centre of this small table leg. border="0" Once found I make 'the mark' and repeat for the other legs.

Of course, the Woodrat centre liner is provided for this, but I find it difficult to see exactly where the line is, especially when it is dusty and a bit scratched. You could perhaps replace the cutter bit with  a 45 degree one or use a counter sink in the collet, i.e. lower the router so that the point of the the bit aligns with the marked pencil line. I find all this bit changing just to find a centre line is a real pain in the ***e.

So I came up with this simple solution, it takes a little care and time to make but saves a lot of frustration!!

First using the provided centre liner as a model for width, use the Rat to form a rebated strip approx. 6" long, like this:- Top border="0" Underside  border="0"I used 4mm. acrylic. You could use anything you prefer, alloy/laminate/wood/ plastic etc. To work properly this must be a smooth sliding fit with no lateral movement when placed in the router plate and be able to slide under the router like the original.

With the new finder plate in place  and using a very small router bit, plunge to just lightly mark the surface. You will see from the photo for demonstration purposes that I used  a 1/4" bit to make a small circle. Probably best to plunge and mark with the point of a 45 degree bit. border="0" Now drill a small hole to take a small pin/nail. Again arrange that it is a good fit with no wobble but not tight. Ideally it needs to be a slight friction fit so that the pin remains at whatever height you put it.

Finally rout/mill/file or drill out a viewing window. I also routed a slot using my smallest 2mm bit as shown. You can roughly align to a mark by looking through this if you prefer.

border="0" Voila! You can now quickly track and centre any bit on any N/S line. Since you can raise or lower the pin for depth adjustment you can be assured of no parallax errors and visibility is guaranteed. This little gadget also takes care of any minor router mounting errors. (If the router is mounted very slightly off centre to the left or right and you use the the original finder to track to the mark then the cut will be off centre by the same amount.)


I have just realized that if you use 4mm clear acrylic you can make this centre finder in minutes. Cut a strip about 5 inches long and slightly over width. Carefully scrape or sand the edges until you have a nice smooth fit with no sideways slop. There is no need to cut a rebate along the edges. Fit a v-groove bit as shown and cut an elongated viewing hole as shown here

  border="0"   Very gently plunge and mark the centre mark for the pin hole.

Plunge and cut a hole the other end to make gripping and removal easier.

border="0" With the router switched off, lightly plunge and drag the finder plate to scratch a fine centre line as here



Finally drill the hole for the pin.

It took me about five minutes to make.



Revisited again

John Bailey sent me an email with some brilliant feedback that just requires scoring a reference line onto the centre finder. This did not occur to me.

Thanks John, your suggestion expands the use of the centre finder considerably.

Here it is:-


With the centre finder in position and with the the pin in exact vertical alignment with the cutter as here  scribe a line to a reference point on the router plate.




Here I have gone overboard and marked with a knife and try-square to 11,9,8 and to the edge of the router base.


With the work cammed up either n/s or e/w all you need to do is place the centre finder into the router plate with the reference marks in alignment and you can slide the router or track the work until the the pin is in position above the desired cutting line and then lock the plate for east/west routing. 

Remove or slide back the centre finder, plunge and cut as shown here 


This is a very quick and accurate way to centre any diameter cutter bit onto any cutting line.

Example:- Use this method to cut a mortise which is very accurately centred onto a marked line.

Deluxe centre finder?

Here is an email received from Andrew McKechnie with what I feel is an excellent further development.


I write in response to the latest "revisit" to your Centre Finder. Having followed the discussions on the Forum about this good idea, I managed to get around to making one this afternoon.  Instead of marking one or more reference marks as you suggest in the latest revision, I locked the acrylic slat in place by fixing the router, with a 45 degree bit, down tight on the slat, then glued a small strip of acrylic on the upper surface of the slat tight up against the base of my router.

It seems to me this is a more positive way keeping the Finder in the correct position - lining up reference marks can easily lead to errors.

Furthermore, before drilling the hole for the screw (pin), I glued a small square of acrylic on the bottom surface then drilled through both thicknesses to be more sure that the screw stayed perfectly straight.

Thanks for your contributions on your site - the Forum is really useful, and your "extras" are a bonus.


Andrew McKechnie
(South Africa)

Good ideas Andrew --I am going to make one!

I have now made one -- here it is  deluxe  resting on a pen to be photographed.

As usual please give some feedback on your thoughts.



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