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"A great day out"

Today, (21/04/06) my wife and I made a 300 mile round trip to Martin Godfrey's home village of Lower Godney in Somerset. This was in response to Martin's open invitation to all 'Ratters and indeed anyone interested to a preview of his new template ideas and chat about all things WoodRat. Fortunately, Clarkes Village shopping emporium was nearby where I left my wife to while away most of the day buying shoes and other womanly things.

I eventually found the village hall after travelling through some of the flattest countryside that I have ever seen. I arrived at 10.30 to find the car park full and was pleased to see so many people so felt assured that it was going to be a great day.

Inside the hall was full of eager people all busy examining Martin's prototype templates and getting instruction on the mixture of full sized and LittleRats mounted around the room. Martin managed to spare me some time to demonstrate his designs and gave me permission to take some photographs. I apologise for the poor quality as many were quickly taken and are blurry handheld close-ups.

I wore my 'aldels woodrat site badge' and met a number of site visitors for a good old 'chinwag'.

Hopefully some will contribute to the site as there were a number of feedback ideas. It wasn't long before I was coerced into demonstrating working methods on some of the 'Rats. I hope Martin didn't mind!!

Martin did explain that the templates were still in the final development stages and could not give any fixed availability dates or prices. It appears that finding reliable and quality engineering is not easy and he has had initial difficulties with quality control.

Click each photo to enlarge.

Inside the hall were various WoodRats to try out and for demonstration. border="0"
Here Martin (on the left) is busy demonstrating the principles. border="0"
Ron Fox in the red shirt is discussing the finer points of the mortise system. border="0"

The through dovetail, drawer dovetail and tenon templates are made from CNC cut phenolic material and mounted under a smaller plate. The rails are shorter and modified with extra fixing screws. The template follower pin is fixed into the plate and being spring loaded  can either be down to follow the cut-outs in the template or raised, twisted and locked up to remain clear. A combination of carriage travel and sliding of the router is needed to trace around the template. Shown here is the through dovetail template.

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There was some variation in styles for the pins which are fixed to a plastic mount via a threaded and castellated screw. border="0"
Here is a plated one. The two pictures opposite show the pin twisted and locked in the up position. border="0"
This deeply out of focus shot displays the under side of the pin in the down position for engagement with a template. border="0"
Here is a clearer shot of the through dovetail template. Each one would be dedicated for a set router bit angle. border="0"
Here you can see the drawer or hidden dovetail template. This allows both the tails and sockets to be cut using the same bit. The rounded tail and cut sockets are clearly visible. The strip of wood running from side to side is just a spacer. border="0"
Sorry for another blurry picture but it does demonstrate a well fitting joint. I forgot to ask if there will be any adjustment for fit. I guess very wide boards would just be a case of following along with carriage travel. border="0"

Its a good clean cut.

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Viewed here is the tenon template which is fixed to a stiff alloy angle mount and held up under the revised plate. border="0"

Seen sideways on.

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Perhaps this shot makes things a bit clearer.

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And in close up. This template enables double tenons but you could cut only one if you wished.

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Here are a couple of quickly cut  and shallow tenons in softwood. border="0"

 

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