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Tony Spear

Reproduced with permission from a discussion on the Woodrat forum in a thread 'Woodrat versus router table'. Photos copyright Tony Spear


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I've almost finished a "mini" blanket box in softwood, mainly using the Rat.

To make this, using the Rat, I've cut central grooves along the length of one side of 4 longitudinal and 4 lateral rails and 2 sides of 4 legs, with tenons on the end of the rails (haunched on the 4 top rails) and mortises sunk into the bottom of the grooves at the top and bottom of the legs. The end of each tenon is cut at 45 degrees so that they are effectively "mitred" where the ends of the longitudinals meet the ends of the laterals inside each of the legs.

The grooves are going to house the edges of raised panels for the sides which I've made by jointing the boards using the table as an edge planer and they'll be raised also using the table.

Making it without the Rat, I'd still need the table, but I'd also need a morticer and a band saw (unless I was one of those misguided people that think a table is a good tool for making mortise and tenons joints!).
The box is being made for a specific need and I could have made something equally suited to the job with a few sheets of MDF or ready made softwood board butt-jointed and glued or jointed with simple comb joints.

On the other hand I could have made the box as it is shown, totally by hand, or with a lot of messing about, with the table and a drill press adaptor for a hand drill, but life's too short to do all that just so the Dog can still get on the bed as he's growing older!

However, as I have the Rat, I thought "why not.....?".

I can't think of any other single machine (or whatever you want to call it) that would have allowed me to do this!!

Buy the Rat.

Nuff said?   


Reproduced with permission of HipDog  Photos copyright HipDog

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Hi Aldel
I post on the WoodRat Forum as Hip Dog and a while ago you asked me for some pictures of the centre finder and centre scribes I had made to your designs.   So here are some photos.
All items have been made from 6mm thick clear acrylic sheet.
The longer of the two scribes was original intended to be a dual purpose gadget where I hoped to move the legs as required to accommodate different board widths, but I got paranoid about loosing the legs so I fixed them permanently and made a dedicated smaller one.  The larger has 80 mm leg centres and the smaller 50 mm. 
The legs are made from 8mm dia aluminium rod available from Home Base or B and Q.  I machined the rod end square in the Rat then cut off a leg to length, dressed the cut end with a file, machine rod end again etc and repeat until I had 4 legs, each with one machined flat square end.   
The legs were glued in place with super glue.  Machined ends flush with the top surface of the plastic plate.
The scribe it self is made from a hardened steel brass headed picture pin ground to a sharp point.  These pins are either 1/16" dia or 1.5 mm depending on where you buy them.
As for the centre finder this is the deluxe version.  The handle is a small plastic draw knob I found in my local hardware shop - 75p.  The centre finder pin once again is a hardened steel brass headed picture pin.  One thing I have found is that the locating hole for the picture pin is wearing slightly so the pin in turn wobbles and does not locate repeatedly on the same spot on the work piece.  My solution will be to attempt to drill out the pin hole oversize and plug the hole with a piece of 4mm dia brass rod, then using a V groove cutter centre mark the plug, followed by drilling off as usual.  The brass plug will have much better wear resistance than plastic and so hopefully eliminate the tendency to wobble.  If it doesn't then this what I will end up doing!
Thanks for the designs, as I stated in my post some while ago great gadgets that if made with care give very high levels of accuracy.

Great work!   Your modifications are a further improvement and the photos are good too --- Aldel

John Bailey

Some pictures of John's turning attachment. (see the My Chat page) Photos copyright John Bailey


Shows John's own design plunge bar.


Note the early version WoodRat


Mounted with vibration damper.


                         Indexing system



Here he has routed a mortise in the round leg.


Routing flutes on a tapered leg.

Safety Warning!!!   John says turn the drill chuck by hand when tuning square section wood.

He now uses a low power and slow speed drill.

The magazine article is extensive and describes all the setup and features.

Perhaps John can be persuaded to post some descriptions on the Forum.

Well done!


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