How woodwork has changed since the time of my grandfather. He would have cut lap joints with a saw and pared them to an exact fit with a small rabbet plane. The process would have taken less time for him, with his years of experience, but would still take more than a few moments.
Finding my collection of power tools expanding beyond the space to store them in my back yard shed, I was faced with obtaining a half height tool shed to place in some space under the kitchen window. Unable to find one to suit, I thought – I’ll build one.
In making the frames I needed to cut some lap joints. Since I was working in rough treated timber, a rough lap joint was more than adequate, so out came the Black and Becker Router.
I set up a batten to guide the router on a scrap price, and this gave me a marker for how far from the batten the cut would be.
I set the router depth to approximately half the thickness of the wood, and a few moments later I had half the lap joints cut.
In order to get the thickness right for the other sides, you must remove exactly the thickness of wood that remains on the first pieces. Place the router on a piece of board. Sink the router until the bit just rests on the board and lock it in place. Place the tongue you have just cut on top of the depth stop, and slide the depth pin down to rest on it. Lock the pin in place. You can now unlock the plunge on the router and reset it to the pin.
Routers may be noisy, dusty, dangerous things that can ruin a piece of wood in an instant, and ruin whatever flesh gets to near the whirring bit in less time still, but they do make life quick and easy.
Wear a dust mask and eye protection. Really Do.