Tiny Router Plane

I made this tiny router on a whim.  I still don’t know what prompted me to make it, but once I started, I decided to send it to Scott Grandstaff as a Christmas present, since Christmas was coming and I knew he likes tiny tools.

I copied the general design from a picture of a full-sized model in a book about woodworking tools.  I based the cutter holder on others I’ve seen.

It’s made almost entirely from scraps I had laying around the shop.  The only store-bought materials are the small knurled brass knob, washer and threaded rod (which was simply a brass machine screw that I cut the head off and cut down to size).  For the body, I used some rosewood that I’ve had laying around for a while.

I eyeballed the dimensions and proportions from the picture of the full-size one in the book.

I first sketched the outline of the body, then drilled three holes – one big main hole plus two flanking smaller ones to form the handles.

I cut the dado that the blade sits in using a utility knife, and made the through mortise for the cutter holder using one of my favorite chisels, a Buck Bros 1/8-inch mortise chisel.

Oh, um, I made a, uh, “prototype” body before I made the one shown in the photos. Yeah – prototype, that’s what it was.

I roughed out the body shape with a coping saw, then got it more to shape with a rasp and files.  Then I hit it with sandpaper, going up to about 320 silicon carbide paper.  Then I polished it with steel wool, mineral spirits and Butcher’s Wax.

For the cutter, I dug into my scrap metal bucket and came up with an chipper from an old, rusty stacked dado blade set.  It had welded-on teeth, and I realized I could hack out a cutter and include one of the teeth on the business end.

I cut it out with a hacksaw, then ground it to shape using a bench grinder and files, then polished it up on a DMT stone.

The trickiest part to make was the cutter holder.  The one shown is not the first one I made – the other one was a, er – prototype – yeah.  I made it from a 1/4″ thick, very large brass washer I had laying around (no idea what it had been for, it was in the drawer of a workbench I had bought at a garage sale).  I hacked out a rectangle from the brass washer, then ground it to shape on the bench grinder (a hand vise is a wonderful thing).

I drilled a hole in the edge and tapped it to accept the threaded rod.  I then drilled a hole all the way through for the cutter shank.  I made the hole slightly smaller than the dimensions of the cutter shank, then took a very small square file and filed it square until it was just big enough to accept the cutter shank.