Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 6
July 2008
From the Collection

Miniature Router Planes

Miniature router planes

Smaller versions of certain woodworking tools are often manufactured. These miniature copies mimic the intended functionality of the full-sized original and can be the product of an individual who needs a purpose-built item, or the inventiveness of a company trying to capture new areas in sales. The true success of an item is the longevity of its commercial trade and, even today, the modern electric router has not fully pushed the router plane into extinction. Numerous companies are still manufacturing small versions of the plane.

A router plane cuts a slot or groove parallel to the surface of the material on which the tool is being used. It supplements the singular approach of the versatile plow plane, which was designed only to cut grooves parallel to an edge of a board using a moveable fence as a guide. The design of the modern metal router plane provided a fixed base with a protruding "tooth" or "beak" that traversed a flat surface and cut a regulated depth slot or trench in a workpiece. Sometimes a fence was added to the router plane base to replicate the plowing action of the bigger plane. The small examples shown are excellent for clearing out backgrounds while carving, and by either repositioning or reversing the blade (depending on the model) they provide the flexibility to clean out areas right up to a vertical obstruction.

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