I’ve been told by many people that I need to take up meditation. No, not some kind of mystic zen-like kinda thing, but just a few minutes every day to sit quietly, relax and do some deep breathing in order to take the edge off. The benefits are that my blood pressure would drop, I would sleep better and it would help me find my ‘center’ of calm.
Well, at my house, with a busy job, two sons and all the other stuff that goes with being a dad, husband and homeowner, time to relax is at a premium.
Fortunately, the folks at Prazi USA have found an easier way for me to find my center.
To be precise, they have created the Groove Center. This nifty device helps you find the middle of a board while routing grooves. The first time. Seriously.
What do you get? Well, the tool comes packed in a beautiful box befitting a precisely-functioning tool. The tool its self is a gold anodized aluminum beauty. It consists of a flat base that allows the tool to sit securely on your router table, and a sliding ‘truck’ that rides in the slots of the base. As you move the ‘truck’ along the base, you will notice the third piece which extends from the front of the piece. You will notice that this piece moves exactly one half the distance you move the ‘truck’. This measuring tool is what allows you to set your router table’s fence perfectly the first time around.
To set up the tool, first, you have to make sure the device is zeroed out, with the ‘truck’ far over to the stop at the back of the track. Push your router’s fence back away from the bit, jack your table-mounted router with the collet as far up as it will go. There’s a 1/2″ diameter pin at the front of the jig that you slip into the collet (the 1/4″ pin is coming soon) and tighten so it grips the pin. This is a very important step, since you are precisely measuring where to set your fence.
Next, push the ‘truck’ toward the front of the jig and slip a piece of the stock you will be routing into the opening and close the ‘truck’ to capture the piece. Gently tighten the knob that locks everything into place, and voila, you will see that the nose of the jig has extended half the distance of the workpiece thickness. Bring your router table fence over until it touches the nose and bingo, you are set up good to go.
Just don’t move the router fence. It’s set perfectly. If you have to move the fence in order to get to your router bit, you can clamp some wood to your table as a stop to allow you to get the fence back into the right position after you set the bit up.
Loosen the collet and remove the jig. Insert your router bit and tighten it in place. If you had to move your fence, return it to its original position and you are good to go. The groove is centered on the first run – no fuss, no muss. And, it’s not just for grooves – cutting mortises on the router table is a snap once you know that everything is lined up perfectly.
Is this all the Groove Center does? Absolutely not. It has another trick up its sleeve – setting up the tricky-to-master lock miter bit. But, that’s another post for another day.
Right now, I have a quick 15 minutes to spend meditating. Gotta find my center, ya know.
FYI – here’s a video of the Groove Center in action…