Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 2/19/00

A book review: By Antonio P. Dias

Title: Routing for Beginners

Anthony Bailey

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 1861081014
Price Softcover: $24.95 (Canada $36.95 )
192 color pages

"Routing for Beginners" by Anthony Bailey is a fairly good introduction to the router for the beginning woodworker. Its greatest asset is the enormous number of color photos which clearly illustrate the use of the router. Unfortunately, the book may not be a good value for anyone other than the absolute beginner.

Bailey does a good job of describing the versatility of routers, explaining the standard parts of routers and describing what to look for in buying one. The book is written from a European perspective, so Bailey completely dismisses fixed-base routers which according to him are virtually non-existent in Europe. After describing the mechanics of a (plunge) router, he launches into an effective discussion of router safety and maintenance, followed by a survey of the available types of router bits.

After these introductions to the router, Bailey walks the reader through the construction of some jigs. Though probably useful, the jigs seem to me to serve mostly as indicators of the types of jigs that can be constructed. Unless you have an immediate need to join two kitchen countertops together, for example, the "worktop jointing" jig won't be of much use. Next, Bailey describes the basic techniques that are necessary for using a table-mounted router and shows the use of a router for making several kinds of joints (mortise and tenon, tongue and groove, dovetail, etc.).

The last third of the book is devoted to a series of "Workshop Projects" and "Projects for the Home." Some of these, such as a couple of basic router table designs, make sense in a book such as this. Others, such as a "Board Cutting Facility" (a fancy set of sawhorses) and a "TV and Video Cabinet" seem out of place in this book.

In summary, this book meets its goal by introducing the beginning woodworker to the router with a thorough discussion of its use and safety, with many photographs (generally 2-4 per page) to illustrate the author's points. Unfortunately, the projects section of the book (the last third) strays a little off the topic.

Although I think most of the book is quite good, I am not certain that the book is worth its $24.95 US ($36.95 Canadian) price. If the reader has never been exposed to routers and is relying strictly on a book to learn the tool, this book may be a good choice because of its wealth of photographs that clearly show the tool's use. Otherwise, I believe that this book is simply too expensive for what it offers.

Antonio P. Dias

Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge in exchange for thoughtful, honest reviews. Thank You!

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