At the beginning of the year, I examined all the projects that I wanted to accomplish. A large majority of these projects required an upgrade in my routing – shelf pins, edge routing, dovetails, etc. I knew that it was past time that I invested in these processes, even though it might push back upgrades in other areas or the new shop progress.

The process started by selling my older routers. I sold one, and the other one is for sale now. I replaced both of them with a Festool OF1400, which should allow me to get some ultra-precise routing. The big advantages here was the quality of accessories that give me more confidence in what I’m doing. It also allows me to keep the shop cleaner and have less downtime between projects.

I upgraded my shelf pin jig with a Woodpecker combo jig, however I changed my mind after a couple of days and ordered the LR32 system for the 1400. I went for the version not in the systainer to save some money up front. I ultimately made the decision to go with the more expensive option because it gave me more options with where to locate shelf pins and drawer slides.

The final upgrade to my routing needs is to finally learn some good joinery. I’ve always wanted to make boxes with dovetails, but found the learning curve to the jigs too steep and too time consuming to this point. I made a long-wanted and needed upgrade to the router table by investing in the Incra LS17 fence and jointing system. It makes getting these good results a whole lot easier, and more probable for me to attain.

The unfortunate side effect of upgrading to the LS17 is that I’ll now need a new router table. I’ve wanted one for a bit anyway, because the layout wasn’t the best. I inadvertently put the drawers on the wrong side, be it by initial design or oversight. Now, however, it’s the top that is the problem. The fence and housing would both overhang the table, and with the close quarters of my shop, they both would be prone to damage. I’ll have to enlarge the top, so I might as well redesign the whole thing. For now, I can remove the fence and put it back as needed, but I’ll be planning on getting this done sooner than later.

With the ability to better rout, I have the ability to now put out better quality projects. Even with the prospect of still having to design an build shop furniture, I am starting to turn the corner and think about producing the furniture and other projects that I have always wanted to.

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