Guide Bushing Lockdown

October 30th, 2009 by
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SPRING WASHER1Do you ever run across one of those super-simple woodworking products that makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself? A lot of folks are feeling that way about Rockler’s new Bench Cookies. Here’s a link if you haven’t seen them already:

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21496&filter=bench%20cookie

But, I ran across another smart idea the other day while testing a bunch of cool dovetail jigs. (You’ll read more about that in our December print issue, so stay tuned!) One of these jigs requires several guide bushings, and they came with a little gift from router heaven: a spring-steel washer.

Have you ever seen a washer supplied with a guide bushing? Me either.

But, there’s good reason for it: if you spend much time template routing, you may already know what can happen when a guide bushing vibrates loose. Best case scenario, you catch it in time to shut off the router and tighten it back up. Worst case: your bit chews up the guide bushing and chips itself in the process. Not good. And it can happen really fast.

Well, a spring washer could put this chaos behind us. It’s got a wavy design that allows you to knuckle down on it and really put some tension between the nut and the insert plate or subbase. No need to reach for a pliers; hand tightening is sufficient.

Washers keep machine bolts and nuts tight. Seems logical to put a washer here, too.

Lock washers keep machine bolts and nuts tight. Seems logical to put a washer here, too. Finally, someone has.

I spent several days routing with this spring washer installed on the insert plate of my router table, and it stayed put. So well, in fact, that I don’t think I’ll use a guide bushing again without a washer.

Peachtree Woodworking Supply was the only source I could find for these washers (scroll about halfway down this link to item 2903):

http://www.ptreeusa.com/routerAcc.htm

They’re not cheap. But, then again, around $3 apiece is still a bargain compared to what you’ll lose if the bushing takes a hike.

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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