Using the Pin Router in the Wood Shop

One tool in the Burchard wood shop that I learned about recently is the pin router. It’s the large white machine to the left of the work tables. You can use this tool to copy a pattern that you laser cut or in my case, cut out on the CNC. I wanted to see if I could make more copies of the pieces I had for my street seat project.

To use the machine, you need your pattern screwed or double-stick-taped to one side of an MDF board. Then you set the pin router to the highest level and move the pattern around the pin, as the router bit cuts from below. This puts an outline of your piece in the bottom of the MDF board. Then you cut out a piece of whatever you want your final material to be and make sure it’s big enough to fill the outline that’s on the bottom of the board. You can do this on the bandsaw or table saw. Then you make several cuts on the pin router, starting from the lowest setting and moving it up a little every pass. You use the foot pedal to make the router bit rise and fall before every cut.

In the end my pieces turned out a little rough and I didn’t think they’d be good enough for my final project. I think the final quality depends on your technique and the sharpness of the router bit. Overall I think the pin router is a useful tool to copy templates into another material as long as you’re willing to do plenty of sanding in the end. It was a good experience learning about this machine that I see rarely used. Talk to Jon or Mark in the woodshop if you want to learn how to use it.

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