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13.07.2015 admin
Furthermore, the WoodRat is especially beneficial to those who want the hand-tool look and quality in their joints, with production-capable repeatability.
The WoodRat is not a dedicated box joint jig nor is it a dedicated dovetail jig, nor a mortise and tenon jig. With that said, two accessories that I do recommend right off the bat: The WoodRat plunge bar and an eliminator chuck for your router.
The WoodRat bracket is planed and jointed to be square and flat--fabricated to the dimensions provided by WoodRat (2" x 5" x 36"). The WoodRat hangers are planed and jointed to be square and flat, again, fabricated to the dimensions provided by WoodRat (1" x 2" x 10").
With a pencil, carefully trace the inside wall of the socket (just cut into the workpiece) onto the WoodRat face. I believe that even production or professional shops could make good use of the WoodRat given its unique capabilities and wide range of cutter options. It sounds trivial, but changing cutters on the WoodRat has caused me to release a few choice words in the shop. During my first project using the WoodRat, evidently I didn't clamp a workpiece tight enough in the cutter clamp and it came flying back at me, hitting me squarely in the stomach.
The WoodRat cutter shanks are plenty long, but regardless, the length that the shaft extends from the router collet is sometimes on the border of being unacceptable (breakage, chatter). It does not require templates, jigs, test cuts, or anything else beyond a pencil, the work pieces, and a straight cutter.
When cutting mating pieces, you always align the wood not the gap at the marker end of the WoodRat.

Plus, the router sits vertically affixed to a phenloic plate in the WoodRat making cutter changes even more difficult.
I produced the WoodRat hangers to the specifications described in the WoodRat guide, except, I made mine 10" long rather than 9" long. Given its versatility, the WoodRat requires some experimentation, clamping fixtures, shop-made stops, and so forth. I typically do not have the time to mess around making a jig, in this case, to hold the work.
There is a bit of a learning curve, and be prepared to make or purchase a few jigs to assist in clamping work to WoodRat face. Martin Godfrey, WoodRat Inventor and all-around gentleman, is a delight to watch and listen to. The WoodRat supports virtually any cutter, but I have better success with the standard cutters.
I planed and jointed construction pine to 2" x 5" and crosscut it to match the length of the WoodRat (36"). Actually, WoodRat specifies a 9" length dimension, I made mine longer because (add your best reason here). The top surface of the WoodRat is approximately 50" from the floor, which is approximately 18" from my eye-level. Because of its uniqueness, versatility, ease of use (dovetails notwithstanding), safety, ergonomics, and everything else, I give the WoodRat a 5.
But I believe that the time and effort spent towards taming the WoodRat is well-worth the investment.

Our shop has absolutely no open wall space, and I did not want to attach the WoodRat to one of our workbenches, so I decided to suspend a WoodRat "wall" from the shop ceiling. Though gravity is against you with the WoodRat, clamp-mounted brushes do a great job of holding the work against the underside of the base plate.
I milled the required rebate to 6mm x 12mm and mounted the hangers to the bracket as described in the WoodRat instructions. I spent considerable time with the accessories and non-standard cutters before learning the WoodRat and paid for it in lost time and some frustration. However, if you want a tool to grow with that WILL machine all of the joints described above, and you’re willing to tinker and work with the tool, learn it, and you’re willing to build or buy some accessories, the WoodRat is hard to beat.
Due to the sliding bar rattle and dovetail craziness-frustrations, I originally gave the WoodRat 4 stars. If you want the traditional, hand-cut look for your joints, no jig I know of compares to the WoodRat. It seems like every project we produce could have a portion of it completed on the WoodRat.
Other than the router noise, the overall experience at the WoodRat is much nicer than typical "router-in-hand" operations. Which is frustrating, because often the WoodRat WOULD BE the best tool in the shop for the job, only to find out once everything is mounted, the sliding bar rattle stops me dead in my tracks.

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