By John Lloyd
Capable of cutting endless custom joints and templates, the PantoRouter is a really clever concept, says John Lloyd, but would perhaps be better suited to the machine-based woodworking enthusiast with an engineering brain.
As you might have already guessed, a ‘PantoRouter’ is a cross between a pantograph and a router, and just in case you’re not sure what a pantograph is, it’s a mechanical linkage made up of parallelograms, which is used either to collect power for a train or tram from overhead cables – possibly not much call for that sort of device in woodwork; or to copy or scale drawings – again, not something you’d immediately think would be of very much benefit to a woodworker. Unless, of course, you link this mechanical linkage up to a router. If there’s a router involved, then maybe this could be interesting.
Let’s go back to the chap who invented the PantoRouter, Matthias Wandel, whose stated aim was that he ‘wanted to build a machine to make tenons with rounded ends so they would fit nicely in the elongated holes from a slot mortiser.’ And that’s just what a PantoRouter can do, along with other things such as cutting finger joints and dovetails. In fact, according to the makers of this machine, ‘the uses are limited only by your imagination.’
I should perhaps confess at this point that I’m not naturally drawn to machines that do things like cutting dovetails; I still get a certain satisfaction from cutting joints by hand, but I do use a biscuit jointer, a mortiser, a Domino, a router table, and a whole host of other woodworking machinery, so this blend of router and multiple mechanical linkages that’s going to effortlessly cut, among other things, accurate mortise & tenon joints – one of the trickier joints to cut with precision – has certainly got my attention.
Good solidly built table, router mount and linkage; easy to change cutters; clever system for centring the cutter and easily adjusted depth stop; quick, effective clamping with Bessey clamps; could be very versatile and an exciting new, machine-based, way of woodworking for someone who likes a bit of maths with their joints.
Some Bristol levers are a bit cramped and close to other components; rather complex setup involving equations and tables; represents a significant financial investment.
4 out of 5
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