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A good book and a good website.

I decided when I built this site that if there was better information somewhere else I would point toward it.  That is what this post is about.   I am going to recommend a book about using a router and also a very good website about popsicle stick bridge design.

The New Router Handbook

A router is a very good tool for many purposes.  It is probably not the first tool to buy, but using it with home made fixtures can do a lot of the work of very high priced machines.  When I bought my router many years ago I bought a copy of “The Router Handbook” by Patrick Spielman.  My version is out of print, but I have found a new version on the net by the same author,  “The New Router Handbook” .  The link will open to the Amazon site but I have found the same book sold elsewhere and sometimes at a cheaper price.
What I really like about my copy of book is he first teaches the fundamentals and then goes on to show and teach about how to make many jigs and fixtures to get maximum use out of the tool.  It is a book that teaches ideas and not pushing the machinery.  It does show the machinery, but then goes on to talk about how you can make many of the fixtures and obtain the same results.  For example, it will show using a “store bought” router table, but later will show examples of a home-made router table and even home-made fixtures the enhance the store-bought version.

The book has many illustrations, some are drawings showing principles and many are photographs showing both the home made and factory made fixtures and tools in action. The book is listed as paperback, but it is a large paperback book.  The pages are 8 1/2″ X 11″ and the book is about 3/4″ thick.  Again, I highly recommend this book based upon the older version I have.  I can assume it got nothing but better.  By the way, that book recommends to always cut the end grain first.  I did not understand why and did not do that and paid the price as seen in my previous post.

Popsicle sticks – not just for children:

I know many people like learning, creating, and making things, but space, time, and money puts them at a location where it is just impossible.  Popsicle stick construction is an interesting hobby.  Very often schools do contest type projects for students to build popsicle stick bridges.  However, as you can see in the video I am embedding that adults can also participate in this.  These were not only adults, but  bridge design and maintenance professionals that were having fun testing their designs.

binders for clamps

Popsicle sticks are inexpensive and can be found at many craft stores and on-line.  The only other equipment needed is some also inexpensive white glue (Elmer’s Glue-All), some clamps and a small work space.  This website, Model Bridge Design, will provide you with the information needed to start building and testing your designs as well as many motivational videos of others testing their designs.

Most of all, have fun, be creative, and don’t let time, space, and money stop you.


(the video of the bridge testing is below.)


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