Uses for an Overhead Router

Overhead routers are an old technology, but they have their uses. June 5, 2006

I have a chance to buy an overhead router. I make mostly cabinets and have always been curious about what I could do with one. What are some of the useful things a person could accomplish with a machine like this?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
They are mostly used to copy parts using a pattern. This is what was used to cut out repetitive parts before the CNC router was invented. It could be used like a shaper but with the bits being above the table; not the safest way to go.

From contributor D:
Some shops use them as dado machines to get a consistent cut in undersized plywood. Set the bit 3/8" above the table and no matter how thick (or thin) your plywood is you always get a consistent tongue left over. This makes it easy to make precise cabinet widths. Cut your top and bottoms to the final width desired - 3/4".

From contributor L:
We've got an SCM R8, and we still move it out and use it once in awhile but the CNC has pretty much taken its place. If you don't have a CNC you may get some more use out of it. They are very effective at copy routing. Ours has a tilt table that gives it one-up on the CNC for some uses. If you get one be sure to have the guard in place, when you touch the pedal the bit comes down quickly.

From contributor G:
Our SCM R8 cost us 500 bucks from guys across the road that were moving. Use it once and a while. The plunge does not work which is a pain as you can cut mortises neatly with it. We use ours for rebating entrance doors as pairs and for cutting groves in stair treads to take slip strips.