On the 16th May 2017 I visited Heathcote High School. At the request of Mr. Steven Somerfield, I carried out an inspection of a router guide. The purpose of the inspection was to determine if the machinery complied with the Australian safety standards. The Universal Router Guide was manufactured by Mr. Somerfield.
Inspection disclosed a bench mounted timber-holding device specifically designed to hold timber to be routed. The device consisted of aluminium box shaped housing with three self-centering vices mounted within; the top of the box section was open with guide rails along either side. The guide rails ran along each side of the length with stop pieces each end. The guide rails were spaced apart so as to guide a suitable router. There were adjustable stops for the guide rails so as to be able to stop the router at a predetermined point.
Mr. Somerfield demonstrated the device by placing a square piece of timber within the three vices, clamping it and cutting it using a router fitted with a 12mm straight cutter. The timber was automatically centred by the vices and was held in position lengthwise by an end stop.
It is my opinion that this router guide is very well designed and a very safe way to router items of timber such as legs and corner pieces. The design eliminates most of the risks associated with the use of routers. The timber is firmly held within the guide's box section and the router is suitably supported whilst cutting the work.
The Universal Router Guide is not a machine it is a holding jig and therefore the Australian machinery safety standards are not applicable. The jig however improves safety when using a router.
I would recommend the use of this jig as a safe method of training students in the use of routers.
R. Roberts - Machinery safety specialist 23rd May 2017.