Sometimes setting up a big electric router to do a small job is like swatting flies with a backhoe. What you may prefer, of course, is a simple hand tool that gets the job done with a minimum of fuss. The Veritas Small Router Plane, is just such a tool: elegant, well-designed, and a pleasure to use. So what would you actually use it for? Hinge and lockset mortises, for example. Often, you only have a few of these to make, so using a chisel to outline the mortise and a router plane to clean out the mortise's bottom can be faster than using power tools. Plus, you can easily make square corners. The Veritas small router plane is a much nicer tool than the old Stanley 271, which it's modeled after. Its base measures 3-1/4 in. wide by 2-1/4 in. deep. The blade may be reversed for bullnose work.
Lee Valley, 800-267-8735, www.leevalley.com, Veritas Small Router Plane, #05P38.50, $49.