When you're working with historic buildings, you've got to be prepared for just about anything. Over the past 150 years, changes in hardware and trim details, along with other product introductions and evolutions (weather-stripping, for example), have led to the need for a versatile tool like a trim router — also called a laminate trimmer or laminate router — that can make new things fit into old and odd places. We use trim routers all over the job site to mortise hinges, make notches for retrofitting hardware, and dado wood for custom grooves and joinery. Occasionally, we even work laminate.

Trim routers have come a long way in the last five years. Traditionally geared for use exclusively with laminate countertops, they are more versatile than ever and are great for getting out of small chiseling and routing binds where accuracy and precision are required. And since my company specializes in installing and remodeling historic...

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