Commercial processes

A commercial process is a method of manufacturing that takes place in industry. For timber this includes:


The cutting blade on a router will spin at a high speed. Material is removed as the user moves the router over or through the timber, which is held securely. A centre lathe on the other hand, holds the timber securely and spins this at high speed. The cutting tool is controlled by the user and is moved into the timber to remove material.

A router can either be hand-held, mounted to a table or even computer controlled. All routers work by rotating a cutting bit at high speed. As the cutting tool passes over or along the edge of the timber, a cut or profiled shape is made. Routers can plunge into a material to cut holes. They can follow jigs or patterns, for example kitchen fitters might follow a pattern to join worktops together.

A hand-held router is either plunged down onto the timber or moved along an edge. A table router is fixed upside down so that the cutter protrudes from the table top. Both types of router produce the same effect. A computer controlled router, or computer numerical controlled (CNC) router, works by following a cutting path that has been designed on a computer. The material to be cut is fixed to a cutting bed so that the router is the only part that moves.

A hand-held silver router with a flat, square, metal base used for wood.

Hand-held router


A lathe works by spinning a piece of timber at speed. While the timber is turning, a wood-turning tool is pushed into the timber to change its shape. Some timber can be held in place by compressing it from end to end. This would allow a spindle or cylinder to be shaped. Another way to hold the timber in place is to screw it to a faceplate - the timber then spins on the lathe, and this would allow a bowl to be turned.

A worker’s hands shown turning wood to shape it with a tool on a spindle lathe.

Turning a spindle on a lathe