Template Routing in Woodworking - Getting the Basics Right

by Rahul Raheja manager

Experienced woodworkers know how difficult it can be to guide routers for achieving the perfect cut. The easiest way to avoid mistakes with Best router table is to use a template. Templates are simply patterns of the shapes that are required to be cut. Templates allow woodworkers to repeat cuts and shapes perfectly, however it is important to remember to use the same bit with the same collar and the same depth. This information must be recorded on the template.

The Ideal Material For Making Precise Templates

The best way to get the basics right is to start by making some simple templates. The most difficult part of template routing is making the template itself. All the important information about the final shape you want to rout should be encoded in the design of the template. The more accurately a template is made, the more time will be saved in the long run. In this way less time will be spent in sanding, fitting and fudging later in the manufacturing process.

Sawing, rasping and filing are time consuming and tedious to way to make templates. It is also difficult to make a perfect curve with hand tools. Accurate templates are most easily made with sanders and routers.

Templates should be dimensionally stable, durable and capable of taking the fine details. Solid wood is a poor choice for templates as it is not dimensionally stable. While steel is stable and durable if you accidentally touch a spinning bit to a template made from steel, you will probably wreck the bit and the template. Acrylic is transparent and allows for visibility of the work beneath but a slow bearing can generate enough heat from friction to melt a template made out of acrylic. Although all of these materials can be used, Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF) is probably the best choice and has shown to produce great results.

Templates For Repeatable Shapes

A furniture maker might be able to make a single curved shape like a decorative shelf support, using a scroll saw and an oscillating sander, just as fast as using a template router. But this would only be an initial occurrence. If the process is to be repeated template routing will be easier and faster. A router bit leaves a much smoother edge than a scroll saw and the edge will need a loss less sanding. Make the template using smooth gradual curves on MDF, by sanding to layout lines on a stationary belt sander.

For this type of work it is easier to use a straight bit with a collar guide because you can adjust the cutting depth to match the thickness of the shelf support stock. Collar guides will displace the cut from the exact edge of the template. With straight lines this merely entails positioning the template at the offset distance from the layout line so that the layout lines are just as straight.

Curves are a bit different. A collar will make the bit cut a slightly larger radius on outside curves and smaller radius on inside curves. The result will be a finished piece slightly different from the template, but not consequential. To find where the bit will actually cut, run a pen in a loose bearing with the same offset as the collar along the template to draw the layout line.

Cutting Shallow Mortises and Tapers on Small Pieces

Cutting shallow mortises that are clean and evenly deep such as those for butt hinges is a difficult task with traditional tools. A router guided by a template will give more accurate cuts faster and with less variation. Router stability on the template is essential to an accurate and safe cut. A router that wobbles with a lot of cutter engaged can break the cutter, tear the stock and template or even cause a kickback that can cause the router to fall to the floor. The machinery has to stay flat and stable at all times.

Some workpieces are too small to rout safely if they are sandwiched between a workbench and template. For instance to taper legs for a coffee table you can build a template that holds the workpiece in place with toggle clamps. Guide blocks can be used to position the side and end of the leg leaving enough room behind them to clamp the template upside down to a workbench edge. To get a smooth taper, the guide blocks must be secured at the desired angle in relation to the edge of the template. As the router follows the edge, it cuts the taper angle of the blocks in the leg.

Using a template frees the woodworker from following the edge of the workpiece. The router becomes capable of two more fundamental woodworking tasks: joinery and milling repeatable patterns. The initial investment of time to make a template for a precise task is well worth it. Your router will perform the task faster and a lot more reliably than other tools can.

About Rahul Raheja Innovator   manager

11 connections, 0 recommendations, 73 honor points.
Joined APSense since, June 26th, 2017, From hisar, India.

Created on Mar 20th 2019 04:54. Viewed 68 times.


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