Template Routing Tips Muskego WI
West Allis, WI
New Berlin, WI
Milwaukee (Wauwatosa), WI
Template Routing Tips
Template Routing Tips
by Randy Johnson
If you want to get the most from your router, you need to master template routing. Once you learn the basics you can spend a lifetime exploring its many possibilities. You’ll be able to build more kinds of projects, more accurately and more easily.
Template routing has two big benefits. The first is repeatability.With template routing you can make one or 100 parts that are exactly alike. Second, template routing simplifies the job of making curved or complex shapes.
A midsize fixed- or plunge-base router is fine for most template routing. We prefer router bits with a 1/2-in. shank for their strength but many 1/4-in. shank bits will do a good job as well.
Bandsaw Guide for Rough Cutting
A template-following guide on a bandsaw makes it easy to rough cut workpieces prior to routing. The bandsaw blade sits in a notch about 1/8-in. back from the round end of the guide. The guide follows the edge of the template while the workpiece is cut oversize by 1/8 in., which is just right for most
projects. Rough cutting your workpiece removes excess material so your router doesn’t have to work as hard. You will also get less chipping and burning.
Use the Right Bit
There are three basic template router bits: a pattern bit with a top bearing, a flush-trim bit with a bottom bearing and a straight bit combined with a guide bushing which fits in a router’s baseplate. When possible, use the largest diameter bit that your router, template or wallet can handle, because large diameter bits are less likely to burn, chip or chatter.
The diameter of the bearing on the pattern bit and flush-trim bit equal the cutting diameter of the bit. This simplifies template design because the template is made the same size as the finished workpiece.
Using a guide bushing for template routing requires the template to be bigger or smaller than the final shape of the workpiece, depending on whether you rout on the inside or the outside of the template.
Sizing the template can be a pain, but a guide bushing allows you to use any shape bit that will fit through the hole.
Span the Area
A wide auxiliary baseplate is the best way to span open template spaces. It can be made of plastic or wood and should be long enough to prevent the router from falling into the template opening. Double-faced carpet tape works well for attaching the auxiliary baseplate to the router’s main baseplate.
Tools for Template Shaping
The two most useful tools for shaping and smoothing router templates are a disc sander for outside curves and an oscillating spindle sander for inside curves. A drum sander on a drill press and a belt sander also work well.
Carpet tape is a quick way to attach a template when you are only making one or two parts. Make sure...