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Guide bushings can be used very productively with a table-mounted router, but you've got to make a mounting plate to accommodate them. Details on locating the cen-terpoint for the bit opening and for drilling and countcrboring the opening are found in "Try This!" on page 50.

Beca use a router creates such a smooth, clean cut, it's ideal for cutting out templates. Curved segments of the overall piece can be guided by a trammel. Use a fence, as here,for routing straight runs.

straight, and cut slightly deeper, right in the center of the '/i-inch groove, forming a stepped groove. Using a template enables you to position the grooves right where you want them. (See the chapter "Decorative Treatments" for a brief catalog of the groove-forming profile bits that are available.)

Depth of cut is pretty easy to deal with, too. The typical guide bushing doesn't require a template more than ]A inch thick. You sacrifice relatively little cutting depth with the system. You can usually cheat the bit out of the collet the extra Va inch to V» inch necessary to get the entire cutting edge engaged on the work.

Equally important, the guide is in a fixed position. Regardless of the depth-of-cut setting, the guide is next to the baseplate.

With pattern and flush-trimming bits, on the other hand, the guide changes position with every bit-height adjustment. With a flush-trimming bit, the cut has to go all the way through the workpiece on every pass, because the bearing is on the tip of the bit and the template is on the bottom of the work. With pattern bits, the guide is on top of the cutter. Unless the cutting edges are very short or the template very thick (or shimmed up somehow), you can't manage a shallow cut successfully.

MAKING TEMPLATES

The making of a template begins with a project and a design. You lay out the design on some appropriate template stock, then cut and sand it until it's just right. In other words, you make the template pretty much the way you would make the final part if you had only one to make. Or if hardwood were cheap, and you could afford to start over on a new piece each time you goofed.

Sometimes you actually do make a real part in the real wood. Then that pan is the pattern. But let's focus here on making a template, assuming that it will be referenced by a guide bushing. A pattern would be made the same way, except that it would be actual size, without offset.

You've got to lay out your design in hill scale fust. It could be as straightforward as a little rectangle for a mortise or a square inlay. Maybe it's something you draw freehand, or that you use French curves or a flexible curve to lay out. A trammel can help you draw—and even cut—arcs.

You can do this design work on paper and transfer it to the template stock. But you may also work right on the stock. Do a good job: The accuracy of the template depends on it.

There are two important considerations here in the design phase. One is the size of the guide bushing or guide bearing you' 11 be using. The outside dimension of the bushing's collar dictates the minimum radius of curve you can have. If you're using a y*-inch-O.D. bushing, for example, you can't have a curve with a 14-inch radius. The bushing just won't fit into it. With this bushing, the minimum curve radius is Ya inch. There arc only a few situations in which it makes sense to design in sharp corners or bends so tight the guide can't get into them. A mortise is one of those few situations. If you do design in sharp turns, be prepared to do some handwork with a chisel or file.

The second important consideration is whether the template will

Beca use a router creates such a smooth, clean cut, it's ideal for cutting out templates. Curved segments of the overall piece can be guided by a trammel. Use a fence, as here,for routing straight runs.

be an internal one (sometimes called a female template) or an external one Cor male template). Your choice will impact on how inside and out* side comers are translated. Check out Choose the Right Template Style.

• An inside comer produced by any template will be "sharp." The corner will be radiused, mind you, but the radius will be that of the cutter you're using. If you use a /«-inch-diameter cutter, the radius of the comer will be Mo inch, which is pretty close to sharp.

• An outside comer will translate as a bend, not a sharp change in direction. The radius of the bend will match the radius of the collar.

The real deal with the internal and external templates here is that inside comers on one template arc outside comers on the other, and vice versa. If you want a comer to be just as sharp as you can get it, use the template that will make it an inside comer. In some instances,you may actually want to use two templates, one an internal, one an external.

After you draw the layout, you have to calculatc and scribe the oilset. Set a drawing compass to the offset, and use it to draw around the origi-

INNER EDGE OF OUTSIDE CORNER IS ROUNDED, f ft » OFFSET V )

IKKLR ED6E OF INSIDE CWMER IS ROUNDED.) R «RADIUS OF BIT j outer ed&e of inside corner is sharp.

WORKPIECE

s^, router pivots yi ) around outside ¡i / corners.

TEMPLATE

route« moves nn, . "^""into inside corners^

estops, moves back out at a OlFFERENT ANGLE-

rounded corners "here? or here?

sharp corners here.? or here?'

the external template's /

TEMPLATE

VORKP»UE

corner is the inside corner.,

/its iuside' \ /-"'"corner is tut x internal template's outside corner.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TEMPLATE STYLE TO GET THE CORNERS YOU WANT

ROUTING AROUND AN INTERNAL TEMPLATE.

OUTER E.DC.E OF OUTSIDE CORNER IS ROUNDED.

ROUTING AROUND AN EXTERNAL TEMPLATE

choose the stvle of template that will produce thl \ i shape tou

star shapeo with internal template star shapeo with external template

©CONNECT THE ARCS WITH SMOOTH. CONTINUOUS LINE.

TO LAY OUT A TEMPLATE

©DSAW THE CUT LINE ON ' TEHPLATE STOCK.] IEAVL ROOK FOR CLAMPS AIL AXCUND TUE DESIGN.

template stock-

EDGE OF TEMPLATE

J SET a COMPASS TO THE OFFSET, AND SCRIBE THE TEMPLATE LINE.

nal line, creating a new line parallel to the original. Pivot the compass around curves as necessary to maintain parallel. If you feel you are having difficulty doing this because the line is so curvy, try scribing little arcs, then freehanding a line that hitsand connects all the high points.

This new line is the one you actually cut. And if you've done the offset correctly, the router will return you to the original layout line when you cut the good stuff.

A number of different materials make good templates. Since most templates are 'A inch thick, hard-board is a very good choice. It's relatively inexpensive, yet it gives you a good edge, has no voids, and sands well. But it is dark enough diat pcncil-

drawn layout lines can be difficult to see. If the layout is intricate, try working on paper, then bonding the paper temporarily to the hardboard with spray adhesive (or that double-sided carpet tape stuff we're always recommending).

Quality plywood is usually okay, too. Just be careful about voids, splintered edges, and the like. If the template must be Vi inch thick, particle-board or medium density fiberboard (MDF) are good choices. Materials like acrylic and phenolic plastics make very durable templates that can be used again and again, if that's what you will be doing.

When you cut a piece of material for the template, be sure to make it big enough to support the router, and provide spacc for clamps that'll secure it to the workpiece without interfering with the router. Quite often, che clamping arrangements are the most challenging problem to solve.

TRY THIS!

If the part to be formed or embellished is symmetrical, you may have to make a template for only part of the overall design.

The oval template shown was made so a design could be routed into the bottom panel of a custom door that Fred made. The template was taped to the panel, and the router was run along the various grooves. Then the template was flopped and retaped, and the grooves were routed anew. These new cuts intersected those routed on the first go-around, completing the symmetrical design.

Routing an enclosed pattern with tight turns may seem impossible. But look at this design Fred produced (top). The secret is the reversible template. Although the slots in the template look like notations jotted in shorthand, they actually represent half the overall pattern. Fred uses the template to guide a laminate trimmer, which has a small footprint and is easy to maneuver. The pencil lines on the template help him position it (left). Because aligning the template is a little ticklish, and because carpet ia/w wouldn't let him shift the template this way and that to get it aligned, Fred instead uses packing tape to secure the template to the work. Line it up. then tape it down. It's important to clear the chips compacted into the slot after the first pass and to make a clean-up pass. Otherwise, the routed grooves can be uneven. To complete the design, lift the template after all the slots are routed and flip it over (right). The ends of the routed slots will be exposed by the pattern. This is how the tight corners are produced. After routing all the slots with the template in the second position, minor detailing with a chisel is all that's needed to finish the design.

Now it's time to cut out the template. The router ought to be your first-choice template cutter. A router bit will make a smoother cut than any saw blade, so you shouldn't haw to do so much sanding. Set up faces—or a template!—to guide the router. If there are curvcs with consistent radii and identifiable center-points, you can use a router and trammel to cut them. Just be sure you don't cut too far and screw up transitions from one arc to another. Stopshon and smooth these transitions by hand. You surely will want 4 smooth, fair line. If the template has a tight bend or two. use a bit that's the same diameter as the outside diameter of the guide you'll be using with the template. That will ensure that in (finally) making the good cut, the guide will be able to reference the entire template line.

Of course, you won't be able to use the router in every situation. The band saw and the saber saw are imaluable in cutting freehand curves. Unless the template is huge, you can quickly cut outside contours on the band saw. An easy way to cut internal shapes is with a table-mounted saber saw. You attach the saw to a mounting plate and hang it in the router table so the blade juts up through the tabletop. (See the chapter "Router Table Accessories.") Drill a starting hole in the waste area, fit the piece over the blade, then cut. You won't have problems clamping and rcclamping the template as you work. You won't have to remove and remount the blade, as you would with a scroll saw. The saw doesn't obscure what you're cutting, either.

A woodworker like Fred has a steady hand and a confident manner and makes the cut right to the line, without pause or hesitation. I generally cut shy of the lines and spend time filing and sanding to refine the template.

A spindle sander is another invaluable template-making tool. So arc files of various shapes. The sanding and filing can take a lot of time, but it's usually time well spent. The finer the edge on your template, the better your final work will be.

Regardless of the tool you choose, the goal is a smooth edge, remember. No wiggles, no bumps, no creases. Many little imperfections will telegraph directly into the work you

A table-mounted saber saw makes quick work of anting out an internal template. Drill a starting hole in the waste area of the template. Fit it over the blade, and cut. The saw won V obscure what you're cutting, and you won't have to clamp and reclamp as you work.

rout. And depending upon the nature of the imperfection and the size of the guide, the flaw can become pretty glaring. Any guide will transfer a convex bump like a ridge or a pimple right into the cut. The larger the guide, the more it will magnify that bump. Conversely, a concave bump like a dent or dip is least likely to show up in the final cut. The smaller the guide, though, the more likely it is that the defect will transfer into the cut.

My rule of diumb—and it's only mine—is that you should get rid of every pimple and ridge along the template edge. Be more sanguine about saw marks and dents, however. If the guide is fairly large, don't worry too much about them. If the guide is small, sand or file them away.

Fixturing a Template

Clamping arrangements, as 1 pointed out a bit ago, arc often the most challenging problem to solve.

A template with only one edge dedicated to guiding a cut is pretty easy to set. A couple of clamps may be all that's needed.

A template for a full perimeter cut—decorative grooves, for example—can usually be held to the work with double-sided carpet tape. To ensure a good bond, tap the template with a wood block and hammer right where the tape is, or apply clamps to it for a few seconds. You'll be surprised, probably, at how difficult it is to remove when the routing is done. Pry with a stiff putty knife or a scraper. It'll come off. (But be very careful if the template is going to be a keeper. Don't break it in prying it off the workpiece.)

But when you are making multiples, you want to expedite the posi

A table-mounted saber saw makes quick work of anting out an internal template. Drill a starting hole in the waste area of the template. Fit it over the blade, and cut. The saw won V obscure what you're cutting, and you won't have to clamp and reclamp as you work.

SHAPE £ND DETAIL WORK PIECES WITU A MULTI-TEMPLATE FIXTURE

FINISHED FOOT

FOOT CUTOUT TtHPUJl

U4C VTSTIUKWT NT MS VOO. &USW1WC TO ROOT FOOT CUT CUT •7"--

This template is a onc-pieeer that is carpet-taped to a hand-sawed leg. The way the template is laid out, it is used to trim the leg to shape with a flush-trimming bit, as shown. Then it II be used in excavating mortises for a seat rail and two backrest rails. You can see the "windows" thatll be used for these joinery cuts.

%'MICS FOR M.I1VNMIHT PWS

This fixture secures both the work-piece and the template used in embi'llisliing the work. The holes in the template fit over dowels in the fixture to align and hold it. Ken Burton, who made this particular fixture, jotted notes on the templates, as you can see, so he'd be reminded of the hushing and hit to use with it, how to orient it, and so forth.

SHAPE £ND DETAIL WORK PIECES WITU A MULTI-TEMPLATE FIXTURE

FINISHED FOOT

FOOT CUTOUT TtHPUJl

U4C VTSTIUKWT NT MS VOO. &USW1WC TO ROOT FOOT CUT CUT •7"--

This template is a onc-pieeer that is carpet-taped to a hand-sawed leg. The way the template is laid out, it is used to trim the leg to shape with a flush-trimming bit, as shown. Then it II be used in excavating mortises for a seat rail and two backrest rails. You can see the "windows" thatll be used for these joinery cuts.

tioning and clamping of the template as much as possible. The solutions generally involve some sort of fixture into which you place the work-piece. Hither the template is an integral pan of the fixture or is hinged to the fixture, or it can be quickly and accurately placed and clamped to the fixture.

Here are a few examples of such fixtures. You will be able to apply the same concepts to your own projects. I'm sure.

Ken's foot fixture. In making feet for a quilt rack, one of my woodworking editorial colleagues. Ken Button, Jr., made a fixture to hold the foot blank and templates for routing decorative details into the blank. Each of two details had to be routed into both sides of each foot, so fast changeover was imponant.

The fixture is shown in the drawing. Ken made it of ft-inch plywood and built it around one of the foot blanks to ensure that those he had roughed out would fit in it. The templates were made of '/-»-inch plywood.

When both fixture and templates were done, he lined up the two templates, one on top of the other, positioned them carefully on the fixture, and clamped them. Then he drilled through the templates and into the jig for the locating dowels. The dowels were glued into place.

To use the fixture, he dogged it to the workbench. He set a foot blank in the fixture and locked it there with the cam lever. After placing the first template over the locating pins, he routed the detail. Then he flipped the foot over and routed the same detail in the other side. Doing the second detail required him to turn the foot blank upside down in the fixture and then use the second template.

Shelf bracket template fixture. Here's a fixture you use as a jig. It's for holding shelf bracket blanks so you can profile the exposed edges on the router table. The bracket is contoured in a symmetrical pattern, and we want to rout two full beads along the edge with a small-sized molding bit. A guide bushing will control the cut.

This fixture secures both the work-piece and the template used in embi'llisliing the work. The holes in the template fit over dowels in the fixture to align and hold it. Ken Burton, who made this particular fixture, jotted notes on the templates, as you can see, so he'd be reminded of the hushing and hit to use with it, how to orient it, and so forth.

r lI

%'MICS FOR M.I1VNMIHT PWS

y small parts template.

fift iiouter tablt dfc small parts template.

fift iiouter tablt dfc

M. 6ASt

FIRST PASS

SECOND PASS

NOTE' NTS DIAMETER IS LA««* TUAW THE ftUSHIHC'S OUTS4DE. DIAMETER.

PORTWM 0£ UXit THAT 6E.ARJ ACAMST UWL BUSUWC

M. 6ASt

FIRST PASS

SECOND PASS

NOTE' NTS DIAMETER IS LA««* TUAW THE ftUSHIHC'S OUTS4DE. DIAMETER.

PORTWM 0£ UXit THAT 6E.ARJ ACAMST UWL BUSUWC

The construction of the fixture i> shown in Small Parts Template. The base of it is the template. The farce has a toggle clamp on it. which saves as both a clamp and a handle, lis quick-acting, so you can pop it (pen. turn the workpiece over or switch workpieces, and snap it closed in a jiffy. To position the workpiece (nd-to-cnd is a stop block, which von't trap rout-dust and throw off the position of the workpiece.

The workpieces arc cut close to the final line on the band saw. The

Pi is jig is used on the router table in conjunction with the (relatively) small nolding bit shown and a guide ksliing to produce a double bead tlong the edges of shelf brackets. Because the bracket shape is symmetrical, it's possible to snap it in the jig, rout the edge, then free the bracket andjlip it over to rout the rdge a second time, producing a itcond bead.

Pi is jig is used on the router table in conjunction with the (relatively) small nolding bit shown and a guide ksliing to produce a double bead tlong the edges of shelf brackets. Because the bracket shape is symmetrical, it's possible to snap it in the jig, rout the edge, then free the bracket andjlip it over to rout the rdge a second time, producing a itcond bead.

cut line has to account for bead projection, of course, but you won't get a consistently good edge if you try to hog off too much with the router bit. You should be making one pass to produce the first bead, then turning the piece over and making a second pass to rout the second bead.

This style of fixture can be used for all sorts of workpieces. Any part that has an edge chat is not routed and that can be maneuvered on the router table is a candidate for this sort of fixturing.

Two-leg template fixture. Chair legs, especially the back legs, lend themselves to template-guided contouring. If you are making a dining set, you will make anywhere from four to eight chairs. You doubtless will want them to be identical, yet that's a hard order to fulfill if you rough their shape on the band saw and then sand to the final contour. Not only will they all be slightly different, but you'll spend a lot of time at the sander. blinking and choking on all the dust.

But with a template to guide your router, you can mill off that last xAt to Vs inch of stock in minutes, and you'll end up with identical legs.

One problem is fixturing the legs. If you use brads or small nails to attach the template, you'll not only mar the legs but also spend a lot of rime pulling nails. Double-sided car-pet tape won't mar the legs, but it'll be just as difficult to pry the template off the leg.

This jig solves these problems.

WOTCU FOR TOP Of PAITIALLY shaped llc al*ms putt im Furrurt for SCCON0 CUT

THIS ECCC OF TEMPLATE QUIOtS ROUTER SHAPES FRONT Of^tC-

TUIS EOCE Of

TEMPLATE

CHIDES E* AS IT SHAPES BACK or LEG

AKTIAILV ROUTED IE4 IS SHIFTED ROM "CACX'TO "FRONT" Of FBCTUXE.

I EC GOES IN"BAOT OF FIXTURE FWST.

WOTCU FOR TOP Of PAITIALLY shaped llc al*ms putt im Furrurt for SCCON0 CUT

CONTOUR OF TOP AMD BACK OF LEG

, LE6 BL AUK-MORTISED AMD fcAWDSAVED TO ROUCU SUAPE

FIXTURE HOLDS FURNITURE PARTS FOR TWO-STEP SHAPING OPERATION

ft PLYWOOD BASE TEMPLATE MORTISE FITS ONTO PIWS. PO5ITI0WIMC LEC BIAMK IM FIXTURE FOR FIRST CUT.

CONTOUR OF TOP AMD BACK OF LEG

, LE6 BL AUK-MORTISED AMD fcAWDSAVED TO ROUCU SUAPE

FIXTURE HOLDS FURNITURE PARTS FOR TWO-STEP SHAPING OPERATION

Finding a way to position workpieces in a fixture accurately and consistently is often a challenge. Fred designed this fixture to use the apron mortise to position a chair leg so its back edge and ends can be routed. Two dowels project into the mortise and hold the leg. A second leg, which has already been partially machined, is positioned in the other half of the fixture. This leg's machined ends fit into shaped blocks, aligning it. Then the template is dropped onto the fixture and tightened down with wing nuts. After both legs have been routed, the template is removed and the workpieces shifted.

It holds two legs. You rout the front edge of one leg and the back leg of the other. Then you open it up. and switch the work around.

Though you may never make chairs, the concept of this fixture may give you an idea that'll solve your particular template problem.

Tablctop template. A porringer table is a traditional form that incDrporates almost outlandish circle contours at the four comers of its top. It provides an excellent example of how you can repeat an element by repositioning a template.

Instead of trying—and probably failing—to make a template with

Using the tablctop template is straightforward. The top obviously should he cut to rough shape using a saber saw or on the band saw. Use the alignment lines to position the template and clamp it outside the area of the quadrant being machined. The two different cuts can be made especially quickly if you have two routers. Set one up with the straight hit. and trim the tablctop to its final shape ileft). Then, without moving the template, switch to the second router, set up with the round-over bit. and rout the decorative edge (right).

four comets exactly alike, you can make a template for one corner. Lines scribed on the template make it easy to set it accuratcly on the rough-sawn tablctop. Guide the router around the template, machining the tablctop to its final contour and edging it at the same time.

Again, you may never make a porringer table. But you just may someday find a use for a template that helps you repeat a pattern several times to create a single item.

TEMPLATE

SWITCU TO V PLUHftE ROUND-OVER Brr AKD V»"O.D. SUSulwi TO ROUT EDPROFILE.

TABLETOP

USE VrSTRAKiUT BIT AND WO.D BUSNING TO TRIM TABLETOP TO FINAL SHAPE.

rout diagonal quadrant

CENTERUNE SCRIBED ON TABLETOP\

TO POSITION TEMPLATE, N LINE UP CENTERLINEJ SCRIBED ON IT WITH THOSE ON TABLETOP.

RE.PLAT AN ELEMENT BY REPOSITIONING THE TEMPLATE

TURN TEMPLATE TO

FUP TEMPLATE OVtf TO ROUT ADJACENT V OUAORANT.

TABLETOP;■ CUT TO R0UV4 SHAPE WITH r SABER SAN».]

-TEMPLATE

POSITION CLAMPS WHERE -TUEY WOUT INTERFERE WITH THE ROUTER.

AN ADDED BONUS! USE TUE TEMPLATE FOR TWO CUTSl

TEMPLATE

SWITCU TO V PLUHftE ROUND-OVER Brr AKD V»"O.D. SUSulwi TO ROUT EDPROFILE.

TABLETOP

USE VrSTRAKiUT BIT AND WO.D BUSNING TO TRIM TABLETOP TO FINAL SHAPE.

ROUTING ALONG ATEMPLATE

Position the pattern on your stock. If you are making the same inside cut in several pieces, you can attach fences to the underside of the pattern to help position it on the wolkpiece.

Cbmp the pattern in position, yt the depth of cut. allowing for the inickness of the pattern.

If you arc routing around the edge cf the pattern and workpicce, just mm on the rourer and begin routing counterclockwise.

If you arc routing inside the patient and workpicce, such as for a mortise, you'll need to plunge the bit. With a plunge router, this is easy. Jjsi position the router on the work and hold the guide bushing against the pattern. When you are ready, plunge the bit into the stock and guide the router clockwise around the pattern.

To rout an inside cut with a fixed-base router, you'll have to tip the tool into the cut with the motor running If the area you're going to rout is large enough, drill a hole whose diameter is larger than the router bit diameter. Start the cut by casing the bit into the hole. Make shallow passes until you have routed to the final depth.

INLAY BASICS

Inlay is the process of cutting a shallow recess in a wood surface, then insetting a perfectly matched patch. The intent is usually decorative. You can set a square or circle of a different wood into a surface. Or instead of outlining an element with a profiled groove, you can inlay a strip of contrasting-colorcd wood. But you

One of the hazards of shaping curved edges—the stuff of template-guided work—is chip-out. This occurs most frequently when moving across end grain, but it can happen anywhere.

One o: the most common causes of this problem is making a cut that's wider than the radius of the cutter. The cutting edge pushes out on the wood as it exits the cut, and when the bit is more than half-housed in the cut, the cutting edge has leverage on the wood fibers along the edge. There's nothing behind those fibers to keep them in place, so they splinter out.

Here's a two-step way to moderate this problem.

First, reduce the width of the cut. Ideally, you shouldn't be removing more than Me inch of material from around an edge.

Second, use the largest-diameter cutter you can. This reduces the angle between the cut edge and the exit point, thus reducing the cutting edge's leverage.

REDUCING EDCjl CUIP-OUT

V./

WA.Mill« en TO M6M.KATL 0« Li. IM IN ATI CM'-OVT.

WA.Mill« en TO M6M.KATL 0« Li. IM IN ATI CM'-OVT.

FEID CLOCKWISl IWJJOt ATEMPlfcTC.

TOR TEMPLATE-GUIDED WORK

FEED DIRECTION

TOR TEMPLATE-GUIDED WORK

FEED DIRECTION

FEID CLOCKWISl IWJJOt ATEMPlfcTC.

means you must move the router counterclockwise. If you are routing within a workpicce. such as when making a mortise, you must rout clockwise.

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The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

Wood finishing can be tricky and after spending hours on building your project you want to be sure that you get the best outcome possible. In The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing you will learn how to get beautiful, professional results no matter what your project is, even if you have never tried your hand at wood finishing before. You will learn about every step in the wood finishing process from a professional wood finisher with years of experience.

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