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Templates for Router Success

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Make Your Preparations

Make Your Preparations

Make your preparations

In most cases, 1/4" tempered hardboard makes the best choice for template material. It's inexpensive and easy to work with.

How are you going to draw the shape you want? If you're not too handy with a pencil, you can find lots of useful samples from scrollsaw pattern books and kids' coloring books.


Print out the shape, trace it, or copy it on a photocopying machine. Doing this enables you to enlarge or reduce it. Remember that the diameter of the template bushing limits your ability to rout into narrow slots and sharp inside curves. You might have to modify the shape slightly.

Affix this pattern to your template material with spray adhesive. Cut around it with a scrollsaw. To make usable positive and negative pieces, drill a 1/16" hole on the pattern line, thread your scrollsaw blade through, and begin to cut, as shown in the photo at left. You'll have a positive template that you can use to make a raised shape, and a negative one that's suitable for making a recessed version of that same shape. After completing the cut, remember to file or sand smooth the tiny dent left by the starter hole.

If you don't have a scrollsaw, take great care with a handheld jigsaw, and finish up with a coping saw if necessary. Carefully clean up any rough spots with files and sandpaper to guarantee a smooth finished product.

Continued on page 3:  Now, Cut It Out


Comments (4)
neldor52 wrote:

You can also use a dremel tool to produce sharper inlay cuts

2/17/2015 06:18:40 PM Report Abuse
cmbaker71 wrote:

I do allot of scroll work and inlay the piece into the side of the box. The bushings and templates come in real handy, but trying to make the templates can be a pain and inaccurate. If you can get the use of a cnc machine it is much easier. I personally do not have a cnc machine, so I provided the material and had my son make them at his tech school.

3/29/2012 10:18:00 PM Report Abuse
Fred615 wrote:

With guides, you can adjust the depth of cut to suit your needs. With bits with bearings you are limited to minor depth adjustments based upon the thickness of the template and length of the cutting bit.

9/10/2010 06:45:32 PM Report Abuse
electronwriter wrote:

why do you need guides when you can get most sizes of bits with bearings already attached

9/9/2010 09:26:14 PM Report Abuse

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