Master complicated curves
Templates needn't always follow straight lines and simple curves. They also handle more complex shapes as long as the template corners aren't tighter than the diameter of your router guide bushing.This reversible template lets you rout mirror-image patterns, as on this shelf bracket. With a different pattern, you could rout matching tambour-door tracks in the inside faces of a rolltop desk or a countertop kitchen appliance holder. There's only one requirement: The workpiece should have at least one straight edge to align the template.Make templates from 1⁄4" plywood or veneered medium-density fiberboard, leaving an extra 3⁄4" of material on two adjacent edges. Size and shape the template to allow for the diameter of the guide bushing. With the template in position on the workpiece, trace the reference edges of the workpiece onto the template bottom.Then flip the template over and, along each line, drill two 1⁄4" holes so their edges just touch the line. Then cut four 3⁄4" lengths of 1⁄4" dowel and insert them into the four holes. Dowels should fit snugly enough that they don't fall out, but not too snug to tap through the template. For a tight fit, moisten dowels and allow them to dry before inserting them in the template.Next, choose a bit that creates the pattern you want, and attach a guide bushing sized to accommodate the router bit diameter and the desired offset from the template. Tap the dowels flush with one side of the template before you clamp on the template so the dowels register against the workpiece. Rout the pattern, as shown top left photo. Then flip the template over, tap the dowels flush with the opposite surface, as shown bottom left photo, and rout the mirror version of the first path.