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Template and Router Speed Up Shelf Notching

Notching a shelf to fit tightly into a stopped dado sure takes a lot of time. You can cut notches quickly and accurately with this simple template and a flush-trim router bit.

Cut the template from 12 " Baltic birch plywood or any other high-quality hardwood plywood without voids. Make it as long as the width of the shelf and wide enough so you can rout the notch without the router baseplate bumping into the clamp (usually about 4"). Next, cut the notch in the template. Size the width of the notch as deep as your stopped dado and size the length to match the dado setback.

Now, align the side and front edges of the template with the shelf edges and clamp the template as shown. Chuck a flush-trim bit into your router and rout the notch. Reposition the template on the other end of the shelf and rout again.

—Ray Brown Jr., Boulder City, Nev.

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