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Forming Perfect Slots

LAY OUT THE SLOT
For arrow-straight slots with crisp, clean ends and edges, let your router table, a few shop-made accessories, and a little know-how help you produce on-target results.

Drilling end holes and sawing out the waste between them is one way to form a slot. Appearance depends on your unwavering ability to follow the straight cutlines connecting the end holes with a scrollsaw or jigsaw. Here's a better method that eliminates the risk of wandering off course.

Draw slot boundary lines on the part, extending the end lines to the edges.

Chuck a slot-size bit in the router. Position the fence to center the bit in the slot.

POSITION THE FENCE

Align the slot left end line with the left edge of the bit. Position and secure the right stop.

SET THE RIGHT STOP

Align the slot right end line with the right edge of the bit. Position and secure the stop.

SET THE LEFT STOP

Using the part width to gauge the distance, clamp an auxiliary guide parallel to the fence.
Note: The part should slide easily between the guide and fence without excess play.

ADD AN AUXILIARY GUIDE

Using a bit 18 " smaller than the slot width, drill overlapping holes inside the layout lines.
Note: Creating a slightly undersized rough slot with a drill bit lets you rout a clean finished size slot in one easy pass.

DRILL OUT THE WASTE

With the right end of the workpiece touching the right stop, lower it onto the spinning bit.

MAKE A PLUNGE CUT

Feed the part to the left until it hits the stop. The auxiliary guide keeps the part in line.

ROUT THE SLOT

LAY OUT THE SLOT
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