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Routing perfect slots

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.

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Perfect slots

Drilling end holes and sawing out the waste between them is one way to form a slot. But success 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.

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1. Lay out the slot

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

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2. Position the fence

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

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3. Set the right stop

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

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4. Set the left stop

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

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5. Add an auxiliary guide

Using the part width to gauge the distance, clamp an auxiliary guide parallel to the fence so the part slides easily between the guide and fence.

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6. Drill out the waste

Using a bit 18 " smaller than the slot width, drill overlapping holes inside the layout lines. Drilling an undersized rough slot lets you rout a clean finished-size slot in one easy pass.

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7. Make a plunge cut

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

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8 Rout the slot

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

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