Router Basics - Following Templates

The router basics presented in other videos come together here with a clear demonstration of how to cut a complex shape in a piece of hardwood using a router pattern and a flush trim router bit. Although the video does a great job of clearly demonstrating the technique, there are a few points that I'd like to draw attention to specifically.

In one of the other router videos, the technique shown is to first make a rough cut using an offset collar. The final cut is made using a flush trim bit with a bearing to follow the pattern. This particular video uses a slightly different technique, one that works especially well for hardwoods.

Instead of using a router, the hardwood is cut on the bandsaw to approximately 1/16" larger than the pattern. Then the final cut is made using the router and flush trim bit. If you have a bandsaw (some of us don't) then this technique is a great alternative to making a full cut into hardwood with a router bit.

Often when using patterns like this, the challenge is how to hold the pattern from moving while making the cut with the router. Clamps could be used but then they get in the way of the router and have to be moved periodically.

One method suggested here that I use all the time with great success is to use two sided masking tape to hold the template to the workpiece. In fact, this works so well that I use it to hold small parts down on my CNC router as well. The trick is to make sure both surfaces are clean (dust free) and smooth.

Sometimes the tape works so well that it's difficult to remove the template from the workpiece. At this point you don't want to ruin all of your hard work, so carefully use a putty knife to pry them apart.

Another great idea demonstrated here is how to make a cut on wood that is thicker than the length of your router bit. Note how he makes the first cut using the template as a guide for his bearing. The second cut is made using the newly cut shape in the hardwood as the guide.

As you view this video on wood router basics, watch closely for these little tips. They'll help make cutting using a router template go more smoothly and you'll achieve great results.

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