Can you template rout an interior shape? Lets say I want to make several identical 6" x 9" oval frames. Could I use a jigsaw to roughly cut out the interior, and then attach a template and use a flush-trim bit in the router table to perfect the interior? Or does that turn into one of those dangerous climb cutting operations?
Yep, you can do it. It may be easier with a hand held router. With hand held, you'd go left to right or clockwise. One issue could be cutting into the grain in spots - it depends on how your frame is put together.
Done it many times.. although I use guide bushings on the router and free hand it. And you control the direction of cut, so if you go the right way, like Mike said above, you shouldn't have any problems. The hardest part is making the template, but at least you only have to do that once
An advantage of using template copy rings in a handheld
router (you can get them for router tables too but they
are not common) is the trim cuts can be made in small
depth increments. With a round frame you're bound to
have some difficult grain and taking many shallow depth
cuts reduces tearout issues considerably.
A topside template might be a retangular base with a 3/4"
piece of material glued to it in the shape of the outside of
the frame. Then the frame is dropped in and the actual
1/4" template is layed over the top and screwed to the
back of the frame and to the base, so it's all locked together
and won't move while you do the routing.
Climb cutting is an advanced technique of routering around tough grain to avoid tear out. That technique involves cutting with the rotation of the bit and not against the rotation. In other words counterclockwise for a inside cut. This is a potentially dangerous cut so it takes finesse, familiarity and experience using a router IMO.
An alternative (if possible) is to read the grain direction and route that portion of the oval frame clockwise down the grain with the pattern. For the other part of the oval frame where the grain direction would cause tearout, remove the pattern, rotate the oval frame over and reinstall the pattern on the other side and that would orientate the grain in the right direction to be able to route clockwise again
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