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I want to neatly and efficiently cut out the middle of a board like this. Of course I want the edges to be really clean and smooth unlike my amateurish drawing. I need to do this occasionally, so I need a good way to repeat the process on perhaps slightly different sized boards.

Suggestions on how you might do it? I could scroll saw it after drilling a hole, but I want straight, clean lines, and I'm not that good on a scroll saw.
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I did exactly this on my play kitchen project , for the sink cutout.

I made a template using some scrap 1/4" plywood. I marked the corners, and drilled them with a forstner bit that had the radius I wanted. Then, I rough cut the straight edges with a jigsaw and sanded it smooth. I held the template on the project piece and traced it, then rough cut the piece with a jigsaw. I screwed the template to the underside of the project piece and used a bottom bearing guided flush trim bit. You could do the same, or use a top guided bit.

The alternative would be to drill the four corners in your workpiece, then use double-sided tape to attach a straightedge, and flush trim between the holes. I chose to make a template, so if I messed up, it was on scrap.
 

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Hello Jerry…I agree with the template suggestions…Templates just take a small amount of time to get perfect but are tremendous asset in the shop…especially if you plan on reproducing some work.

I make quite a few templates out of 1/2" Baltic Birch ply

I have had custom templates made out of clear Lexan because, unlike plywood, they allow you to see through them for laying out designs…Well worth it because I have not had good results cutting my own Lexan.
Carol and I will be in Louisville again for the show…If you get a chance please stop by again…
 

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Jerry

MrJinx007 is right. Thatʻs one way to do it.

Depending on the size of the piece of wood that hole is going into and if it goes all the way through the board.

If it is going through the board, you could make a template out of 1/2 or 3/8 inch MDF or Baltic Birch Plywood and use a pattern or flush cut bit with either the router table or a hand held router. Again it depends on the size of the wood that this is being done.

If you are going to do it on the router table, you could use double-stick carpet tape to hold the pattern to the wood.

If you do it with a hand held router, make sure you make the pattern big enough so that you can clamp the pattern to the wood being worked and the clamps wonʻt interfere with the router base plate.

Use your scroll saw to make both the pattern and to cut most of the waste from the through hole. When cutting the waste, stay about 1/8 inch away from the finish line. When making the pattern, also stay away from the finish line and use a spindle sander to fine tune the template after scroll sawing.

If you donʻt have a pattern or flush cut router bit, you can always use a template collar with your hand held router or router table. Youʻll just have to make the pattern bigger to allow for the space the collar takes up.

Now if the hole doesnʻt go all the way thru the wood (like little scooped out depressions in the wood) then use a pattern with collar and appropriate router bit.
 

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Template, with either a guide bushing, a top bearing pattern bit, or turn it over and use a bottom bearing flush cut bit.
 

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You can dowel, pocket screw, biscuit joint,
miter or otherwise make a frame a little
larger than the hole you want. The frame
is for a router bit using a template guide ring.

The size relationship between the template
guide ring and the router bit will both determine
how much larger than the cutout the frame
needs to be and radius of the corners. Think
it through and it will start to make sense.

You can buy adjustable 4-way router templates
for these sorts of cutouts. They are a bit spendy.
Festool makes one and Trend makes another one.

If you need to make these cuts for a regular
product you manufacture, seriously consider
getting an overarm router. That's what they
are designed for.
 

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Jerry, this looks like a sink cut out. All you need is a pattern and pattern cutting bit. Drill a starter hole and be sure to move your router so that it is pulling into the pattern as you cut. I can help you with the pattern if you like. I would screw the pattern onto my material if possible. A screw is quick, sure, and easy to remove. You could attach the pattern on the back side. If you are using a hand-held router, I would make the pattern larger than the 12×8 material so you can keep the router flat while you work around the material. I can help you with the jig if you like.
 

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If it's always going to be the same size then router with template like every1 has suggested.

If the dimensions change from piece to piece I would make a track saw type jig but in a L shape. The L shape would do a couple of things for you. 1. cuts the rounded corners, 2. Always have square corner, and 3. works like a track saw so you just draw out the opening, align the jig, and get to cutting.

I think I just thought of a new jig… :pats self on back:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for all of your kind answers. I think a flush bit with a template will work well. All too often I proceed trial and error, but a set template will make the job easier when this comes up again.

Appearance is very important as it will be access to a pretty box from the bottom.

Thanks again everyone!
 

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the templates are great ideas, but if you are going to purchase a new flush cut router bit, you may want to decide if you want the bearing on top of the bit (above the blade), or below the bit (under the blade). it largely depends on your setup, if you plan to use a router table or a handheld router, and from what side of the stock you plan to cut.
 

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I'd use the template and router fitted with a pattern bit with the bearing on the top… Cut your template on a table saw, by moving the fence to the proper distance, clamping the plywood on the saw with the blade below the table, turn on the saw and raise the blade up through the plywood, and cut a square out of the center of the template.
 

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I was thinking about this last night, and I remembered that, when making the template, I did use the table saw. However, since it was 1/4" plywood and the template piece was large enough to keep my hands away from the blade, I set the fence, turned on the saw with the blade just above 1/4", placed one edge of the plywood against the fence and lowered it down to cut one edge. Turned the saw off, then repeated for the other edges. Then finished it off with jigsaw and sanding. That's how I got the edges straight. If you do this, you'll need to make sure that your piece for the template is totally square, else your opening won't be.
 

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If this is something you are going to repeat, make 2 templates - one is a "rough" opening and the 2nd is a finish opening which is a 1/16" bigger. This will give you a better finish cut and less burning. For the finish cut, use an up-down spiral carbide bit with a bearing for flush cut - and finish sanding with 400 grit.
 
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