Router Template Help???

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Forum topic by BrandonR posted 02-21-2012 03:20 AM 2107 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BrandonR's profile


64 posts in 2853 days

02-21-2012 03:20 AM

Hello All!

I am hoping for some advice for a novice woodworker. I have been making elevated dog bowl holders for a friends and a small craft shop. Across the front on a 1×4 i have been cutting out a bone with a jig saw/scroll saw. I hope to make many of these, and am wondering if I can make a router template to use to cut these out quickly… I am not sure where to begin…

Would i need a special bit for my router? What could I make the template out of? I am ok with the jig saw, but it is tedious if I am going to do several.

Any advice would be great!!! Thanks!


5 replies so far

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 4270 days

#1 posted 02-21-2012 03:30 AM

you will need a set of guide bushings or a bit with a bearing on it. those usually are 1/2 ” or bigger so the tightest radius you can do would be 1/4” the bushings are a bit harder to use as your template needs to be over sized. I THINK by the difference between the bit size and the bushing size, or half of that or something. when I need one I usually can figure it out quickly enough I am sure some one will chime in with a better answer :-)

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View terry603's profile


321 posts in 3473 days

#2 posted 02-21-2012 03:46 AM

some places call these a tracing bit. sometimes a flush trim bit. just need to make a template that can be used over again. like hardboard,plywood ,mdf. will still want to cut with your jigsaw near the line,but,the cutting bit will save you lots of time with the cleanup

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3445 days

#3 posted 02-21-2012 04:58 AM

You really need a router table rather than a hand-held router to do this. Then you can either use a template with a guide bushing as suggested, or use a flush trim or pattern bit with a template. If you make one perfect template, you duplicate it by attaching it to a blank, cutting it close (perhaps 1/8 inch) on your saw, then running past the flush trim or pattern bit in the router table to duplicate the template. There should be little or no sanding required with this method and decent wood. As stated you cannot have any curves with a radius smaller than your router bit.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View tbone's profile


288 posts in 4244 days

#4 posted 02-21-2012 04:03 PM

Brandon, I see from your profile that you are in St. Louis. You have a Woodcraft store and a Rockler store near you. Either store will be happy to show you (and sell you) exactly what you need for any of the solutions that the other lumberjocks have suggested above.
I personally would make a wood template out of a piece of 5/8” baltic birch plywood—cut the desired pattern a little larger than the finished hole should be—then use a 1/2” bit with a 3/4 OD guide bushing. I have a plunge router, so it’s not necessary to clean out most of the opening beforehand.
(safety tip) Guide the router clockwise for inside-of-template cuts.

Good luck.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View TexasJim's profile


86 posts in 3796 days

#5 posted 02-23-2012 07:40 PM

Good advice so far but thought I would chime in, too. You say you are a novice so a little explanation might help. If you use a pattern bit with a bearing, you need to cut the pattern the size you want the opening to be, use some double sided tape to attach it to the wood, cut close to the line with your jigsaw. The o.d. of the bearing on the pattern bit is exactly the same size as the bit. Adjust your router depth so the bearing is rolling on the template and the trace around the template and it will cut your hole to match the template.

You can do the same with a guide bushing and a straight bit. You will need to make the pattern a little larger than the desired opening to account for the bushing. I believe it is half the o.d. of the bushing but the folks at Rockler or Woodcraft can tell you for sure. You will still probably need to rough cut the opening so you’re not trying to cut too much with the router bit – it should just be trimming up the rough cut from the jig saw.

My preference would be the pattern bit (sometimes referred to as flush cut or trim bit).

Edit: technically speaking, I think a template means you are cutting around the inside and a pattern means you are cutting around the outside so if I mixed the terms in my explanation, my apologies.

-- If the world was a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

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