How to Make Router Templates

Router templates are helpful when you have to recreate the same shape or dimensions on several pieces of wood. If you are manufacturing chairs, for example, and you need to replicate the design on each chair you don’t have to keep measuring and making guidelines on each piece, all you need is a router template and your job will be easier. Follow the steps below to make router templates for your projects.

1. Template materials

Router templates can be made with different types of materials like wood and plexi glass or what is also known as acrylic. Some will prefer one type over the other but later on as you work with different template materials over time, you too might prefer a certain type of material. Each type of material will have their advantages and disadvantages. One of the important factors to making a template is the material’s thickness. It has to be thick enough for the router to follow along and shape the wood underneath. It is also important that the material be thick enough for router’s bushing to follow along. The bushing follows the shape of the template and if this touches the material you are trying to shape then you might compromise you work. Some materials will be a ½ inch thick or ¾ inch so you need to get the right type of bushing to use with the template.

2. Draw the pattern on the template material.

If you don’t have a finished piece to use as a guide for your template then you have to draw the pattern on the template material. Follow the dimensions carefully so you get it the first time. Use a bandsaw to cut out your pattern and then you can use a belt sander to smooth out the edges. Check the dimensions to see if the template you made follows the specifications.

3. Using the template

Before you use your template on all the pieces that you need to route for your project, you have to do a test run. So place the template on top of the material you wish to route and hold them together with clamps or screws. Guide the router along the template’s edges and remember not to force the router but simply guide it and let the router do its job. After inspecting your work and you find it satisfactory then you can continue on with all the other pieces. The router template will cut the time you need to accomplish the project.

If you encounter large pieces of wood, you can place the template on the piece and trace the outer edges or shape. You can cut most of the wood with a band saw and save about six inches near the template’s edges. This way you won’t damage the material and you can prevent accidents.


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