inlay template - Router Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Default inlay template

I haven't been on here for a while....quite a while.
I decided to take my router skills to another level, and have made repeated attempts to try to get acceptable results in template routing. I'm trying to mount an aluminum car club plaque, approx 5" x 7", 1/4" thick, into a 2" x (?) board in a picnic table top. Please critique my steps, and make suggestions to make this go easier.

First off, I needed a inlay set with the correct size bushing and bit. I couldn't bring myself to spend $40 at a big name woodworking supplier, so I settled on the Harbor Freight set, #99552 for $8.99. Only 22.5% of the specialty store. Made of brass, and mates perfectly with my router template set. I'm using 1/4" hardboard, and I wasn't happy with the supplied spiral up bit as it didn't clear the sawdust very well. Changed to a 1/8" 2 flute CMT carbide #81103211 with much better results. The instructions with the kit outlined steps to make the recess first, then the inlay. Backwards for me, so I used this tutorial that I found online. https://www.busybeetools.com/pages/P...ur-Router.html Exactly what I needed, and the pictured kit has pieces that look identical to the HF one.

I followed the outlined steps with pretty good results; the plaque fits OK. The trouble I'm having should be the easiest part of the process; cleaning out the recess. Since the bit only leaves a 1/8" outline, extreme care must be used to clean out the recess near the edge. Any suggestions? I'm thinking about using the template, modifying a template bushing and use a narrow diameter bit to stay away from the edge until I get a some of the edge cleared away, then freehand. Or simply use a fence, and guide on the router base. Which leaves only the round corners to freehand. I know that somebody here has done this before, and has some tips. Thanks.

Last edited by routafinger; 03-18-2019 at 12:29 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 08:24 AM
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I have the same set from Busy Bee and have used it with a 1/8 bit without any problems. The only tips I can give you is to have lots of light on the workpiece and use a lightweight router like a Colt and go slow.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply Mark. One of my issues is the router. The only plunge router I have is the Freud FT3000VCE monster. It was a ridiculous Black Friday deal at Woodcraft a bunch of years ago, and I just had to have it, and unfortunately it's my one and only plunge router. I have wrecked a couple of plastic templates with my fixed base Craftsman routers, so I mostly use this one for template routing with larger and heavier custom made templates.

My biggest issue is cleaning out the recess, and the small 1/8" groove doesn't leave much room around the edge. I've got 2 ideas to solve that. Simply clamp a guide for the router base to guide on, and carefully freehand the round corners. Or modify a large router bushing, (shorten the bottom to 1/4" for the thickness of the template) use a smaller bit, and use the inlay template to get a larger margin before freehanding the middle portion. I'm guessing that router choice isn't critical for that step, but like you said, smaller and lighter is better. We all know that the outside edge of the recess has to be perfect, and you only get one shot at achieving that.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 09:21 AM
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The first thing to do is select the size of bit and dia of template guide that you intend to use. The simple formula for making the template is; template guide dia. minus bit dia. plus the size of the inlay.
Let us say you intend using a 1/2" bit and a 3/4" template guide, then we have:
3/4"-1/2"+5"=5.5".......by: 3/4"-1/2"+7" =7.5". That is a template with a rectangular opening measuring 5.5" x 7.5"
The simple way to make such a template that is accurate is shown in the photograph, four pieces cut so as to leave a cut-out of appropriate size.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion Harry. I tried that method first with not so perfect results. That's why I switched to a different way that used the approx 5" x 7" & 1/4" thick inlay to create the template, and that resulted in a near perfect sized recess.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 04:14 PM
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Frank I think your main problem is the router. I know there is no way I could handle a large router like that to do fine work like you are trying to do. I have a hard enough time staying within the 1/8" cut with my small trim router.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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I have a much smaller Craftsman fixed base I'll try, and I'll start away from the edge where the plunge would be so critical. I'll just try to tell myself concentrate and control. Thanks for the replies. F
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 11:38 PM
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Did you make your template to fit the aluminum plaque or did you allow for the bushings and bit when you made your template?

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 01:42 AM
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I would have made a template, as shown by Harry, the exact size of the plaque, then used a bottom bearing bit. I don't envision any issues doing it that way. Or, mark it out, then use a mallet and chisel. Just depends on the mood at the time. I'd also make a practice run or two first.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEBCWD View Post
Did you make your template to fit the aluminum plaque or did you allow for the bushings and bit when you made your template?
I followed the instructions I found online, and used the bushing, so the template is slightly larger than the plaque. After some thought, to do what I wanted, I'd have to fabricate a slightly larger bushing to to put on the insert to push the bit a little farther away from the template. If that makes any sense. Thanks for the reply.
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