Using a portion of a template to make a project
I should have posted these a while back, hopefully they'll be valuable for someone in the future.
I had to make a ship's wheel for a pirate graveyard display for a Girl Scout halloween function a few years back. My father was kind enough to loan me the wheel, but I didn't think he would want it left in the yard for a few days. The solution was to copy it and reproduce it out of something 'disposable'. I thought about just tracing it and cutting it out with a jigsaw, but I doubt I would have had any luck getting it to look remotely symetrical. An obvious solution was a template.
I traced it on to 1/4 inch MDF (I wish I had used 3/8, that would have given more bearing surface to ride on) but only traced a quarter of the wheel. I used my scrollsaw to cut it out, and found that 18" of throat depth wasn't quite enough, I had to cut the interior out in 2 steps. A little bit of sanding to refine the shape just a little and I had the template.
I put the template on to a piece of 3/4 mdf, and traced it's outline. I drilled an index hole at the center of each spoke, and transferred them to the MDF. I did a test, spinning the template, putting a nail in the index hole and tracing the outline until I got all the way around. I missed the final index hole by just under 3/16 inch, but the the outline I had traced on the sheet looked good.
I cut out the bulk of the material with the jig saw and started routing. I used 2 different pattern bits, one that had a 1/2 inch cutting depth, and one that had a 1 inch cutting depth. This let me nibble away at the waste keeping the bearing on the template. When each section was done, the template was rotated.
The finished result was a success, and a pretty respecable copy. It was finished with matte black paint and satin poly.