Plywood ski jig - Router Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Default Plywood ski jig

I really like Harry's ski jig's but thought that most woodworkers wouldn't want to fool with getting the steel rods made. I came up with the idea of using a plywood "H" frame to support the router and it worked out ok. Here are the basic steps to building your own.

Start by getting the furniture hanger bolts, washers and knobs.(8 of each required) If you are building a ski jig for a trim router then 1/2" plywood and 1/4" hardware is fine. The jig shown is 3/4" Baltic birch plywood and needs either 5/16" or 3/8" hardware. Your hardware determines the size of the slots and the bit required to make them.

Next you will need the plastic to mount the router on. This jig has Lexan but Plexiglas would work just fine. The plastic should be 3/8" thick x the width of your routers sub base plate x the width plus 1-1/2" for the length. IE.. 6 x 7-1/2". Mark the center of the plastic by running lines from corner to corner. If you want to use guide bushings drill the hole and countersunk area to fit them or just cut out a 2" hole if the jig will only be used for planing and sign making. Using the sub base plate from your router as a template mark, dril and countersink the holes to attach your router.

The long rails of the H frame are 1-1/2" x 24". I chose this length so the jig would handle boards up to 10" wide without needing to adjust the router on the rails. The short rails are 1-1/8" by the short dimension of your plastic. IE.. 1-1/8" x 6". Attach the short rails to your plastic plate by drilling, and countersinking holes for #8 x 3/4" flat head screws. I centered one hole and added another 2-1/2" from each end so they would not run into the furniture hanger bolts when installed. These 6 screws had no problem supporting the PC 690 series plunge router. Using a router bit to match your hardware adjust your fence so it is 3/4" from the center of your bit and cut the slots in the long rails leaving 2-1/2" on each end. A spiral up cut bit works best for this. Clamp your long rails and the short rails mounted on the plastic(with the plastic on the bottom) to a bench and drill the holes for your furniture hanger bolts. Use two nuts jambed on the hanger bolts to install them. Fasten the long rails to the short rails with the washers and knobs This is best done with the pieces sitting on a flat surface; this compensates for any slop in the alignment. With the H frame assembled you can measure the spacing required for the slots in the end plates. Add at least 1" on each end, IE.. 7-1/2" slot spacing plus 2" = 9-1/2" length. I added more so I could make saw handle grips as shown in the photo; I thought this would give even more control.

I started on the end plates by making a template out of 1/4" Masonite. I cut the angle and used tin can geometry for the corners. By this I mean I grabbed a can of wood putty and used the base as a guide to mark the curved corners. I drilled two 1-1/2" holes for the handle and made straight cuts with a jig saw to connect them and then to shape the corners. A touch of light sanding and the template was done. I adjusted the fence on the router table so it was 1-1/2" from the center of the bit. I made the slot in one end of the end plates. Next I adjusted the fence and made the other slot cut. I attached the template with some double stick tape and routed the outside of the end plate to shape. I drilled a starter hole in the handle and routed out the opening. After both end plates were cut I changed to a 1/4" round over bit and rounded over all the edges. Assemble the end plates with the washers and knobs and it is time for alignment.

Install the router to the plastic plate. Set the jig on a table and support the H frame with pieces that are a uniform size on each end of the long rails. I used steel 1,2,3 blocks because I had them but you could make a set out of hardwood... 1" x 2" x 3". Since I was working with a piece of 2 x 4" for a planing test cut I used the 2" height adjustment. Tighten the knobs, install your bit and make some sawdust.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 06:17 AM
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Very interesting jig!!!
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 09:36 AM
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I've often thought of making a ski jig like that, nicely done!
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 11:44 PM
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@Mike - I am going to give your jig a shot. What is the length of the hardware hanger bolts? I haven't ever had the need for them so this is new stuff.

Note: My plexiglas plate is 3/8 thick 12 x 12 inches. I bought it to route some trays. I'd rather not cut it down.

Do you think I need to lengthen the rails more than 24 inches in order for the router to span the 16 inch diameter of the slabs I have?

I have some 5/16 inch knobs already so that might be an option for the knobs.

Thanks
Mike
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 12:31 AM
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Mike, would you do a video on making the skis ? If youould, please post it in You Tube.

Thanks

John
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 10:44 AM
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Does anyone know the size of the end plates?
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry I didn't respond to this sooner guys. There is no one size fits all plan since routers vary so much. Compare this small ski jig I built to help a member with his. The hanger bolt sizes vary between the prototype jig and the small jig. BrianS has the prototype jig and I am planning on building one for myself which will have a Bosch MRP23 installed on it and a second for sale with a PC 693. A plunge router is by far the best type to use on a ski jig. I promise to provide measurements and photos of the builds, maybe video too.

The small jig uses 1/2" thick Baltic birch plywood and has 5/16" hanger bolts, the length I used for this is 2=1/2". The prototype was 3/4" phenolic impregnated BB plywood and has 3/8" hanger bolts that are 3" long.

Building this type of ski jig needs to be done in order so you get a perfect fit. New mounting plate first, then the H frame. The end risers are last because you need the measurements from the installed hanger bolts fo find your width. I added 1-1/2" on each end to the hanger bolt spacing. I like the handles cut in the prototype but used square pieces for the small jig. It is easy to attach knobs for a different grip.

Working with this method using a 12 x 12" base plate does not present a problem. All the parts are sized to work with it.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 01:56 PM
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Thanks Mike. Appreciate it.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 03:20 PM
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Thanks Mike. It all makes sense!
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 05:01 PM
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Very cool jig but im just curious as to what its use is for?

Rene
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