Channeling templates & touch when vision isn't 'Good Enough' - Router Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Default Channeling templates & touch when vision isn't 'Good Enough'

I have accumulated a box full of what I call 'standards sticks' in the first couple months of 'playing woodshop'. My vision is poor enough that just getting the blade to where I put the 'mark' is very difficult without both glasses and a magnifying glass.

Pretty much on instinct, I discovered that cutting a piece of 'whatever' to a specific length, and then using that as a template to 'set the fence' was a practical way to compensate. Several 'basic wood yardsticks' have been sacrificed to good us in this way.

Reading about the truly ingenious conversion of a digital caliper into a height gauge in another thread here, spawned the idea of making up a set of blade/bit gauges allowing me to practice the same principal on the other axis of 'the cut'.

Selection of the 'standard stock' is where my mind has ground to a screeching halt in the 'design process'.

The purist engineer inside is thinking grind them out of 1/4" or thicker steel, while the 'wood lover' within is thinking some species of hardwood should be good enough.

I am interested in the experiences of other users that make 'templates' solely for the purpose of 'speedy measurement/tool setup'. Specifically what has been good enough in stock selection and how it was cut to length. Several of my have been cut a tad long and sanded down to their final length.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 11:33 PM
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Steel is usually a bad mix with carbide cutting edges. Many use brass key stock for setting router bit heights and narrow saw blade cuts. Hardwood should work okay. There is a big difference from what is good enough from a machinist's or engineer's point of view and what is good enough for woodworking. Wood will move with humidity changes (mostly across the width, length changes very little) so trying for 1000ths of an inch accuracy is pretty much pointless.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Movement with Humidity is one of the things that has me thinking steel for some of my templates. There was a time where my idea of close enough was +/- .0001 in metals and .005 in woods. I am happy to say those days are long passed. Now a days I think more in terms of whether or not the end product does the job intended, or it doesn't. Thanks for the tip on my not wanting to run a blade/bit up into a steel template. Now I'm thinking aluminum or brass for metal templates.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 05:29 AM
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Direct measurement is my choice. i.e. set up blocks for routers, story sticks for case work, duplicates for setting saw fences or length stops, drafting triangles, engineer's squares...etc. I try not to use measuring devices such as tapes, micrometers, calipers, as much as possible.
Now, in setting up machines to spec for accuracy and safety, I use the devices mentioned above, and more, quite often.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 08:27 AM
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Bill, MDF would be the best choice for your templates. Steel is a big no-no and even soft metals like aluminum and brass are very rough on bits and blades.

"Living in the D" (this means Detroit!)
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