Camper Van Cabinets - Template Routing - Router Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2015, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Question Camper Van Cabinets - Template Routing

My question here is regarding template routing/flush trimming.

I have started this project with a modification of an existing cabinet to get myself comfortable with the cutting and routing before getting into a full on fabrication of a new cabinet. I cut out a new access door in one of the existing cabinets using a jigsaw. It went well and I gave myself a generous margin around the edge of the cut out and now I want to route the cut out cleanly with a flush trim router bit. The problem is I don't have a template but I do have a panel that I could use as a partial template. It has a cut out with the correct radius corners but the over all size isn't long or wide enough.

If I clamp this panel down and route the cut out in sections can I do a clean enough job or is it near next to impossible? I'd basically start with one corner and along one side and up the other, stop the route, move, realign and clamp the template and do the next section.

Has anyone done this successfully and can provide me tips?
Any advice?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-09-2015, 12:14 AM
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What you might do is use a straight edge and set up and route the sides parallel and square, stopping just short of the radiuses. Then make a radius template and clamp it so it lines up with the parallel sides and route the radiuses.

Herb

You might be able to use the cutouts for doors by adding trim around them.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-09-2015, 06:35 AM
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Yes, That would work if carefully aligned and clamped.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-09-2015, 07:51 AM
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I would make a larger template and cover the whole area instead of trying to do parts of it at a time. The template wood is cheap but messing the job up for the sake of a few dollars would cost a lot more.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-09-2015, 08:08 AM
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As long as your template has smooth edges and straight sides this will work fine. You do need to use a new router bit as resharpened bits will leave a small amount of material inside the template and make it difficult to align the template for the next cut. Before cutting the actual cabinet test new bits and make sure they do cut flush to the template, some might not be sharpened correctly to match the bearing.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-09-2015, 11:50 PM
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Another possibility. Frame (oversize) the desired opening with strips and then move the undersize template, fastening each move until all four sides are complete.
I hope this suggestion is easy enough to understand.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Well I went for it and just realigned the smaller template 4 times and the results were perfect! Thanks to all of you who responded and helped me give this a go.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 11:00 PM
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Good job Topher, now you have to make the doors.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2015, 06:44 AM
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Hey Topher,

I think we all would like to see progress photos!! I know I would...I have been thinking of making a small camper too.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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I'll continue to post as I make that progress!

Herb - the door for that cabinet will be made from the material I cut out since there is some T-trim and door trim that takes up a fair amount of space between the two. It's nice that I can resuse the material since it is laminated and color matched.

Speaking of which, I bought some laminate that is a very close match and modified one of the end panels of the cabinet pictured above. It used to have a door built into it but since I am making a new door for easier access I don't need two. I disassembled the cabinet and used the original panel not only for a template to route the door opening but also to route the outline of the replacement panel. Then I followed the simple steps of rough cutting the laminate, preparing the pieces with Contact cement, adhering them and then flush edge trimming. It was quite easy and just required some preparation to get all my material together.

I'm jumping backwards a bit here from my original post but these are the images of my modification in chronological order from the start of my cabinet mod.

I sketched out my intended cuts on the face of the cabinet. My goal was to align the top and the bottom with an existing door on this face so that things look clean to the eye. You will see that I have an inside line that is for the door outline and an outside line for the cabinet opening. Its a generous 5/16" between the two so I figured I would go ahead and use a jigsaw to make the cut and ensure I used a reverse tooth blade so that if I did chip laminate it would be on a non cosmetic surface ie. the inside of the cabinet. I also taped the inside of the cut line with blue painters tape and it seemed to work well to prevent chipping. A nice new sharp 10 TPI Bosch blade worked very well. As you can see, I relieved the corner radii by drilling a number of 5/32 holes to allow the jigsaw to maneuver more easily through these sections. I also drilled a few holes very tightly together which allowed me to get a start for my jigsaw blade.

Like I already mentioned, I wanted to eliminate the door in the side panel of this cabinet since it was no longer needed. So I used the old panel as a template and made myself a new one sans door. It was then time to laminate and trim and I'm quite happy with the results so far, its a perfect match. I still need to make a rabbet cut on this panel, add a few dado slots for shelves and then reassemble.

After I finish this modification to this cabinet I am going to tackle the kitchen cabinet which will be made from scratch. I decided to go this route because I felt the modification would let me get my hands dirty and help me build some experience with the tools and processes, especially the order of fabrication and how to leverage the tools I own.
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Last edited by Topher; 06-24-2015 at 12:37 PM.
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