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Advanced (?) Template Routing

6172 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  BobandRick
Hi everyone - this is a very helpful forum, and I am really glad I found it. I have some questions for the people that may have more template routing experience than I do. This is (in my opinion) a pretty tough question, but I know there are some math whizzes and router experts who can set me straight on what I am doing right and wrong. The project I am working on is a custom game table. I am hoping to create some unusual joins using my router instead of my ususal method of jointing boards with straight edges using a jointer and table saw.

Here is a basic diagram of what the top of the table will look like:

Here are the diagrams that I plan on printing and using as templates:

(each piece above will be made twice to complete the eight edges of the table)

(also, please ignore the little rounded tails on the piece diagrams above - those are artifacts from the program I used to create these shapes...I will be cutting these 'flush' to allow the different table edge sections to mate with one another along a flat line)

At this point, I am interested in the perimeter of the table; I'm reasonably sure I have everything else under control. The 'white' and 'blue' areas in the drawings above are contrasting species of wood (4/4 planed to 13/16") joined in a curved manner.

My idea was to print the diagrams above at full size, and then cutting the patterns in 1/4" MDF using the bandsaw. I would then use a plunge router, a downcut spiral cutting bit, and a router bushing to cut the three pieces needed for each section of the table.

My concern has to do with the fact that you need to use undersized templates when working with router bushings. I am wondering what will happen if I just make the templates and route my pieces using templates that are the same size as I have designed the piece - I know that the ultimate dimensions of the table will be different, and I'm ok with that, but I am wondering if the pieces will fit together if I do things this way. I need to make sure that a) the 'outside edge' pieces mate with the 'center' pieces (the blue in the diagram above), b) the 'inside edge' pieces mate with the 'center' pieces, c) the 'center' pieces connect to one another flawlessly to create the illusion of a continuious piece along the center of the edge of the table, d) the 'inside' edges should line up to create a perfect internal octagon, and finally, e) the outside edges need to line up to create the planned outside shape.

Does anyone have any insight into whether what I am planning is wise, or any ideas for doing this differently? Thanks in advance for your comments and thoughts.
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Bill, I forwarded you request to Template Tom. He seems to be the most gifted forum member when it comes to templates, outside of Bob and Rick of course. He comes up with solutions in ways I would never of considered. Here is my input on the subject:
If you make your template full size try using a flush trimming pattern bit with a bearing to guide you. Rough cut your pieces slightly over size and use the router to give them a fine edge. If that is too easy go with the guide bushings.
Bill...excellent information on what you are intending to do in "Woodworking with the Router" by Hylton and Matlack on pages 158-161. Using that method, joints will fit perfect.
Thanks for the Information

steveo said:
Bill...excellent information on what you are intending to do in "Woodworking with the Router" by Hylton and Matlack on pages 158-161. Using that method, joints will fit perfect.
Great stuff, thanks to all who responded. :D
Thanks Mike for the confidence you have placed in me to direct Bill

I can see lots of problems trying to connect all pieces together to make the final pattern.
I would be prepared to construct a simple template (I know it will be large) though there are no dimensions given or are the pieces drawn full size?

In my opinion it will require to be done with a female template (one) once the top has been constructed or in two halves the make the final joint to complete the top.(Vertical joint.) This would mean a smaller female template that would be required.
Sorry for the short reply I have just arrived home after a visit to the Eastern States
I should have said I would be interested in Bob or Ricks answer
Looks like you want to make interlocking jig saw pieces like our series 8 the candy carrousel. This is difficult to explain without diagrams and photos but the techniques are layed out in our router project plan 807/808. check the plan here.

1) Interlocking Pieces:
Basically you want to make a master pattern with your bandsaw then use the master pattern, portable router, 1" guide, and 1/2" straight bit with one pass to make the two pattern fixtures to cut your interlocking pieces. The master pattern must allow the center of 1/2" router bit to cut on the joint line of the two kinds material. Repeat this operation for other side of the interlocking pieces, which means you have 2 joints per piece X 4 pieces = 8 master patterns to complete the interlocking joints. If your looking for a challenge, this is the project.

2)Inlay techniques:
Another way is to make it an inlay into the base material. This can be glued up as the outside frame then make one template to cut the inlay or four templates to cut the individual pieces. A little less need of skill but still a difficult project.
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