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I’ve made a few of these coat racks in the past using a band saw and not really enjoyed the process much. Recently I read about flush trim template bits and thought I could use that method to make it much easier. I got a ¼” and ½” flush trim bit with bearings on the bottom and used the plans to make templates out of ¼” mdf. I rough cut it out on the band saw and had a try at it with no luck. I started with the antlers figuring they would be the most likely to cause problems and I was right. There doesn’t seem to be any good way to come at them and I was getting a lot of nasty kick back and Im sure if I had gotten far enough into it, once the tines were cut out I’d be snapping those off too. Is a router table just a bad method for doing this? Should I be coming at it from the top with the plunge base and bushing? It seems like that would be safer because the part would be out of my hands. But my templates don’t account for the offset a bushing creates, and since my templates are made from the plans, I would have to re-draw the plans myself a little smaller for that, and I’m not very good at that. Any ideas on the best way to go about this? Also I’ve included a picture of a slingshot template I made but now I’m weary of trying this for the same reasons.

Thanks
 

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Ray, that group of cutouts would be a piece of cake with a fixed base router - with a template above and below your workpiece and carpet tape between the workpiece and the templates. Make the bottom template thick enough that you do not cut into your workbench. NEVER use a router to cut something you are holding with only one hand. We all may drive our cars or trucks with one hand, but it is best to keep both hands on your router the entire time that it is running - this is why the switches are almost always within easy reach of a handle. Hold on to your router WITH BOTH HANDS UNTIL IT HAS COME TO A FULL STOP!
There are anti-slip mats that are inexpensive and useful to go under the "sandwich". Provide some manner of indexing the top and bottom templates so that they are always aligned vertically while the workpiece is "sandwiched" between them. These "index points" need to be far enough from your pattern that nothing interrupts the path of your router. Use a bearing-guided bit (rather than a bushing on router base plate) and your horns should match perfectly to your template.

Caution: this takes great care to assure the top & bottom templates are an exact match and that your router bit is the correct length to allow the bearing to go against the top template and beside the bottom template. In my shop - we do this almost every day and I usually simply use flat head wood screws to hold the bottom template atop of a workbench. Indexing gets done with 1/2" bolts at least 10" from the nearest cut.
 

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Why not band saw? Hold two pieces with the carpet tape and cut both antlers at the same time. 1/4" or 3/8" blade. Fine toothed.

Much quieter, much safer.
 

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Piece of cake, I do similar stuff often. Most of my work is with 1/2" flush trim bits, and I do have 1/4" and 1/8" bits, if I want to go over it and make tighter corners, but for 99% of what I do the 1/2" works great. I've got several older Craftsman router, that take 1/4" shanks. And my bits all have the bearing on the end.

First, I start with 1/2" plywood. Make a perfect example of what I want to rout. Which means I might cut a piece out, glue a piece in, then shape it, which also means it could have a reinforcing piece glued on top to hold the piece in place. THEN I use that and route out a template/master/pattern. I call them masters. I then glue the master to a piece of plywood. This will then be routed, using the finished piece on top as the master, thus creating a master 1" thick. I could use just the 1/2", but I've been known to use that in my finished, meaning I had to remake one, so 1", with "master" printed on it, and any special instructions, et al, also written on it. I do not use tape, rubber cement, etc, been there, done that, too much of a hassle. Instead I use thin nails about 1 1/4" long, and drill nail pilot holes thru the master. I drill a lot of holes, don't usually use a lot, but have them just in case. Usually tack with about 1/8" out, sometimes flat, depending if they walk or not. Then trace around the master, and rough cut around whatever you're going to rout. Tack the master down, and rout. The 1" also gives more surface to grab onto and makes for safer working. When finished, I can usually pull the master loose, don't even need to pull the nails loose. If not, I have found that a little 6" flat nail puller (cost about $1) can easily be worked between the pattern and the routed piece to loosen them, then pull them apart.

Yes, that does leave little holes, but no prob. Your antlers need to be turned so the nail holes don't show on one side, then flip the master, rout the other antler, and then when you mount with the nail holes on the back, the antler goes the other way. Same with the side pieces.

With the main part of the head, slightly different. Rout one piece, then you glue to another piece of wood, nail holes down. Then you rout, using the first finished piece as the master. Then glue another piece down, rout, repeating until you have the thickness you want.

That's basically it. I'll find a picture of the grip I'm working on for a rifle stock I'm redoing, the grip is three pieces of plywood thick; the original piece was cut with the scrollsaw, then glued and routed. I'll also show a couple of plastic bag carriers that were done the same way, but I believe only two layers thick; the first layer was done with a master tacked down, then that piece glued to another then routed; the picture shows the bit used also. Whoops, I just realized, those two bag carriers are masters, before the nail pilot holes were drilled, not finished pieces. Finished pieces would look much neater.

I like masters, they give very consitent results, time after time. I usually make one when I am making three or more of the same piece, sometimes when only two. And I found a picture of one of my masters, it's the third one. Normally I use a piece like this to rout out a new piece, then glue it, and rout, to make a new master; but this is holding up very well. It took a number of tries and redoes before I got this done, but that is because it is to very close tolerence, and it is made from scratch, from plans in my head.
 

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Funny thing is that this reminds me of a reindeer pattern my dad has that he does on a scroll saw. His was free standing.

I really like this one (mounted head)!!!
 

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Funny thing is that this reminds me of a reindeer pattern my dad has that he does on a scroll saw. His was free standing.

I really like this one (mounted head)!!!
Heh. I did two reindeer, one head up, one head down, both free standing, and made masters the way I described above, and now if I want more just rout them out.
Mine are styled after those you can buy plans for costing around $20. But I didn't buy plans. Instead I found two nice photos, laid out a grid on each, then made a grid on plywood the height I wanted them to be, something like 4" squares if I recall right. Then just copy the lines in the plywood grid, cut out, fine tune it, and viola, you've got a master.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Joat, I think your method and mine were pretty similar, see if it looks the same? The difference I think is that I used a 1/4" master and yours are thicker and you nail them down where I had mine taped. But other than that, its just a matter of putting the template on top and running the bearing around it? Maybe my problem is that I run into a lot of end grain on this piece? It was kicking the work all over the place, too much to make anything nice.
 

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Ray, that group of cutouts would be a piece of cake with a fixed base router - with a template above and below your workpiece and carpet tape between the workpiece and the templates. Make the bottom template thick enough that you do not cut into your workbench. NEVER use a router to cut something you are holding with only one hand. We all may drive our cars or trucks with one hand, but it is best to keep both hands on your router the entire time that it is running - this is why the switches are almost always within easy reach of a handle. Hold on to your router WITH BOTH HANDS UNTIL IT HAS COME TO A FULL STOP!
You would go with the top down method for this then? As in moving the plunge router over top of the wood rather than moving the wood over top the router in a table like I was doing in my photo in the post above? I was wondering if that would be better because at least then when the router grabs the wood, it just kicks it out from under the router and your hands are safe. Of course if the router is kicking the wood I still have a problem. In the method you describe, the second template on the bottom is to lift the work up and keep the bit from cutting into the table right? Could you just route on a sacrificial surface so that you didn't have to index the templates?
 

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Joat, I think your method and mine were pretty similar, see if it looks the same? The difference I think is that I used a 1/4" master and yours are thicker and you nail them down where I had mine taped. But other than that, its just a matter of putting the template on top and running the bearing around it? Maybe my problem is that I run into a lot of end grain on this piece? It was kicking the work all over the place, too much to make anything nice.
Ray, I don't see a safety guide pin in your router setup photo. A guide pin will let you safely ease into the bit and should cut back on the the piece being kicked about. It would also allow you come from two directions on some of the curves which can help eliminate the kick back.
 

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Hi

You don't need safety pin, I have many of them and most are a PITA to use a simple block of 3/4" thick plywood it will do the trick, you call it a 1/2 fence open on one end so to speak, that's clamped right to the router table to top,right next to the router bit it will let you get on the bit safe and easy...

You can add a pickup up tube to the plywood if you like :) works great for many router jobs.


==
 

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No I dont have a safety pin. I've been holding off on putting one in because Im going to get an offset wrench for the collet, which will mean the hole in the table will need to be bigger to fit it and if Im going to do that I may as well make a set of inserts while Im at it and that would determine how close I could put the pin. In fact when I think about it, I may just end up making a whole new table so that I can make it a little bigger. Also that half fence idea in place of a pin is a cool idea but it wouldnt let be get into those narrow spaces in between the tines of the antlers. I did run that slingshot template I had in my first post tonight on a 1" piece of plywood and had a much easier time, so it must be entirely the end grain thats causing me so much trouble.
 

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Maybe my problem is that I run into a lot of end grain on this piece? It was kicking the work all over the place, too much to make anything nice.
Hi Ray, or should I call you Churchill? :unsure:

Are you roughing the blanks to within 1/2 the diameter of your bit on the saw (bandsaw/jigsaw/scrollsaw) before starting with the router? What diameter router cutter are you using?

For template work I always start by roughing out the parts slightly oversize using a jigsaw or bandsaw. I try to saw within about 3mm (1/8in) of the finished component line before starting to trim with the router. Reducing the amount of the material you are removing with the router cutter means that the cutter will be able to handle the waste far more easily leading in turn to less chatter, less scorching and a much reduced chance of kickback, especially on end grain.

I've always found it better to do as much work as possible with a larger diameter bit before (if necessary) detailing with a smaller one. I pretty much always use a 19mm (3/4in) template bit as my main template cutter. The larger diameter bit means that I needn't be as fussy about roughing out near to the final cut line - but you should always aim with template trimmers to remove no more than 1/2 the diameter of the cutter in any case on safety grounds. If the pattern requires intricate detailing I still do the majority of the trimming with a large diameter cutter before switching to a small diameter cutter for the detailed bits

If you rough out the part first to near to the line and use the router to just trim the piece with the correct size of trim bit you'll also be much less likely to need devices such as a lead-in pin. Making heavy templates with two handles/hand holds spaced as far apart as possible also helps control the cut and keeps your hands out of harm's way.

Regards

Phil

PS Like the dog. Oh, yes! :cool:
 

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Ray, it is important to leave a tail on your pattern that extends past where it will contact the wood. This is so you can get the bearing against the template before it starts cutting. With as much end grain as you will face with this project I agree with Phil you should cut to within 1/8" with a saw to remove the bulk of the material. A 1/2" pattern bit will reach into all the recesses in the antlers. Tape should work fine to hold this but you might consider getting a pin nailer. Pin nails are so tiny the holes do not really show. You need double the thickness of your pattern for the pin nail length. Since they do not have heads they pull right out with a pair of pliers and leave no marks.
 

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Joat, I think your method and mine were pretty similar, see if it looks the same? The difference I think is that I used a 1/4" master and yours are thicker and you nail them down where I had mine taped. But other than that, its just a matter of putting the template on top and running the bearing around it? Maybe my problem is that I run into a lot of end grain on this piece? It was kicking the work all over the place, too much to make anything nice.
Looks quite similar. If you look at the second picture I posted, you will see my bit, and the lighter color section of the table top is my removable insert - makes it MUCH easier to change bits, if I have to. But I made extra inserts, and was given several routers, so now I can have a different bit in several routers, and change bits in about 30 seconds, or less.:dance3: The two pieces on top of the table are prototype masters for plastic bag carriers. I glued scrap wood together, cut with my scroll saw, until I got what I wanted, then glued those onto a piece of plywood, and used the first one as a 'master', thus creating a 1" thick master. Which is basically how I make my masters. I really like the 1" thickness, makes the whole thing feel solider, and gives me more to grip, and keep my fingers away from the whirly part. Those two prototype masters have not had the nail pilot holes drilled yet. I'll tack 1/2" plywood onto them, rout, then take that piece and glue it to another piece of plywood (nail holes on the inside if you care about them being seen, then rout that. But rather than leaving the finished piece 1", I'm thinking about repeating it with another piece of plywood, making it 1 1/2" thick - a bit easier on the fingers with a full load of plastic bags. I also write on my masters, MASTER, so I don't accidently use it and have to make another.

So, basically, I'd use a 1" master, cut close to the wood, and carefully rout around it, feeding from right to left. And, personally, I'd use plywood for that rack, rather than wood, but that's your choice.

I hope that cleared everything up for you. If not, feel free to ask questions. Oh yeah, I tried tape, I tried rubber cement, both major pains to clean up after. I drill a lot more holes than I use in my masters, and only use as many nails as it takes to keep the master in place - varies from piece to piece. I usually leave about 1/8" protruding, rather than pounding flat, the nails are 1 1/4". Usually very easy to just pull apart. On occassion I will pound them flat on a really stubborn project, and then use a 6" flat nail puller to pry the pieces apart, then pull them apart. And, the nails stay straight, unlike if I pull the nails with a hammer.

Here's a piece I'm working on now. Not sure if it will be 3 layers of 1/2" plywood thick, or 4. I'm redoing a .22 rifle stock. It will be shaped and sanded later, then painted. It's just sitting in place for the picture just now. Lousy picture, my camera (new camera) gives one decent picture, then all the rest come out lousy.:fie:
 

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I'm of really no help here but I had to comment on your coat rack. Very Nice. The head reminds me of a deer head like yours mounted at a recycling facility I used to go to some 30 odd years ago. The deer head was mounted above the scale. It had a pull string. When you held down the string the ears would flap up and down, the eyes would move, the mouth would open and close, a tongue would roll/slide in and out. All electromechanicaly as long as you held down the switch.
 

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Joat, I think your method and mine were pretty similar, see if it looks the same? The difference I think is that I used a 1/4" master and yours are thicker and you nail them down where I had mine taped. But other than that, its just a matter of putting the template on top and running the bearing around it? Maybe my problem is that I run into a lot of end grain on this piece? It was kicking the work all over the place, too much to make anything nice.
Yep, similar. I used a 1/4" master once, moved to a 1/2" master once, then went to 1" masters - gives a nice heft to hold on to and guide, plus you don't have to be so critical in adjusting bearing height. I've done soft wood like that before, and found I had to move very slowly, sometimes just taking a thread off one section, then another, until I got down to where the bearing was touching the master; and sometimes it still tore out; got to pay attention to which way you're feeding the wood too. If your bit is dull you can have problems with tearout also. Most of my work is with plywood, which seldom gives me problems with tearout. Looks like you might be using pine there, if so I'd try poplar. Give plywood a try once, just to see how it does, doesn't mean you have to use it.
 
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