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Hi Everyone.. new to this. I'm working on a van and have to cut out some replacement panels with curves and rounded corners. I'm thinking of getting a small compact router - something like 1.5 hp - and get a bit to trace out the old panels. My thought is to clamp the old panel on the new birch ply and trace it out.

Would that work?
Is using a compact router good enough?
What kind of bit should I use for smooth edges without splinters?

Will lightly sand and then waterproof the panels after everything is cut out.

Thanks in advance. I appreciate the help! frank!
 

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Hi Everyone.. new to this. I'm working on a van and have to cut out some replacement panels with curves and rounded corners. I'm thinking of getting a small compact router - something like 1.5 hp - and get a bit to trace out the old panels. My thought is to clamp the old panel on the new birch ply and trace it out.

Would that work?
Is using a compact router good enough?
What kind of bit should I use for smooth edges without splinters?

Will lightly sand and then waterproof the panels after everything is cut out.

Thanks in advance. I appreciate the help! frank!
Now, first off I'm not an expert on router work as I mainly use hand tools. However that be, my experience in situations like this is: If your pattern is to be on the top with the face of your work piece also on the top I would use a downward cutting spiral cutter with the guide bearing on top. If you can't do this, place the work piece face down and use an up cutting bit. Does this make sense?
 

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The biggest issue I see is that the 1/4 shank isn't particularly strong, so you will at least want to make a lot of very shallow passes to make the full cut.

I would first trace out the the pattern onto the ply, then use a band saw or tape it like mad and use a jig saw to cut it a less than 1/8th outside the line, re apply the pattern with double sided tape, then use a trim bit with a top mounted bearing to neatly trim away the excess. The tape is to reduce the chipout if you're using a jig saw. If you have a band saw, use that to do the rough trim because you'll get less chipping and tearing.
 

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G'day @frank65 , welcome to the forum..
 

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The biggest issue I see is that the 1/4 shank isn't particularly strong, so you will at least want to make a lot of very shallow passes to make the full cut.
All I use is 1/4" shanks. Normally rout 1/2" plywood, but yes, do take shallow cuts, AND often rout very slowly. Slow and shallow has kept me out of having router problems lo these many years.
 
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