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Theo
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What I call my masters, I guess most every one else calls a template, or pattern, so when I say masters you know what I'm talking about.. And actually I make them the same way everyone else does - layout a design, cut it out, sand the edges smooth, and ready to go.

And that is where I start to veer...

Apparently a lot of you use 1/4" or 3/8" materials for your masters. I don't. I started that way years ago, didn't like it, so went to 1/2" plywood, didn't like that much either. Wound up using 2 layers of 1/2" plywood, giving me a 1" thick master, which gives me a nice grip while routing. Also tried double stick tape, rubber cement, etc., about everything but screws, to hold the master to the piece being routed. Didn't like any of it. So wound up using nails, about 1 1/4" long to hold my masters in place; don't know if I thought that up on my own, saw it somewhere, read about it, whatever, but it is now my fastener of choic;. I chose that length nails because I use 1/2" plywood for almost anything, and everything, I make. I drill nail pilot holes in my masters, about 1" apart, around the edges of my masters. That is a lot more nails then I need, but on occasion nails tend to vibrate loose, so I whack them all the way in, or add more nails, or both. No bother about the nail holes in the routed wood showing, as I make sure they always go in the 'bad' side, and always make sure the 'bad' sides are glued on the inside of whatever I am making, usually canes or banks, so they don't show. On the rare occasions the nail holes would show, I sketch a decorative design, drill the pilot holes in that, and viola the nail holes are now decoration.

I do all of my cane handle and bank designs on 1/4" graph paper, so they are actual size. Then they are cut out, about 1/8" from the designs, and glued to a piece of 1/2" plywood, which is carefully taken down to the design outline, with scrollsaw and sander. My banks also need the center cut out, so this is rough cut with a sabre saw, then carefully worked on down to 1/2" or 3/4" sides, depending on how large the bank is. The interior doesn't need to be quite as perfect as the outside, so if I cut a notch in it no biggie, but do try to get it as nice as I can. When that is finished to my satisfaction, it is glued to a rough cutout of the design, then when the glue has set, the bottom piece is routed, using the finished top piece as a 'master'. Then the pilot holes are drilled.

This is where it gets a bit tricky. Say for the pig bank, the 1" thick piece is NOT a master. Rather it is a master master. This has the legs, ears, tail, and snout. I use it and rout out five pieces, each having all of those parts on it. Then I carefully take off all but one part on each. So I wind up with one with just the legs, one just the ears, one with the tail and snout, and then one where all of the parts are taken off, it will be used to add desired width to the finished pig bank. I may have to rout a new piece if I make a mistake taking parts off, because each piece will have to match the pig body contours, don't want a dip where the ear or something came off. All of the pieces will have the center out. The legs will be the outside of each, and on the outside piece the inner space will not be removed. But the second leg part will have the center removed. Then a spacer piece, with just a rounded outside, no tail, ears, etc.; more depending on the width desired. Then the ears, maybe two or three wide, then more spacers. Then the tail and snout. Then finish the other side with pieces the same as the first. It suddenly struck me last night that I might be able to make tusks for them also, will give it a shot, and see how it turns out.

The truck banks will be somewhat similar. Somewhat. The side piece will not have the center cut out, because there will only be one on each side. And the wheels for that particular size truck will have to be made before starting the separate pieces because the second piece in will have to have cutouts for the wheels, and won't know how much to cut without the wheel; inside cut out. Then the next piece will need to have a solid spot behind the wheel to glue the wheel too; inside cut out also. Oh yes, the fenders will be a bit lower than the hood too. The next piece will be duplicated in as many pieces as desired, depending on how wide you want the truck body.

My Easter Island head banks will be made along the same lines, except no parts will need to be taken off.

Once my masters are made, I will not toss the master master, just in case I ever need to remake one of my masters. Should never happen, but just in case.

Someone, I'm pretty sure on here, mentioned using a loop of cord to hang the masters from a rafter, or the wall. Great idea, and that will keep them together until I need to use them again. I will use that idea for my canes also, just have to drill a hole thru any solid masters. Will save me a lot of searching.

I found a source for rubber stoppers, on Amazon maybe, but after consideration, decided to deep six that idea. The price is not bad, but after time the plugs will likely deteriorate, plus I think the weight of the coins might be too much for the plug in some of my larger banks. So, instead just devised a simple, and very strong stopper, out of plywood.
 
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