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I'm a novice, but make the plaque bases for awards in an organization I belong to. I used to make traditional rectangular ones, but have shifted over to making them with small live edge slabs of various shapes. Each plaque base is a different thickness, and they aren't always perfectly flat as I just have a planer and they sometimes reach the point where they are close to being too thin if I try to flatten them perfectly.

People like them, but I haven't figured out a safe and easy way to rout a nail hanger in them with a keyhole bit. I have used the router in a table much more than in portable mode. I have a Bosch 1617 EVS with fixed and plunge base including the router guide, which I haven't used at all.

I've thought of three ways to do this but each seems to have problems. I've listed these below and would love some advice on which of these is best or if they is a better way. (I'm on vacation right now and away from my shop so I can't test these out yet).

1. Mount them with double sided tape onto a square board and then lower it onto a router table and move the board along the fence to a stop block. This is similar to the way I used to rout rectangular plaques.

Possible problems: I've never used double sided tape and don't know if this will hold up to the torque of the spinning bit. If the plaque base front isn't perfectly flat, I don't know if the tape would stick that well.

2. Clamp the plaque base to a surface (table saw router table extension) and a 2x4 cut with a straight edge to the edge of the same surface. Clamp a stop block to the board. Use the plunge router to cut the keyhole slot, sliding it along the board with the guide extended along the edge of the board. This would seem to allow for me to solve the problem of the plaques being different thicknesses, by my adjusting the board up or down to be even with the plaque base thickness).

Possible problems: Lots of horizontal and vertical clamping but hopefully that can be worked out as the nail hanger slot doesn't need to be very wide.

3. Make a template routed through a board that I can fit the router bit inside a guide bushing into. Then clamp down the board and the plaque base underneath it onto the surface and use the plunge router freehand without a need for the edge guide.

Possible problems: I've never used guide bushing's before and don't know if I have one the sizes needed for the keyhole slot bit plus the spiral bit to cut the template.

So, the best one may be obvious to experienced router users, but it isn't to me and I'd love your input.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

Gordon
 

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welcome to the forum, Gordon. You joined in 2011 - where you been for 10 years ??
I used to do the same thing - when dealing with "raw wood", you may experience a different "center of balance" on each piece. I would use a wooden dowel and put the piece where I think the center may be and roll it back and forth until it is balanced on the dowel - that is your "true" center of balance.
as for hanging, I would invest in the common picture hanging hardware with steel wire and call it a day. you could also apply small "stand-offs" on the back to keep the back directly off the wall and give it a "floating" effect.
the options for mounting anything is limited only to your imagination.
photos !! we love to see photos of projects like this.
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I'm a novice, but make the plaque bases for awards in an organization I belong to. I used to make traditional rectangular ones, but have shifted over to making them with small live edge slabs of various shapes. Each plaque base is a different thickness, and they aren't always perfectly flat as I just have a planer and they sometimes reach the point where they are close to being too thin if I try to flatten them perfectly.

People like them, but I haven't figured out a safe and easy way to rout a nail hanger in them with a keyhole bit. I have used the router in a table much more than in portable mode. I have a Bosch 1617 EVS with fixed and plunge base including the router guide, which I haven't used at all.

I've thought of three ways to do this but each seems to have problems. I've listed these below and would love some advice on which of these is best or if they is a better way. (I'm on vacation right now and away from my shop so I can't test these out yet).

1. Mount them with double sided tape onto a square board and then lower it onto a router table and move the board along the fence to a stop block. This is similar to the way I used to rout rectangular plaques.

Possible problems: I've never used double sided tape and don't know if this will hold up to the torque of the spinning bit. If the plaque base front isn't perfectly flat, I don't know if the tape would stick that well.

2. Clamp the plaque base to a surface (table saw router table extension) and a 2x4 cut with a straight edge to the edge of the same surface. Clamp a stop block to the board. Use the plunge router to cut the keyhole slot, sliding it along the board with the guide extended along the edge of the board. This would seem to allow for me to solve the problem of the plaques being different thicknesses, by my adjusting the board up or down to be even with the plaque base thickness).

Possible problems: Lots of horizontal and vertical clamping but hopefully that can be worked out as the nail hanger slot doesn't need to be very wide.

3. Make a template routed through a board that I can fit the router bit inside a guide bushing into. Then clamp down the board and the plaque base underneath it onto the surface and use the plunge router freehand without a need for the edge guide.

Possible problems: I've never used guide bushing's before and don't know if I have one the sizes needed for the keyhole slot bit plus the spiral bit to cut the template.

So, the best one may be obvious to experienced router users, but it isn't to me and I'd love your input.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

Gordon
I think John has the K.I.S.S. solution. The time and aggravation saved is well worth the penny's for the hardware.

If you are determined to use a router #1 with the double sided tape will work. #2 will work but like #1 a lot of time spent with the set up. #3, a template for the key hole bit is the quickest using a router and an entire short shank guide bushing set from Home Depot is $5 more than just the single 5/8" that Rockler sells.

Pictures of your plaques and your hanging option are anticipated. Good luck and be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
welcome to the forum, Gordon. You joined in 2011 - where you been for 10 years ??
I used to do the same thing - when dealing with "raw wood", you may experience a different "center of balance" on each piece. I would use a wooden dowel and put the piece where I think the center may be and roll it back and forth until it is balanced on the dowel - that is your "true" center of balance.
as for hanging, I would invest in the common picture hanging hardware with steel wire and call it a day. you could also apply small "stand-offs" on the back to keep the back directly off the wall and give it a "floating" effect.
the options for mounting anything is limited only to your imagination.
photos !! we love to see photos of projects like this.
View attachment 400500

Thanks for the suggestion. Since you asked, here are a few examples of plaques from a prior year. I get the wood from the local yard waste site, where it is slated to be burned. So it either becomes my firewood or plaques.
Brown Wood Wood stain Font Hardwood
Brown Handwriting Wood Font Trunk
Brown Wood Font Rectangle Hardwood
 

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oh wow, I like that idea !! that's using your imagination.
for the weight you have, I would go with standard loop or saw-tooth hanger for the backs and call it a done project.
that will give the wood room to continue to move about freely. (finding the center of balance first).
good job !!
Household hardware Font Bicycle part Auto part Gear
 

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Another way you could find your balance point is use a small nail from the back side, drive it in a little then hold the plaque by the nail and see how the plaque hangs into position. You may have to move the nail a time or two. But once you find how you want the plaque to hang, you can remove the nail and install your hanger.
 

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I just did 34 plaques with the keyhole slot and it took 8 seconds on each. CNC makes this so easy. Even the little inexpensive machines will do this fast and easy.
Using a router one could do this pretty easy. Just clamp this jig on top of the work where you want the keyhole slot.
Making a jig that slides on the router base that starts and stops the length of your slot will work. It will need to be a plunge router. Plunge down and hold then route the jig slot then keeping it held down to bottom depth push it back to the start point and unplunge it.


Plaques for Ranger Derby 2022 - YouTube
 

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Hi Gordon,
I noticed that Rockler sells a "Picture-Hanging Keyhole template" one day in their advertising. It's a piece of slightly thicker polycarbonate (to accommodate the guide bushing's length.) I made my own by CAREFULLY plunge routing slots, of desired lengths, into a piece of poly taped to a backer board, with a straight edge clamped on top. Then with a guide bushing and a keyhole bit in your plunge base router, place the setup in one end of the template. Plunge, slide to the other end, return, and remove. Once securely taped or clamped to your piece it eliminates almost all error.
 
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