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I have already asked the following question in a scroll saw forum and the majority of the members who responded thought a scroll saw is the way to go but I thought I might get a different response if I ask the same question in a router forum.

The template in the picture is 1/2" MDF the size is:15"X15",I am planning to use this template to cut six new pieces like it out of soft pine or 1/2" plywood.

The plan is to build a headboard with them by joining them together,inside a 30"X45" frame ,I could either use a scroll saw to cut them or use the piece as a template and cut the six pieces with a combination of jigsaw/router.

I know most of you are practical and only would use a router if it is the best tool to get the job done and not just because you it's the tool you are most comfortable/experienced with.

I would appreciate your inputs.
Ken.
 

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About the only router solution I could think of for that would be a CNC router setup, which is most likely how the original was made (citing the rounded inside corners) The details look like they would be too fine for a pattern or flush trim router bit to fit into.
 

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Ken, I'm no expert, so not sure if this is the best answer , but I'd like to help ;) - we'll see what the experts say later on.

I'd do it with a drill (starting holes) and router with a template bit - something
like this : Wealden Tool Company Limited Template Trim
(you can see there are short ones, so you can make a couple of passes on the height of the template). The only problem may be the radius of the corners - maybe you'll need
2 router bits (redo the corners with a smaller bit).

You could also do it with a bushing if the template was made oversized accordingly eg with : http://www.trend-uk.com/en/UK/productlist/4/31/Oversize_Cutter_Profilers.html
 

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Ken,

I would say the answer depends on the size of the narrower gaps and if a halfway matching copy-bit for the router could be found.

If my measurements from the picture and calculations are halfway right, then the narrower gaps would be about 8mm wide.

If a bearing guided bit that size could be found, then the router is surely the better and especially faster choice.

Even if there would be minor tips and details, where an almost fitting copy-bit for a router might just not get in totally - the smallest bits I'd know of have 3/8", a router still could be the faster solution to hog out the majority of the material - only using e.g. a scrollsaw for the last tiny bits and details.

After all, you want to create 6 copies of the "master", not just one.
Therefore, only if not an even closely matching bit could be found, I'd go for 100% scrollsaw.

In regards to the choice of material, starting from about 8-10mm or thicker, personally I would perhaps prefer soft pine over plywood. Pine gives a warmer feeling than ply - which might be very welcome for a headboard of a bed. And since you plan to set the copies into a frame, stability would not be that much of a problem.

Martin
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your replies,as I gathered from your comments the best possible way to make this pattern is a scroll saw although a router would probably be the quickest way to achieve it but too difficult to find a source for the correct size bits.

I'll start cutting asap rather than talking about it , I have in mind to make some changes like reducing the actual headboard width , building 3 pieces instead of six,and make some similar design on the bottom portion where the bed and pillows will cover.

I will be starting it soon and will keep you all posted.
Thank you all again for your inputs.
Ken.
 

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Whiteside makes flush trim spiral bits down to 1/8" diameter which should easily be small enough for those corners since they don't appear to, or need to go down to sharp points. Using spirals will save days of sanding to remove saw marks. I would still use a scroll saw to get most of the waste out. The spirals will last longer if you do and that is a lot of cutting and routing. You might want to go with the 1/4" spiral for most of the routing and just switch to the 1/8" to finish the corners. That would be a lot of routing for a 1/8" diameter.

The numbers for the bits are RFT 1600 and RFT 2100. Those are up spiral, down spiral is RFTD. I didn't check pricing.
 

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I do stuff like that a lot, except I call mine 'masters', instead of 'templates'. I start by laying out the template onto the project piece; I tack mine down with nails. Then drill a pilot hole. Depending on my mood, I might cut out the excess with a sabre saw, then rout, or just rout it out with a 1/2" flush trim bit; the larger the piece to come out, the more likely I will cut, instead of simply rout. If the corners aren't quite sharp enough, then I'd go over it again with a 1/4" bit in the corners - I figure that would be more than sharp enough for anything I do. However, as a rule I make my templates to be used with 1/2" bits, then don't have to change anything, just rout.

Then repeat with the other pieces. When I put it together, I'd make sure the nail holes were not on the front of the pieces.

Here's an example of one of my masters.
 

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Yeah, you can certainly do this with a scroll saw, if you have lots of time to invest. A CNC router is far better, and quicker. You'll also get matching pieces. I realize not everyone has a CNC, but there are plenty that do, so check the CNC forum, as well as other CNC forums, you might find someone willing to do it inexpensively.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A CNC router is far better, and quicker.
Hi Keith,I agree ,but I have recently retired ,have lots of time ,can spend a couple of hours a day to do this project with my scroll saw,it would have been nice to have a cnc router since it is quick and precise but the DW788 that I have is a good scroll saw and (although I'm not a patient man by nature)using it is very therapeutic for me.I thought a hand held router would have been a good alternative but it looks like a scroll saw is the best tool for the job in my case.

I will only make 3 copies of the "master" so it is not too bad .

Thank you all for your comments,I sincerely appreciate all your inputs.
Ken.
 

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I will only make 3 copies of the "master" so it is not too bad .
OK, am I missing something, or what? Originally you said you wanted to make six copies. Now you're saying you will make three copies of the 'master'. I'm not understanding.

If you make one master, just the way you want it, then you can basically use that to clone as many copies as you want. You just need the one master.

The way I do mine is, I use 1/2" plywood. Get it just the way I want it, which may mean starting from scratch, or cutting out a piece, gluing a new piece in, then redoing that portion. I have been able to make a very satisfactory master in one try, and it has also taken me up to seven re-triess before I have it the way I want. I glue that down to another piece of 1/2" plywood. When the glue is dry, I rout the second piece, using the first as a guide. This winds up giving me a master 1" thick. I then drill pilot holes for small nails to tack it down to the piece to be routed. I like the 1" thickness, as it give a hefty handhold, and not likely to slip at all. But, of course, every time you make a change, or want each piece to vary from the others, that means more masters. I cut my original out with the scrollsaw, plus any changes I have to make. Then the rest of it is basically all routing. My router is in my table, and I normally use just a 1/2" flush trim/pattern bit.

Here is a picture of some chess pieces I am making. These are small, so my masters are nothing like described above. But, if they were larger, yard chess size say, then I would do exactly as above.
 

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Whiteside makes flush trim spiral bits down to 1/8" diameter which should easily be small enough for those corners since they don't appear to, or need to go down to sharp points. Using spirals will save days of sanding to remove saw marks. I would still use a scroll saw to get most of the waste out. The spirals will last longer if you do and that is a lot of cutting and routing. You might want to go with the 1/4" spiral for most of the routing and just switch to the 1/8" to finish the corners. That would be a lot of routing for a 1/8" diameter.

The numbers for the bits are RFT 1600 and RFT 2100. Those are up spiral, down spiral is RFTD. I didn't check pricing.
+1 w/ Charles...

I have scroll saw, routers etc. You could do either, but I'm thinking using a router with a pattern bit would be easy to whip out exact copies of it multiple times over. No problems. Little skill involved.

There is nothing there that could not be done with a router using a small diameter flush cut pattern bit. There are no sharp inside corners to that pattern.

I usually do scroll saw work with 3/8" and thinner stock. 1/2" would be a load on that, but if you took your time....

Sometimes the fastest and easiest is using the combined strengths of multiple tools to your advantage. What may be best is to drill out access to it. Then rough cut it out to within 1/4" of finished cut. You could do a rough cut with either a scroll or jig saw. Then use a pattern bit to finish it off.

If you didn't rough cut it out first, then you'd still need to punch through, then take 1/4" depth of cuts at a time. Could be done, but would just be slower. Remembering that you're working with 1/2" thick stock, I wouldn't try to attack it all at once. But you could punch through and rough it out with a panel bit... then a pattern bit to finish.

So it still ends up in your court in what methods you feel comfortable with using. If that method involved enjoying the journey by whittling it out with grand pa's old pocket knife, that is up to you.

But you asked what we would do...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OK, am I missing something, or what? Originally you said you wanted to make six copies. Now you're saying you will make three copies of the 'master'. I'm not understanding.
Thank you for your replies ,I'm sorry I wasn't clear in my explanation in post#6.

The first couple of headboards I made in the past had one thing in common,the bottom half of the headboard (once installed to the bed) is usually hidden behind the box spring/bed/pillows.
the expose portion is always the top half.
The original plan was to make 6 pieces of 15"x 15" to make a 45"x 30" headboard 3 pieces on top row,3 on the bottom.
The revised plan:still it in two sections,but only the top portion would be 3 pieces of 15"x 15"=45" long.15" wide.
The bottom portion (the part which is hidden behind the bed and pillows)would be 45"x 7" of slats or a blank piece of wood . size = 45"x 22".
I already have the MASTER or template,I am using my scroll saw but you are suggesting to use a router which is a good alternative to scroll saw but the way I see it the master is a complex pattern with many small curves which seems to be easier (IMHO and in the opinions of most of the members who replied) to cut with a scroll saw than a router.
The examples of the masters you posted seem to be simpler than the one I'm using and probably why is best to cut with a router ,of course I could be wrong .

I'll try with a scroll saw first ,if it doesn't work out the way I want then the best alternative method would be to use a router.
Thank you again for taking the time to post pictures and for your suggestions.
Please let me know if I am on the wrong track.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sometimes the fastest and easiest is using the combined strengths of multiple tools to your advantage. What may be best is to drill out access to it. Then rough cut it out to within 1/4" of finished cut. You could do a rough cut with either a scroll or jig saw. Then use a pattern bit to finish it off.

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That sound like a great advice,and very practical.I must at some point consider switching to a router just to see what work best.I have not used a router for this type of projects before so I am a little reluctant but if the scroll saw makes the job too difficult or tedious ,then,,,
 

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I already have the MASTER or template,I am using my scroll saw but you are suggesting to use a router which is a good alternative to scroll saw but the way I see it the master is a complex pattern with many small curves which seems to be easier (IMHO and in the opinions of most of the members who replied) to cut with a scroll saw than a router.
The examples of the masters you posted seem to be simpler than the one I'm using and probably why is best to cut with a router ,of course I could be wrong.
OK, got it.
rNo, I am saying that is the way "I" do it, how you do it is up to you.
Personally I find a router is much faster and easier than using a scrollsaw, to me the scrollsaw is a PITA.
Yep, those masters are simpler, a lot simpler. I posted those, because I didn't know if I had any pictures of my more complex masters.
However, I went looking and found some examples of some of my more complex masters; these are very precise. The tallest is about seven inches tall, and five wide. The center one holds a 5"X5" piece so as to have slots routed in it; the small notch at the bottom is to rout a very small arc, so I will know that side is the back of the piece. The other two are used to clone exact sized pieces, with a router, and they do that very quickly, very accurately, all with the router and a 1/2" bit - I could use a 1/4" bit, but the way they are made, the finished product would still be exactly the same size as if I used a 1/2" bit; neat, eh?. I am in the process of changing my method of making my figure banks, which these are used for, so these are now basically useless, all will be remade from scratch, incorporating the necessary changes. :moil:
 

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I would use a 1/4" bushing with a 3/16" spiral downcut bit. It sure looks like 95% of the cuts could be made this way. Of course, you'll have to make a template but the template can last years and be there for many more
 

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That sound like a great advice,and very practical.I must at some point consider switching to a router just to see what work best.I have not used a router for this type of projects before so I am a little reluctant but if the scroll saw makes the job too difficult or tedious ,then,,,
What is going to be the problem is trying to sand it smooth once you are finished cutting with the saw. That is a lot of sanding and some of it is hard to get at.

What Mike and I are suggesting is to use the scroll saw or a jig saw or even a drill to remove all the waste wood to within 1/16" of the finished pattern and then use the original pattern with a flush trim bit and router to the finished design. As I said, it will save you hours and more likely days of sanding.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
.. use the scroll saw or a jig saw or even a drill to remove all the waste wood to within 1/16" of the finished pattern and then use the original pattern with a flush trim bit and router to the finished design.
Do you mean to use a flush trim bit without a guide bushing?
 
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