Router templates can be very simple to make, and a quarter-inch hardboard can be used and sanded to make a crisp, clean and smooth template. Learn about making L-shaped templates with help from an experienced woodworker in this free video on router templates.
Hi I'm Dave Trull with the Trull Gallery, a custom furniture shop in St. Petersburg, Florida and I'm going to talk to you about how to make templates for a router. Router templates can be very simple to make, generally they are and I use them all the time in my work. A lot of times I want to put a curved apron on a piece of furniture and when I do that I can make a guide similar to this and the way I use this guide is with what's called a template bit which is this guy here. Basically what the template feels the cutter cuts, they're the exact same size. So I can cut my templates to the exact size and shape of the piece I want to cutout. One note here is the more time you spend on your templates getting them nice and crisp and clean and smooth, the easier it is to use, the cleaner you cut's going to be and the better your finished piece will turn out. This template, again the same type of theory, except this is, for this particular piece is a curved leg for a bed coming up to the top of the bed. Again you got to take a lot of time, especially when you get into the complex curves you want to take a lot of time cutting close to your line, sanding, making sure you're sanding square so that your finished piece is exactly the way you want it to look. What I use for these a lot of times I'll just use quarter inch hardboard. You may know it as Masonite which is kind of a product name. The reason I like this, it's a very stable material, it's flat, it's dense and it gives a really good edge for the bearing on the router to follow. And it's also fairly inexpensive. You can get a sheet or a half of sheet at most home good stores and you can cut out your pieces from there. Another type of guide that I use quite frequently is a template like this which I use for cutting the mortises for hinges. It's a very simple template to make and it's basically an L shape. I have the surface for my router to ride on, a fence for my stock to be clamped to that's offset the right dimension. In this case it's offset three-quarter inch for three-quarter inch doors. The groove for the router to follow is cut based on each particular hinge. And this is really put together in a matter of minutes, most of the time is spent laying out the cut and then simply three screws hold it together, it's a very strong stable jig that's going to last for years. Another jig I use quite often is a template like this for routing grooves or datoes in wide boards, use it frequently for putting in shelves and bookcases and things like that. This is designed to use a five-eighths template guide bushing and a half-inch bit that way I get a half-inch cut and rather than having the bearing of the router bit tracking, I've got the bushing itself tracking. Again with the layout on this you want to make sure that your sides are parallel, it's a snug fit for your template guide and that your cross pieces are square so that they can use this as a fence to lock up on the front of your piece. That's just a little bit on how to make router templates, I'm Dave Trull with the Trull Gallery, the fine art of furniture making.