Learning the tricks of how to use tools can make your woodworing life so - much - easier. The router is one of the perfect tools for making multiple, identical parts or components. Of course, you normally would need a router table with this as well, but depending on the part and the size, these can be done free hand, as long as the parts are held down firmly, and it's a great opportunity to use a "starter pin" to ease the wood into so that it makes a smoother transition.
In terms of a bit, a flush trim bit all that is needed. There are a few versions of these bits in both 1/4" and 1/2" shanks. You can get bits with bearing at the top of the bit, or at the bottom of the bit and you can even get some with bears at both top and bottom. The bits with the two bears are best because it gives you more options.
The actual template material that works best is 1/4" hardboard which is readily available at most hardware and wood supply stores. Although there is also a 1/8" version, which is also painted white on one side and is very nice for drawing your template outline on, the thinner version means more risk of running off the template which can ruin it, and your work piece.
The finished wood products from using this pattern making method are smooth well shaped products that are ready for the next step in the production of the finished product. Pattern making can be used for a variety of woodworking projects but one of the best uses is in making "blanK" inserts for your table saw.
We all know that when cutting wood on the table saw, the best insert to use is a "zero clearance" insert which normally needs to be made by the woodworker as the inserts that come with the saws have very wide mouths to accomodate different blades. Pattern making with the router is the perfect way to make blank table saw inserts. You can use a variety of materials like hardboard or even plastic ... yes clear plastic makes a great zero cleance insert blank and your router can easily cut most plastic materials, but check with your supplier to confirm.
Anyone who is in the furniture making business will likely have a hoard of jigs and patters for their furniture making chores. Once you take the time to make a pattern, it is easy to replicate parts. In some cases the parts may still need some work, holes drilled or or edges squared of cleaned up, but the bulk of the work is done by the flush trim router bit.
Making patterns in woodworking is one of the tricks the pros use and now you can too because making identical parts is easy when you know the tricks.
Copyright - Colin Knecht