Cookbook Shelf Units #5: Making the router templates, routing the curves

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Blog entry by Greg Guarino posted 06-09-2014 02:15 AM 2074 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Dowels III: The Rails Part 5 of Cookbook Shelf Units series Part 6: Still more dowel holes, and a dry fit. »

I’ll start this one with a disclaimer. I’m a novice. What I post should never be taken as authoritative, or even educational. Half of it is likely wrong, and I’m not (usually) sure which half.

This project represents my second attempt at pattern routing. Pattern routing has added the possibility of curves to my design palette. I decided to rout arcs into the the top and bottom rails of the front, back and side frames.

cookbook shelves ladder top

I made the templates from 5/16” MDF, fairing them with a custom sanding block. I filed a curve into the edge of the block and used spray adhesive to affix a strip of coarse sandpaper.

Then I made a jig to hold the work on the template. I used Harbor Freight toggle clamps, purchased during my first visit to one of their retail stores. In person, some of their stuff looks and feels poorly made. But the toggle clamps (I bought 2 each of the horizontal and vertical), looked solid enough. They worked well.

Please be advised that in this case I do know (now) where the “wrong” is in my execution. In truth, I suspected it as I was doing it. After the first piece, which I jigsawed to rough shape before routing, I skipped that step. I simply routed “freehand” until I got close enough to rout the final shape. I’ve been informed (scolded is a better word) that this is likely to ruin the work and possibly even injure the worker. I got away with it, possibly because I turned each piece over for each half of the cut to ensure I was routing “with the grain”, and because I fashioned simple “handles” into the jig that allowed me to keep a firm grip with my fingers far from the action. Still, it is better not to try it. Here’s the video:


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