Getting the most from my router #1: About the author

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Blog entry by TemplateTom posted 12-16-2009 06:49 AM 2150 reads 7 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Introducing Template Tom the name I was given by my students when giving lessons on the use of the router at the Association for the Blind woodworking group. I was asked to look after for a year after I had been doing some volunteer work for three years previous. The best Class I have ever taught. Average age of the group was 36-82 years of age.

A little back ground to consider as it helps to know ‘Who is making such a post’ I began an apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery way back in 1948 or 1949 then after a couple of years in the armed forces I enrolled at Teachers’ college for a couple of years then began a 30 year term teaching the woodworking skill along with metalwork and technical drawing. Six years into my teaching career I moved from Scotland to Australia 1966. Resigned from the Education dept and established a cabinet making business for a period of 15 years before retiring at the age of 67 in the year 2000 so some quick calculation I’m 76 years of age and I am still working with wood, last week I attended one of our local colleges to give some professional development to a group of woodwork teachers. ( I have never really retired.)

My expertise is with the use of the router, developing New Routing Techniques. During my cabinet making days I was asked to do some refurbishing of executive private aircraft and it was during that time I developed these new routing techniques. I say they are New as they were unavailable in any book or magazine form at that particular time. (Still not available) Except the material I have produced.

It could be said that most router users would use the router in the router table mode for most of the processes they produce, all I ask is you keep an open mind to what I have to offer, and I do have a lot to offer if you are prepared to give My method a try.

One of the accessories supplied with my router at the time of purchase was the Template Guide. After a number of surveys at a number of wood shows where I demonstrated my techniques I was of the opinion that the template guides were seldom used. except when used in the dovetailing jig or trenching jig and some others may have used them when routing a shape larger than a template that had been produced. Most router users would use them exclusively with a straight cutter in the router.

When I can work out how to post some video to then I will submit the ‘proof of the pudding’


-- Getting more from my router with the aid of Template Guides Selection of Projects listed on You -Tube "Routing with Tom O'Donnell"

22 comments so far

View PG_Zac's profile


368 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 12-16-2009 09:06 AM

I will be waiting for this series with great anticipation. I bought a set of template guide bushes with the intention of doing patterns and signage, but so far have only used them on straight and circle work.


-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3073 days

#2 posted 12-16-2009 10:16 AM

Thanks for the heads up on this. I bearly know which end the bit goes in.

View paulcoyne's profile


133 posts in 3086 days

#3 posted 12-16-2009 11:39 AM

looking forward to seeing your work and learning more.

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

View antmjr's profile


262 posts in 3149 days

#4 posted 12-16-2009 12:05 PM

I’m interested too; I think an amateur woodworker like me runs often the risk of not understanding all the possibilities offered by a tool (that’s why I do think it’s better to have few well-known tools; collecting tools is quite always the death of woodworking, in my opinion).

-- Antonio

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3300 days

#5 posted 12-16-2009 12:55 PM

Looking forward to this series Tom. I have quite a few books on router use and I even built a good router cabinet. In spite of this, I still don’t use the router much. I’m not sure if it’s because of the type of projects I’m doing or if I just don’t feel comfortable with it. However, I’m always open to attitude changes and it would be nice to feel that the router is an integral part of my woodworking. And Thanks to you Mario for taking the initiative to ask Tom to do this for us.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4212 days

#6 posted 12-16-2009 01:30 PM

I too am looking forward to this Tom. Thanks Mario I would not have seen this if not for you. I have 4 routers and 4 small routers and seldom use them only for trim work, so I would like to utilize them more. Can’t wait. Mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#7 posted 12-16-2009 02:21 PM

Tom, this sounds like an interesting blog series that you are going to do. I am looking forward to seeing your next entry.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3708 days

#8 posted 12-16-2009 02:38 PM

I just added this to my favorites. Thanks Tom

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3074 days

#9 posted 12-16-2009 02:56 PM

You definitely came to the right group to post Tom. I have the bushings and the routers. I look forward to what you are willing to teach.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3307 days

#10 posted 12-16-2009 03:53 PM

count me in too ,
i looked at your site ,
a week or so ago , and bookmarked it .
i’ve got 6 or so routers ,and 3 different types of bushings ,
getting them to mount ,
is sometimes frustrating .
maybe you could explain how to get
my desoto radiator cap ,
to mount to my ford knockoff ?
or what screws to use in the
antique baseplate on some of these old tools .

come on in ,
the water is fine ,

and we are all wet !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Gary's profile


9324 posts in 3399 days

#11 posted 12-16-2009 06:27 PM

I’m ready. This is a real need for me.
Dang David…...Desoto…..DESOTO….. next you’ll be remembering rumble seats!!

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3657 days

#12 posted 12-16-2009 07:00 PM

ready with router in hand upside down and wrong way round ….....

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3252 days

#13 posted 12-16-2009 07:51 PM

I use template guides quite a bit. I’m anxious to see your methods. It’s never too late to learn new things.



View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3320 days

#14 posted 12-16-2009 09:46 PM

Learn something new everyday… the day you stop learning is the day you stop going to the workshop… for good.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View TemplateTom's profile


93 posts in 3247 days

#15 posted 12-17-2009 12:59 AM

Thanks for all the enthusiasm shown in the method I have been using for years. I hope you will embrace the method and be able to do items with your router that you were unable to do in the past. One comment was made when I was producing a Logo “That had to be done on a CNC router system” It was completed with he hand held router, so that is how good the method is, I also produced a number of Cabinet door designs, another project that was considered only capable of being produced with the CNC.

Here comes one of the problems; Are you happy with the metric system? as all my details are in metric (could not go back to the Imperial measurement again after I made the change some 40 years ago) All you have to do is make your own conversions. That is what I do when i see an imperial drawing posted in Magazines.
Another problem does your router have a large enough base opening to accept the large template guides I use (40mm) Also the router must be a ‘Plunge Router.

I have produced a number of articles on the use of the router and I have ‘The introduction to the use of template guides’ readily available for anyone who may wish a copy,. It is in a PDF format I will try to post it here for others to download.

-- Getting more from my router with the aid of Template Guides Selection of Projects listed on You -Tube "Routing with Tom O'Donnell"

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