Reply by RogerInColorado

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Posted on I have a router… now what?

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321 posts in 1948 days

#1 posted 02-28-2013 12:31 AM

Here’s how I did mine. I centered the router plate on a piece of 1/2 inch (you can use 1/4, but I like the security of the extra rigidity) MDF that is at least six inches bigger in each direction than your plate, to make sure you ultimately have support for your router to ride on the template. I cut four piece of 1/2 inch MDF that were about 3 inches wide and about three inches longer than the router plate. I used the first of the four pieces as a guide along one edge of the plate (being longer than the side, it provides a stop to mount the adjacent piece. Then I used double sided tape to attach one piece of the 3” MDF to the MDF base so that it was against the router plate AND the temporary guide. The I repeated the process around the plate and then lifted the plate out of what I will call the pre-template. It will look weird, with the ends sticking out the way they do, but it works. (This approach eliminates the need to cut the four pieces to the precise length of the router plate). Then I used the pattern bit (top bearing) to route the actual template in the original 1/2 inch MDF using the pre-template as the bearing surface. This eliminates the possibility that something will go wrong and ruin your nice laminate top. It’s good practice and relieves stress).

When that’s done, remove the four pre-template pieces. Drop your router plate into the new template. Your plate radius and the template radius won’t match, but otherwise the plate should be a perfect fit. If it is too tight, it is because you applied too much pressure to the 3” pieces when you pressed them against your router plate. You can sand and file till the fit is satisfactory. Part two is making the radius match the plate. The magic is Bondo. It is a two part automotive body filler but you can get it at your HD and Lowes. Put your template on a sheet of waxed paper. (Bondo does not discriminate what it sticks to) Mix up a batch and press into the corners of your template (without your plate in it). You can save yourself a lot of work if you mark the points at which the router plate and the template mate so that you only apply Bondo where you need it. It’s ok to be messy and use too much, you are going to file and sand away most of it anyway. In an hour or so you can begin to file and sand the patch until you get a perfect match of that radius to your plate radius. Sandpaper wrapped around a dowel helps with keeping a smooth radius.

If you just aren’t satisfied with your new template because the plate is too loose in it, you can apply masking tape to the edge(s) giving you problems and use this template to make a new one. The great thing about this is that MDF is cheap and you can really make sure your have what you want before you use it to cut into your laminate.

Then you use your new template to route the opening for your plate edge into your new table top. This is, of course just for the support edge, you can cut the smaller (all the way through) opening with a jigsaw, it doesn’t have to be pretty. No one will ever see it unless you take the plate out.

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