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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #97: Progress: Raised Dog Bowl Holders & Minecraft CircleGuideKit Review

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Blog entry by Paul Bucalo posted 12-15-2018 01:48 AM 638 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 96: Progress: Raised Dog Bowl Holders Part 97 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 98: Best Edge Banding Around! »

Yesterday I decided to pick up a commercial circle cutting jig over making one for the full size router. The one I built a few years ago to work with a trim router would have had to be modified for this build, and the trim router would have been woefully under-powered for a 3/4” depth cut through hardwood plywood. I’m glad I did. The results and ease of use (once I figured out which router’s base would best fit the universal plate in the kit) justified the cost, in my opinion. So as well as an update on the the project, consider this a product review, too.

The Milescraft CircleGuideKit (Model # 1219) comes with all you see here, for about $40.00 at our local Lowe’s:

In the beginning, I had mistakingly interpreted the black plastic spacer for a 1/2’ shank insert. The only plunge router I have that takes 1/2” shank bits is the Ryobi mounted in the table. After taking the table base plate off I found out the universal mounting router base provided in the kit would mount two holes on a less than desirable configuration and I would have to make a trip to the store for new bolts. Then I took a close look at the router bit provided and sighed in relief. The router bit has a 1/4” shank, not a 1/2”, and the plastic piece I has mistaken for the size of the bit shaft was mounted the other way, used for centering the universal plate on the router base. My BlueHawk plunge router exclusively uses 1/4” shank bits, and it turned out nicely that the universal base plate made a three-bolt contact with the router’s base.

Because I wanted the hole, not the circle, and didn’t want the circle-mounted jig to drive the bit into the edge of the hole made, both the circle waste was screwed to the sacrificial base board and the project board was confined by a snug border. This worked out really well.

One fine threaded 1/2” screw affixes the jig to the wood to be cut and provides the pivot for it to spin around on. I thought this would be the ‘Achilles’s heel’. The pivot was solid. The jig never strayed as I spun it around.

The guide’s measuring gauge is divided into metric on one side and inches on the other. Markings are given for “O” and “I”, outer and inner diameters (not radii), respectively. Once the setting is made, you cinch down the setting. On mine, the self-adhesive measure had been applied about 1/16” off. I’m glad I ran my test on the other side of the sacrificial backer board first. All I had to do thereafter was alter my setting accordingly.

Before mounting the router to the jig, I had set the depth stop to cut a depth that was deep enough to clear the thickness of the top and bite slightly into the sacrificial OSB base. Because I had to use the router’s base as well as the jig’s, and with the extra thickness of the jig, the only way to achieve the depth I needed was to insert the minimum amount of bit shaft that could be safely held by the chuck. I plan on purchasing a longer bit soon.

This picture doesn’t give the semblance of a roughly 7/8” cut. I was impressed with what I felt was a minimal, acceptable amount of splintering of the red oak veneer. Well done.

The first top cut. Spacing of the holes was perfect.


Tomorrow I mill some more oak stock and rip to make edge banding. Once applied and dry, some detail work needs to be done (easing edges through sanding and chamfers) and final sanding. I’m planning on applying the finish Sunday.

-- Paul, Upstate New York, USA



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