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Forum topic by zipmac22 posted 04-11-2016 01:53 AM 774 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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24 posts in 850 days

04-11-2016 01:53 AM

Hi, I’m looking at making some templates, but not sure what would be best to use. What do you use when you make a template?

-- Chris, Central Texas

8 replies so far

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2657 posts in 2273 days

#1 posted 04-11-2016 01:55 AM

1/4” hardboard

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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1354 posts in 917 days

#2 posted 04-11-2016 02:06 AM


I have made templates from plywood and MDF. Both work well, though I have come to prefer MDF because it is always flat. Using ¾” thick material is less of a headache when using a bottom bearing flush trim bit in a router and the template mounted below the work piece. With a pattern bit whose bearing is on top of the bit and the template mounted on top of the workpiece, thickness of the template is probably less of a concern and I would think ¼” hardboard could be used in this case. Bear in mind my experience is with templates used for just a few work pieces. Templates repeatedly used in a production should probably be of a tougher material than hardboard or MDF and maybe even plywood.

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6706 posts in 2195 days

#3 posted 04-11-2016 02:34 AM

Tempered hardboard, plywood, MDF, HDPE, plexiglass… thickness and material depends on what the template is going to be used for (and how) as well as how often it will be used.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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1676 posts in 2621 days

#4 posted 04-11-2016 02:49 AM

1/4” MDF. I like MDF because you can sand it to perfection. That said I will wear out if you use it repeatedly. I was making serving trays, lots of them and noticed in the crook of the template it was starting to wear away. I used the original to make a new one and then quit making serving trays

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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284 posts in 1990 days

#5 posted 04-11-2016 04:25 AM

I agree with the comment above about it depending on how often I’ll use it. MDF is excellent as it is flat and easily made to be whatever shape you want with perfection. BUT, it is also easily dinged and then you will be reproducing that ding perfectly unless it is repaired with some kind of filler (car body filler works well but the smell is nasty). So for frequently used templates I like a good grade of plywood.


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740 posts in 2847 days

#6 posted 04-11-2016 04:30 AM

1/2” MDF

-- Ken

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254 posts in 2688 days

#7 posted 04-11-2016 04:34 AM

1/4” or 1/2” MDF, depending on what I have available at the moment, but I do prefer 1/2”.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2689 days

#8 posted 04-11-2016 06:15 AM

I agree with what Brad said. Another material I like to have around for templates is laminate flooring. It all depends on what size your template needs to be.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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