How do I use router template guides?

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Forum topic by Rob posted 05-28-2013 08:40 PM 9654 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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704 posts in 3039 days

05-28-2013 08:40 PM

I’ve been using my router more and more, but I’ve never used router template guides before. I have a Bosch 1617EVSPK router kit but have a lot of questions.

  1. What exactly do template guides do? Do they basically do the same thing as router bits with bearings—i.e., follow the profile of some other piece that’s clamped to your work piece? How are they different?
  2. What’s the difference between a template guide, templet, and guide bushing?
  3. Should I buy steel or brass template guides? What are the pros/cons of each (if any)?
  4. Do you use template guides with a router table, too, or just when you’re using the router by hand (standalone)?
  5. Are router template guides pretty much universal like bits—i.e., can they all be used on, say, a Porter Cable and a Bosch router either directly or with an adapter?
  6. When I see 7-piece, 9-piece, or 10-piece template sets, what is it that the larger sets are adding?

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

4 replies so far

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2041 days

#1 posted 05-28-2013 10:28 PM

Your question is a little hard to follow, because it is unclear what templates you want to use, or what you are trying to make or do?? But her is my opinions.

The template is what the router follows to create a shape… like a square mortise for a hinge or door latch, or whatever you design. The template guide, and guide bushing are generally, and I believe in this case, the same thing. The adapters are to allow other brand bushings to attach to your router plate, although many are very similar. The larger sizes just allow for many options in both template design and bit selection. You can use them with a router table, but generally they are used by hand with a template. They are especially handy when used with a plunge router. The bushing in this case follows the profile of the template, that has been design with the bushing in mind, and not another piece that is clamped to your work piece. (like a pattern bit) I am not sure what other brands work with bosch, most of my equipment is Porter Cable. I have many brass and other guides, and don’t see a specific advantage to one over the other. Hopefully this answers some of your ?’s. It might be helpful to know what you are trying to do, to help answer your questions more specifically.

-- Who is John Galt?

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2294 days

#2 posted 05-28-2013 11:47 PM

as mentioned above your questions are vague.
The lecture of some books might answer some of your questions or help define them.

Here are some example of book that might interest you:

and many more available on the web through your favorite search engine

For your router you will need the RA1126 and the RA1100 adapters. It’s a shame that Bosch sells them separately.

When choosing a set of guide bushings the important thing is to get a set where all the collars protrude 1/4” not more. If you use (in my experience) a leigh dovetail jig a protrusion more than 1/4” is problematic. Maybe with other jigs too?
my 2 cents :)

PS: might be of interest

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4094 days

#3 posted 05-28-2013 11:47 PM

  1. Yes, they’re like a bearing for a bearing bit, but they don’t spin, and they (usually) have an outer diameter larger than the bit, so you have to allow for the offset between the guide bushing and the bit when you make your templates. Some guide bushings aren’t round, they’re oblong: these are made so that you can use a special wrench to adjust the offset of the bushing, usually for fine adjustments in dovetail jigs.
  2. The bushing is the bit that clamps on the router, the template is the bit that the bushing rides against. So something like a key inlay template set may assume you already have the guide bushing of the appropriate size. Or something like the Festool MFS (you can build your own knock-off) doesn’t assume anything about your guide bushing.
  3. I don’t know, I’d assume that brass is less likely to destroy your tooling if you screw up and run a bit into it.
  4. My router table lift insert plates don’t take a guide bushing, and when I need to do guide bushing type operations on the router table I usually clamp something to the fence to act as a guide instead.
  5. My Festool router has a plastic adapter plate that takes the standard Porter-Cable style guide bushings. It also takes Festool guide bushings, which are larger plates that screw on to the bottom of the router. Aaaand, I have a guide bushing base with a bayonet mount quick-release system that doesn’t fit my router that came with a signmaking kit I got. I’d get an adapter for your router to take the standard Porter-Cable ones, because that’s what comes with most dovetailing jigs.
  6. Looks as though the sets come with a variety of different guide bushings. I have 3 that I use regularly: A Festool big one that gives me a reasonable amount of clearance from my bit to my template (so that I can see down inside my template) that I use with the Festool MFS to do rectangular or oblong or square (or, turned on its side, diamond) recesses, a Festool small one that I use with the aforementioned signmaking kit (rather than the one that came with the kit), and a Leigh one that’s Porter-Cable compatible that works with my Dovetail jig. If you’re using other people’s templates, you may want more options.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3039 days

#4 posted 05-30-2013 07:35 PM

Thanks for the help, everyone; especially the tips on how to use them, the book recommendations, and the point on selecting something that will work with dovetail jigs.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

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