Newbie wants to know how to make a router template.

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 03-13-2014 07:29 PM 853 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1726 days

03-13-2014 07:29 PM

I’m interested in trying some router-based inlay. I understand how you use an “inlay kit” – including a bushing with a removable spacer – to allow you to make the positive and the negative using the same template.

But…how do you make the template? Do you transfer your pattern to your template board and then rout it out freehand?

I’d like to be able to make relative complex templates that are not just one solid shape but which have internal spaces as well.

2 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


6703 posts in 2194 days

#1 posted 03-13-2014 07:36 PM

Transfer to template board and cut out free hand using bandsaw, jig saw, coping saw, router or whatever you have, then sand and finish the edges. Easiest way to transfer is to print out your design on a printer and glue on the board, or you an use carbon paper (yes, it still exists!) and trace the patern.

Google is your friend:


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

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4120 days

#2 posted 03-13-2014 09:17 PM

Three things:

  1. What Mr Unix said.
  1. After hearing a few local guitar makers say “oh, yeah, we just cut fretboard inlays freehand with the Dremel”, I got a 1/4” shank 1/8” bit for my router, and a 1/16” bit for my rotary tool with the router base, and indeed, it’s possible to get pretty close (and the router is pretty controllable free-hand with a bit that small or smaller). My blog entry from February last year has a brass inlay butterfly I got from a bead shop that works pretty well, if you’re working with wood or something you can fill with cyanoacrylate and sawdust you can probably get much better results.
  1. Think about doing your pieces in sections. The intarsia folks I’ve talked with will often combine detail pieces first, and then cut that larger combined piece for inlay into another section.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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