MDF Template weight reduction(skeletonizing) question

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Forum topic by InstantSiv posted 06-30-2014 12:01 AM 1067 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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262 posts in 1590 days

06-30-2014 12:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question router

Hi all,

I need to make a template. The size of the template is 23” x 50”. I have plenty of 3/4 mdf but no 1/2”. Since it’s 3/4” and I’ll be flush trimming 3/4” ply it’s going to be a monster to move around(I have to move it from one station to another for multiple processes).

I really don’t want to spend any money on 1/2” so I’m wondering how much material can I remove from the mdf template to lighten it before I run the risk of it breaking apart easily?

Here’s a pic of the template idea. The outside edges are suppose to be scalloped but it’s too much editing so I just left it straight.

3 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


7882 posts in 2145 days

#1 posted 06-30-2014 12:12 AM

Whichever you decide, radiused corners are stronger than square corners. Just use say a 3/4” forstner bit at each corner and don’t square them off.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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262 posts in 1590 days

#2 posted 06-30-2014 12:17 AM

Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely do that. I have cheap set of hole saws that I’ll use to do the radius.

View bobkberg's profile


439 posts in 3069 days

#3 posted 06-30-2014 04:44 AM

If it’s just weight you are concerned about, I would recommend doing what airplane designers have done for decades… cut holes in the thing (not too close to any designed openings) to reduce the weight.

For example a 4” to 6” hole saw (leave at least 1 inch of material in the template at all points) might lighten up the weight enough to make it workable.

Having said that though, I would probably sand the whole thing and seal with 2 coats of varnish to prevent crumbling of the MDF from minor blows.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

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