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Forum topic by Rob posted 02-11-2015 10:26 PM 1120 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rob's profile


316 posts in 2982 days

02-11-2015 10:26 PM

I need to make some templates for use on my router table. Specifically, I am making 30 star badge plaques out of Oak. They are 6 point stars with round tips like in the drawing here and about 15 inches wide and tall and 3/4” thick. I went to HD and I couldn’t find any material that was suitable. They had 3/16” hard board that looked like it had been dragged down the road and the 1/2” birch plywood was so warped and chipped it shouldn’t have been out for sale. I’m willing to buy online and have something shipped to me but before I do that, I’d like your input on what would be the best material to buy? Thanks in advance!

18 replies so far

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2043 days

#1 posted 02-11-2015 11:06 PM

Personally I’d ask HD to give me a break on the hardboard. It’s flexible enough that if you tape it down to the piece using double sided tape it doesn’t matter how beat up it was in the store. And they get rid of a loss. Everybody makes out. And it works great in general for what you’re doing. I’m puzzled by the points of the star you show so not sure if hardboard is going to work.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Rob's profile


316 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 02-11-2015 11:16 PM

I’m not sure how to effectively do the balls at the points of the star either. I’m afraid of chip out, especially with Oak but that’s what the order calls for.

View MrUnix's profile


6703 posts in 2194 days

#3 posted 02-11-2015 11:16 PM

Between the two choices given, I’d use the hardboard (and do for most all of my templates).. it’s a template, doesn’t matter what it looks like. If it’s not thick enough, just glue two pieces together to make a thicker piece.


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

View HerbC's profile


1754 posts in 2854 days

#4 posted 02-11-2015 11:26 PM

If you think it’s something you may make more of in the future, buy some 1/4” plexiglass to use for the template.

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2685 days

#5 posted 02-12-2015 01:24 AM

I use plexiglas for my “keeper” templates that will get used a lot. Dry erase board also makes nice templates with the slick surface.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1716 days

#6 posted 02-12-2015 01:33 AM

I’ve used 1/4” tempered masonite successfully, but sand the edges and coat them with rattle can lacquer to keep them crisp. Also keep them from any moisture,

View Kean's profile


74 posts in 2556 days

#7 posted 02-12-2015 03:02 AM

I use MDF that I buy from Lowes or Home Depot for my router templates. As long as you keep them dry and stored flat they last.

-- Kean - It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

View Rob's profile


316 posts in 2982 days

#8 posted 02-12-2015 11:03 AM

Thanks everyone for your input. I’ll take a ride to Lowes and see if they have anything that’s in better condition. Our HD is pathetic!

View Redoak49's profile


3240 posts in 1984 days

#9 posted 02-12-2015 02:26 PM

I use 1/4” mdf and if I am going to use it a lot will finish it with a couple coats of shellac. I use my scroll saw to cut detailed patterns.

View Woodbum's profile


812 posts in 3060 days

#10 posted 02-12-2015 02:27 PM

1/2” Baltic birch

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3120 days

#11 posted 02-12-2015 03:31 PM

I use Hardboard as well… I used to use MDF but I found that after a few passes, the fibers are soft enough to indent.. so I started to use wipe on varnish, but then I discovered Hardboard… that’s some great stuff, read a bit about the history from a google search, guess it was remanufactured in the 80’s when it was discovered artists used it more than home construction… so they added hardeners, heat pressed it, kept one side rough for “tooth” and used different chemicals so it does not leech acids and turn paints yellow. I was surprised… never knew. Rarely do you hear of artists driving a market like that in the home construction world. I now use it for templates, canvases, jigs, boxes, even inserts for my bandsaw. Where hardboard fails me in templates… I usually use plexi.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3238 days

#12 posted 02-12-2015 06:25 PM

I buy Baltic Birch from this place; great service and great quality.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3737 days

#13 posted 02-12-2015 06:32 PM

For the round start tips. I would size them to use a forstner bit, and just drill the tips with the template attached then go on from there.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2921 days

#14 posted 02-12-2015 06:36 PM

I have also used Baltic Birch and plexiglass. Both are better than hardboard I think.

If you have a manufacturing shop in your town or city that works with plastics, check that out. I have purchased a huge garbage bag right full of various sizes and thicknesses (their scraps and offcuts and mistakes) for $20.00. Some are only 3” wide x 1/4”, others are about 8-12” by 20” long, varying thicknesses 1/8” to 5/8” and colors.

they also threw in a piece of 1/2” phenolic (30” x 35” approximately) that I use for zero cut throat-plates. Amazing what you can get if you ask.

I told them I was looking to make some small projects, they even loaded the bag in my truck. It was very heavy.

I haven’t been back there for about 5 years, and I have made a lot of jigs with that material, will not likely ever use it all up…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View jshroyer's profile


80 posts in 1654 days

#15 posted 02-12-2015 06:41 PM

I find garbage furniture on trash day and use the wood from that. its usually particular board or hard board but it works great. plus then if i screw up making the template i am not out any money.


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