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Cutting odd shapes into a plywood surface.

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Forum topic by RCharles posted 06-10-2009 05:00 PM 8371 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RCharles

10 posts in 2821 days


06-10-2009 05:00 PM

Hello

I want to cut some odd shapes into a piece of plywood. the plywood is 3/4 inch and the cuts would be 1/4 to 3/8 inch deep with the edges cut perpendicular to the surface.

I may do several different shapes and sizes but to get started I’ll describe two:

1. A rectangle, with two sides 1.5 inches and two sides at 4 inches.

2. A trapezoid, with two sides at 1.5 inches and two sides at 3.5 inches.

3. An ellipse with major dimension of 3.5 inches and minor dimension of 1.5 inches.

Is there a way to do these kinds of cuts, at least the bulk of removal, with a router?

Thanks for any help.

Ray


16 replies so far

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 3231 days


#1 posted 06-11-2009 02:09 AM

A router would be my guess Ray.

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cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 3023 days


#2 posted 06-11-2009 02:12 AM

Router would be my choice for sure.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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RCharles

10 posts in 2821 days


#3 posted 06-11-2009 02:21 AM

OK, I’d love to use a router.

But just how is it done?

For freehand work, as opposed to a router table, I’m used to holding the router against guides specific to the cut. Haven’t tried any true freehand routing but there seems to be a risk of the router grabbing and running off, ruining the piece. My problem here, for example, is how to create and clamp down a guide for a curved eliptical cut.

Can anyone be more specific on how to get this done?

thanks

Ray

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 3231 days


#4 posted 06-11-2009 02:25 AM

You have a good point Ray. It’s not like you could make templates and use a flush cutting bit. Not really sure about that one.

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 3231 days


#5 posted 06-11-2009 03:01 AM

Good idea. That’s what I thought about it. But if I’m understanding what Ray is saying, I don’t think that will work.

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 3231 days


#6 posted 06-11-2009 03:04 AM

Maybe with a guide bushing. That would work wouldn’t it?

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 3231 days


#7 posted 06-11-2009 03:11 AM

Ohhhhhh. You’re right bentlyj. Pretty much the same thing. But that would do it. I’m not sure if I’m seeing this exactly right either. But your idea would work for sure.

View LesB's profile

LesB

1237 posts in 2908 days


#8 posted 06-11-2009 08:14 AM

With those small sizes I would use the hardboard pattern, a template guide and a down cutting spiral bit to prevent the edges from splintering up ward.
Making a template large enough to accommodate the whole router base is overkill.

-- Les B, Oregon

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3114 days


#9 posted 06-11-2009 04:51 PM

I’d second LesB – router with a template guide and a hardboard pattern. just make sure your pattern is offset to accomodate the distance between the router bit and the template guide whether it’d be on the outside (making the template ‘smaller’) or the inside (making the template ‘larger’).

so a search on template routing, and template guides. should give you a bit more on that matter – fine woodworking and such sites have good articles on this including pics and tips that might make it easier to understand and follow.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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LesB

1237 posts in 2908 days


#10 posted 06-11-2009 08:58 PM

Purplev said it. I would use an inside routing template method. That way you can clean out the whole thing and not be concerned about running outside the pattern. The sizes of your patterns should make it easy to keep your router supported on the template to complete the whole cut in one operation.

I do the same thing for “butterfly” inlays and other simple patterned inlays using a guide with a 1/8” collar that slips on and off and allow for making the inlay piece and the recess for it from the same template. A 1/8” straight router bit is use for that the the bit is easy to break if you try to go to fast. They sell them as kits, guide, collar, and bit in one package. You can even buy pre-made templates but it is easy to custom make your own.

-- Les B, Oregon

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RCharles

10 posts in 2821 days


#11 posted 06-12-2009 04:35 PM

Hi all – and thanks for all the suggestions.

I’m not quite ready to start this project but do appreciate the ideas and help. I’ll be studying this thread and set up a test piece to try two or three alternatives before attacking the final piece, which is a finished panel; it came with a wall system and is surplus but I only get one shot at cutting it.

Regards

Ray

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LesB

1237 posts in 2908 days


#12 posted 06-12-2009 06:00 PM

Bentlyj,
That is the one. Yours appears to be part of an adapter for your router base plate. Mine just mounts on my Porter Cable plate without the adapter.

RCharles may want to use regular template guides so he can use a larger bit to remove wood faster.

-- Les B, Oregon

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rhybeka

2677 posts in 2587 days


#13 posted 04-01-2010 06:59 PM

hey Ray! I was hoping to bump this to see how your project is going? I’ve got one similar in mind and thought about picking up the hardboard to make my templates with this weekend. Any luck with yours?

—Becky

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

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bobkberg

420 posts in 2538 days


#14 posted 04-01-2010 09:48 PM

Pardon my curiousity, but what sort of project is this?

-- Bob www.singularengineering.com - A sideline, not how I earn a living

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RCharles

10 posts in 2821 days


#15 posted 04-01-2010 10:27 PM

Hi Becky and Bob

Thanks for posting and waking me up. Obviously I haven’t been very active here in the past 293 days….

The short answer: I’ve been distracted and busy with several other projects (and vacations) and this project never got started. But I still have the materials and hope to get into it this summer.

The project is rather simple. A while back I visited a fossil area in SW Wyoming and dug up a dozen or so fish fossils. These are two-four inches long and one-two inches wide on a sandstone base. I also have a panel, left over from some furniture, that is about twelve by twenty and two inches thick; it’s made from 3/4 inch plywood with a dark finish. My goal is to mill some pockets into the panel and glue the fish fossils into it. Each pocket will be an elliptical shape and slightly oversized and I will grout the edges after gluing in the fossil.

For the truly curious, here are links to the fossil beds in WY and pictures of some fossils.

http://www.kemmerer.org Kemmerer, Wyoming
The Fossil Fish Capital of the World.

http://www.orerockon.com/Green%20River%20fossils.htm A quarry you can visit; this web site also has several pictures of fossil fish, most of which are larger than the ones I found.

Regards and thanks to all who responded.

Ray

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