Once the mortises were complete, it was time to finally move on to the stepped pattern. I first roughed out the pattern at the band saw so as to remove the majority of the waste. After the problems I ran into while building a pair of cradles I now know I need to get to within 1/16” of the line I’ll eventually template route to.
I’m currently borrowing my neighbors bench-top bandsaw which has a slightly dull blade and doesn’t always cut perfectly straight so I’m a bit of a wimp and cut more like 1/8” to 3/16” to my template line. I then attach the template with double sided carpet tape and carefully sand to within 1/16” with a oscillating spindle sander. I find this step quite relaxing and stress free. I must admit using some form of dust collection during this step is a must!
In order to sneak up on the line at the internal junction of each step I find it helpful to switch from the lagest to one of the smaller drums. My Dad helped out a lot switching the drums while I was getting the next piece setup with a template.
I then moved on to template routing using using a hand-held router and a template bit. There are a lot of profiles on this project and I definitely got a better hang of it as I went along. I made half-templates so I will have a perfectly symmetrical profile since the same template is used at both ends. This also allows me to place the template on the ideal side so I’m never routing across the grain. As a result I didn’t have any problems with the bit grabbing the wood like I have in the past. Here you can see all the mortises I mentioned in the last blog posting…
And here you can see all the routed profiles. I still need to rout the long middle rails and the toddler top rail, but other than that template routing is complete. Phew!