Routing with tom O'Donnell

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Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia

I have spent a life time working with wood now retired and still working with wood finding new methods of using the World's most versatile Woodworking tool The Router

Monday, May 22, 2006

11 About the author

My interest in working with wood spans a period of more than fifty years; as a journeyman completing a trade in Carpentry and Joinery, to teaching in High Schools over a period of thirty years, finally establishing a Cabinet making business for fifteen years before retiring. Like most woodworkers in that time I was thrilled with the introduction of the router, and I suppose like most ‘Woodies’ in that period, the router was inserted under the bench to form a Router Table, unless we were producing dovetails, which required the router to be used in the ‘Hand Held’ position. It was whilst working in my cabinet making business that I developed the skill of ‘How to Get More from Your Router’. For years I have been seen at a number of State wood shows throughout Australia demonstrating the versatility of the router. I have also been engaged to conduct seminars and provide Professional Development to woodwork professionals and teachers.

To promote further advantages of the use of the router I established a ‘School of Routing’ in Western Australia conducting classes for both professionals and beginners. Over the past three years I have been instructing people with impaired vision to use the router, at the 'School for the Blind' here in Western Australia.

One of the accessories supplied with the router at the time of purchase was the Template Guide (Guide Bush). This guide has been placed in a corner and never really been investigated to consider it’s potential.(1) The main focus of this blogl is to make router users aware of the template guide’s versatility.

My experience in the development of the use of the template guides with the router will bring greater satisfaction to those who wish to learn new routing

To complete the many complex assignments with greater safety it has been necessary to investigate how the router could be used more effectively. My experience with the router will hopefully change the views of those who have been using a router for years, and introduce new routing projects that will bring pleasure to routing enthusiasts. The use of the template guides will introduce this greater safety awareness on how the router can be used. Some experts would use their router in the Below Bench mode(1) for 80% of the work, and only 10% in the ‘Plunge Mode’, with the other 10% used for Dovetailing, Lettering, Grooving, Rebating etc.

Many plunge routers have been inserted in the ‘Below Bench’ position and have seldom been used in the plunge mode. There is no doubt the user may consider that this is a much safer method of using the router, as there have been many article written on how the router should be used in the ‘Below Bench’ position.

Working with wood is to be enjoyed, as a trade, hobby, or as an interest in our retirement, and what better tool can bring greater satisfaction than the router. Take time to learn new skills associated with the use of the router. Study the material produced in this manual to make you aware of the alternative methods of constructing your projects with greater safety.

ople to thank:

My wife Ann to whom I dedicate this collection of material, for putting up with my other passion (the router) To the number of friends that have assisted me in my cabinet making business, and helped me to produce some of the Jig material available for your enjoyment. To two very dear friends Laurie and Eileen who have guided me along supporting me over the many ‘brainstorming’ sessions.
To my many supporters that have been very patient with me, who on many occasions, acting as readers, correcting and guiding me in the production, trying out the procedures, before they are published. They could be referred to as my human ‘Guinea Pigs’
The many ‘Students’: who attended my workshops, for their contribution, introducing their ideas and projects on what they would like to make. It has given me great pleasure in designing the jigs to complete the variety of projects of their choice. Some of the projects have been included in this publication to bring pleasure to others. Photograph shows the group who meet regularly, awaiting their coffee and preparing to design and discus the next project to be completed.

To try and get the message over on the use of the template guides I have produced CD-Rom 2 which is an introduction to the use of thr guides with a few routing projects to get you interested. This hac s been followed with the CD-ROM 3 which contains a number of projects. All the calculations have been worked out for you before you begin.
Email me to get more detail.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mortice and Tenon Joint

Investigate the various methods of constructing a Mortice and Tenon joint with the router
The Mortice and Tenon joint has been around longer than I have, and over the years I would have produced a great number of projects where the joint played a major roll in the construction. Going back to the days when the router had not been part of the average woodworkers tool kit, and the joints were cut by ‘hand’, or you may have been lucky to have access to a Morticer that was available in some professional woodworkers workshop. After a long period of time cutting such a joint and teaching others how to make them, I finally decided to look for an alternative method of producing the Mortice and Tenon.

Looking through books and magazines I began to investigate how others were keeping up with technology and I observed how the router was being used to make the joint using one of the following methods.
· Constructing the Mortice and Tenon joint with the router inserted in the router table such as The 'Triton Router Table.'
· Routing Mortice joints using the accessories supplied. (Side Fence Attachment) Note: The side fence attachment was not considered suitable for cutting the Tenons, and therefore an alternative method had to be found.
· The Tenons were either cut on the circular saw, router table or constructed from a variety of Jigs designed by a large number of Router specialists. (Today there are jigs readily available for purchase to rout the Tenon).

Some of the ultimate jigs published over the years are considered complex in construction, and are never used by the average woodworker for that reason, ‘Too Hard' to make. It could also be said, “What there is to know about routing the joint has been published before and therefore there is no need to write any more”.

Illustrated on the following pages are samples of the various conventional methods followed with an alternative method of producing the joint. With the alternative method detailed below the router is used exclusively with the aid of template guides after the construction of a simple jig in your own workshop.

Router table or Side Fence Attachment?

Routing mortices with the router set up in the router table or with the side fence attachment are the most common methods used by the average woodworker

Review of both methods:
It is important to consider the various all the various methods available of producing the Mortice and Tenon Joint to ensure we are working with safety.

Router Table
This method has been published on many occasions, and each author with his/her own method explaining how the mortice can be cut when a straight cutter is placed in the router inserted in the below bench position.

Note: The cutter is projecting above the table surface and therefore should be treated with

The fence is then adjusted, to position the Mortice, usually in the centre of the material with the operator 'lowering' the material on to the cutter. Two stops should be attached to the side fence, to control the distance of cut. The timber is lowered on to the cutter then moved to the fixed stop. It may also be necessary to clamp an additional fence to keep the material tight against the Fence. (Clamps are not shown in the diagram but are essential to hold the fence secure).

When lowering the material on to the cutter it is important that it is in contact with the backstop, to prevent any kickback.

When the router is used in the 'Table Mode' it is necessary to select a suitable router that can be easily adjusted to the various heights. The depth of cut is adjusted in stages to reach the final depth. Under no circumstances should the depth be set at full depth of cut the mortice.

For the following reasons, the author does NOT take advantage of this method for cutting mortices.
· The cutter is always projecting above the table.
· The cutter is not in view during the operation.
· Both hands are required to hold the material to be cut.

Side Fence Attachment
The side fence attachment for the router may be
supplied as a 'One piece' accessory, or in two sections as illustrated in the diagram. The side fence attachment is added to the router, from the right hand side when facing the front of the router.
In the majority of cases the cutter is set in the centre of the material and the size of cutter selection is usually 1/3rd of the thickness of the material.

The material should be held secure in the vice and consideration should be given to make an additional fence (Jig) that can be attached to the movable jaw of the vice. This additional fence will give greater support to the router base, and increase the length of material for the router fence to follow.

To regulate the required length of the mortice, adjustable stops can be added to the special jig to control the router travel. The stops may require resetting for each mortice.

Disadvantages of this method
1. The router is difficult to control due to insufficient router support
2. Material is difficult to hold, and position each time, especially smaller sectional material.
3. Stop and start distances can be difficult to maintain constant size of mortice.


Consider an alternative method.
This is by no means the 'Ultimate' jig for the construction of the mortice and tenon joint as I am sure someone will come up with a better method.

All the details have been entered on the CD-ROM 2 Illustrated amove Email me for details

Friday, May 12, 2006


Cutters have been selected from a number of classification, illustrated in the Carb-I-Tool catalogue.

Straight Cutters: Straight cutters can be purchased in a great variety of sizes, from 1.6mm single flute (solid carbide and high speed steel) to 50.8mm diameter two flute (carbide tipped)
These cutters can be divided into a number of other categories, end cutting, rip or slotter, slot morticing, lock mortice, hinge mortice, staggered tip bits, spiral flute cutting (down or up cut spiral), fibreglass bits (to rout special materials)

With the aid of jigs and templates these cutters can be utilized to produce a greater range of projects

Trimming cutters: Standard cutter for flush trimming laminate and working with templates. Special cutters are designed for overhang trimming, combined flush and bevel trimming, inverted flush trimming, bevel trimming in a variety of angles.

Slotting Cutters: The most popular ‘slotting cutter’ purchased is used to insert biscuits. Others are available for inserting a range of slots from 1.2mm to 8mm thick. These are usually available as a slotted cutter assembly, then purchasing the slotted cutter to change the width of cut required.

‘Biscuit Cutter’: Inserting biscuits with the router: This cutter should be used with great care. (The cutter is set the required depth and is therefore always projecting below the base.) It is more convenient to use the slot cutter in the router table such as the ‘Triton’ Router table, where a special fence can be purchased if required to control the material to be cut.

Groove forming Cutters:
The groove forming cutters are available for inserting dovetails, routing drawer pulls, routing slots and hook slots for picture hanging.

Edge and face forming Cutters: A variety of face forming cutters, are available for inserting decorative patterns to the face of board and are purchased in a wide range of profiles. Special cutters can be made to any size and detail to suit the particular project you may be working on at the time.

Cutters without bearing (face / edge cutters) are mainly used in the ‘Below Bench’ position or controlled with the aid of template guides and jigs. These cutters can also be used with the aid of the side fence when adding edge treatment. The majority of these cutter profiles can also be supplied with bearings.

Edge forming Cutters: Edge forming cutters are designed to form a decorative edge to the material and are available in a wide range of profiles. The most popular edge forming cutters used are the rebate, chamfering, rounding over, cove, beading or ogee. Like most cutters, they are available in a range of sizes to suit the material in use. Consult the catalogue to select the cutter of your choice for the project you are preparing.

Rebate Cutter:
Is a special edge forming cutter to rebate the edge of material to insert plywood or MDF backs to cupboards etc. Special cutters are available to give a variety of rebates simply by changing the bearing.

Chamfering Cutters:A popular method of removing sharp edges and give a professional finish. These cutters are available in a variety of angles.

Jointing Cutters: Special jointing cutters are available for producing wide boards, finger jointing, tongue and groove, drawer construction, mitre lock jointing etc.

Jointing cutters are used to prepare wide boards from narrow strips and again should be used with great care and only when placed in the below bench position and not in the plunge mode.

Panel Door Cutters: These cutters are usually purchased as a ‘Matched Set’ or as a stile and rail assembly. It is important that these cutters are purchased as a set as they have been designed to work together

Raised Panel Cutters: (Horizontal) Suitable for inserting a raised panel in a door. The raised panel cutters are available with or without bearing. The cutter illustrated should only be used in the below bench router with a variable speed ½” router.

Raised Panel Cutters: (Vertical)The vertical cutter is not suitable for producing ‘Arched’ door panels and again should only be used in the router table.

Combination cutters: Combination cutters are a single cutter designed to give a variety of edge treatment to table top etc.
Note; This cutter should be used mainly in the below bench position and is limited to routing straight edges with the aid of a fence, except when using the section close to the bearing.

Special cutters: (Carving with the router) Special cutters have been designed to rout various patterns on the face of the material. This cutter should only be used with the special templates that are prepared to produce the various patterns.

Safety tips and helpful hints:
· Have your cutters sharpened by a professional service agent.
· Purchase 12.7mm (1/2”) diameter cutters wherever possible for more stability and less chatter.
· Store you cutters in a special box to keep the edges fro touching and chipping.
· Replace any worn collets, and ensure the collet is kept clean.
· Clean bearings regularly with a solvent and submerge them in thin lubricating oil.
· Insert the shank of the cutter into the chuck at least 20mm, to leave 5-10mm of ‘white metal’.
· The larger cutters such as the panel door cutters should only be used in the ‘Below bench’ position, or overhead router machines.
· When using the larger bits care should be taken to ensure that the speeds and feed rate are suitable for the diameter of the cutter in use. Seek advice from your cutter supplier.

Catalogues of cutters are available from a number of sources. Selecting a suitable cutter for a specific job can be made easier if details of the cutter sizes are shown clearly with drawings and dimensions.(1)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Buying a new Router

A router is basically, a high-speed motor fitted with a chuck for holding a cutting bit securely in position. The ‘Housing’ surrounding the motor and cutter, support the router and the accessories that can be fitted to it

Making the decision to buy:
Before purchasing a router speak to someone that can advise you on how the router functions, and how the various accessories that are available will increase your routers’ potential.

Reason for the router we have today; (1)
(1) A friend recommended the brand name and model.
(2) There was a ‘Special’ on at the time.
(3) Observed an interesting article in a magazine, that looked easy to make, which required the use of a router.
(4) It was given as a present on retirement, on your Birthday, at Christmas or handed down from family or friend
(5) I was told the large router would be too heavy
(6) I always purchase the same brand of Tool.

When selecting a router some users select the same brand of tools they have been using for years, because of the success they have had with such tools; Jigsaw / power saw / planer etc.

(1) Taken from a number of survey conducted over a period of years.

Details provided are ‘What I look for’ when I wish to purchase a new router. The information supplied may be of some guidance to those contemplating purchasing a router

Plunge Router;
The plunge router will enable the cutter to retract into the body of the router when it is not in use, therefore adding safety to your routing procedures. First preference would be to purchase a router with 1/2” chuck suitable to take 1/2” shank cutters.
The 1/2” Router when used in the plunge mode with the aid of template guides and jigs has maximum support for the weight.

Circular Base:
Select a router with a Circular Base. Circular based routers will provide greater support when routing the edge of the projects. The base of the router can also be used as a template guide. (Some router bases are not circular and have two flat sides with curved ends)

Template Guides. (1)
The router should have the ability of attaching ‘Template Guides’ to the base of the router. . Some guides are screwed in position others are attached by means of a Bayonet fitting. Notch has been filed on the outer edge for easy insertion to the base.

40mm Template Guide:.(2)
It is important, the router should be capable of accepting a wide range of template guides. The 40mm Template Guide illustrated should be readily available for purchase.(3)

(1) Not all routers are designed to take template guides
(2) 40mm guide will accept a greater range of cutters that can be used
(3) Not all routers will take the 40mm guide.

Router Table
The router should be easily adjusted for height when fitted to the router table. If your choice of router is to be placed in the router table exclusively then it is strongly recommended that the Triton Router should be the used for this purpose.(1).

The position of the on/off switch
The switch should be located in a convenient position with easy access when holding the router with the handles/knobs.
Note; Some on/off switches also have a safety button incorporated in the switching on/off mechanism. Special arrangements must be made to hold the switch in the “ON” position when the router is being used in the ‘Below Bench Position’.

Router Base Opening:
The size of the opening on the base is important. Too small will restrict the size of the largest cutter that can be used. Too large will reduce the support to the router especially at the beginning and the end of the router cut. The opening should be large enough to fit a 40mm Template guide to the base. There should also be a clear view of the cutter during the process.

Position of the Locking Lever:
The locking lever should be easily accessible, without having to remove your hand from the handle to lock and unlock the router carriage. This locking action will hold the cutter at a selected depth with the aid of the ‘Turret’. (When the router is used in the ‘plunge mode’ the locking lever is not required to be locked)

(1) Not all routers are suitable for use both in the bench position and in the plunge mode.

Three Way Turret:
The turret stop has been designed to rotate, to allow the operator to control the depth of each cut in stages. Routers with a six way turret are now available to allow the operator to rout each cut in a greater number of stages. If your router has a three way turret as illustrated it is strongly recommended that the two longer screws illustrated in the photograph are reduced in length to leave a difference in height of 3-6mm.

Variable Speed Routers:
Since the introduction of variable speed routers has added greater safety awareness enabling the reduction in speed when large cutters are used, or when other materials are required to be cut such as plastic or aluminium. These routers usually have a ‘Soft’ start and a ‘Braking’ system incorporated.

Dust Extraction:
Consideration may be given to what type of dust extraction system is incorporated in the router. Some routers have a system where the dust is extracted through one of the router columns and others are attached to the base with the aid of two screws. The shape of the base may be altered to accommodate the system through the column.

Happy Hunting I am still looking for the router that has all I require

Elliptical Trinket Boxes

Producing a small item with the router (with safety) such as the Elliptical Trinket Box illustrated (180 x 90 x 35mm deep), requires a great deal of thought as to how the material is held, what cutters are to be used, and what accessories are required to complete the project.

Stages of Work:
There are at least four stages to follow to produce the base of the box and it will be necessary to consult the drawing board in the preparation of the templates required to rout the project. The material should be held secure and the router cutter controlled with the aid of a Template Guide (Guide Bush) and a Jig. The lid has been designed to fit neatly into the base with a small rebate on the underside. The underside of the lid has also been recessed to reduce the weight of the material.

Investigate what template/s will be required after sketches are made on the procedure of cutting out the shape. At all times care should be taken to ensure that the procedure chosen is safe. Constructing a Jig Holder is recommended to hold the material and template/s secure when routing the shape.

Jig Holder: This is the same Jig Holder that has been illustrated in previous chapters, and has been reproduced here for your convenience, and reference purposes.

Material Required:
1 @ 500 x 90 x 19mm Pine, 1 @ 310 x 90 x 19mm Pine, . The trenches are cut then the material is ’ripped’ to 40mm.

Template Preparation:.
Prepare a Template 400mm x 300mm from 12mm material with an elliptical shape cut-out from the centre. The dimensions of the elliptical shape will be determined by the shape and size of the box and the template guide and cutter to be used to remove the material from the base of the box.

There are a number of alternative methods of producing the elliptical shape required
(1) Find an elliptical shape from your local craft supplier and make a copy using the flush trim cutter or template guide and straight cutter.
(2) Purchase an Elliptical Jig available from Trend in the UK. Note: This jig may not be suitable for cutting small ellipses. (1)
(3) Construct your own Jig. There have been a few articles published in various routing magazines illustrating how to rout ellipses with a ‘home made’ jig. (Too large an article to be included here)

Calculate the template cut-out
The size of the internal dimensions of the box plus the difference between the template guide and cutter
Cut-out = internal dimensions of box plus 21mm (2)

New Template required to Rout the Lid: If the same cutter and template guide is to be used to rout the underside of the lid it will be necessary to prepare a second Template. This second template should be 5mm smaller all round.

Produce a New Template:
The new Template is cut using the existing template. Secure the first template to the new piece of material and select a 16mm guide with a 6mm straight cutter and produce a second template with a smaller elliptical cut out required to rout the lid. This combination of template guide and cutter will produce a template that is 5mm small all round.

1 Rout a larger ellipse than required then reduce to a smaller size with the template guide and straight cutter.
2 Subject to the selection of the 19mm dish cutter and the 40mm template guide combination recommended.

The prepared templates are classified as ‘Female Templates’ at this stage it will be necessary to produce two ‘Male Templates’. In this instance the male templates are referred to as ‘Plugs’ and are required to fit neatly into the recesses produced in both the base and lid of the box. Plugs should be prepared in advance before routing out the base and lid.

Routing the ‘Plugs’. The plugs can be cut with the router more accurately, with a 16mm template guide and a 5mm straight cutter.
Two plugs are required, one for the base material and one for the lid. Routing the plugs will ensure a good fit.

Method of routing the plugs: Secure two or three 9mm MDF material together and attach to a jig to be placed in the jig holder. With the first template secure in position, rout through the top two pieces, then remove the waste material on the other piece with a Jig saw to leave 1 – 2mm for trimming with the router. Repeat the process with the second template to produce the second plug.

When the plug is inserted it should be at least 10mm higher than the material. If you only have the one router and you do not want to insert it in the below bench position for trimming, turn the material over and secure it to a scrap piece of material on a sacrificial board. It will be necessary to give the router maximum support and therefore the router should be used in the ski mode. The plug can be trimmed with the router in the plunge mode. Once the plugs have been completed proceed to rout the base of the box.

Removing the waste material with a drill will reduce the routing time, and wear and tear on the cutter. Consider a number of methods of securing the material:
(1) Screw the material to the base through the waste material at each corner.
(2) Adding eight blocks, two at each corner would be sufficient or
(3) Nailing two ‘shelf supports’ at each corner to hold the material secure or
(4) Inserting two cams 40mm diameter and 12mm thick at each corner

To cater for a variety of different size of material adjustable cams will hold the material secure no matter what size it is. It will be necessary to insert ‘Tee Nuts’ into the base of the jig holder to secure the cams using the ‘cabinet connector’ illustrated or gutter bolts. The cams are cut from 40mm diameter material, and the length of the cams will depend on the thickness of the material to produce the project. Abrasive paper is glued to the bottom of the cams to increase friction.

With the material held secure in the Jig Holder and the template secured with the thumb screws, clamp the Jig Holder to the bench with two clamps. Or secure to bench with two screws through the ends of the Jig Holder.

Template Guide and Cutter:
With the material secured and the jig holder clamped to the bench Select 40mm template guide and 19mm dish cutter (No TD 706 ½Carb-I-Tool.)
Note: To preserve the life of the dish cutter rout out the majority of the waste material with a straight cutter (12mm) or simply drill out most of the waste material. Rout in stages to leave 3mm thickness for the base of the box.

Note: This particular cutter was short in length and to achieve the required depth it was necessary to use a 40mm diameter guide to allow the chuck to penetrate through.

Section through the Jig holder material, template and router support. Note the material inserted round the inside of the jig holder to support the template and prevent it from ‘Tipping’.


With the material and template secure in position plunge the router, until the cutter engages the material to be cut. Lock the carriage and set the depth of cut.

Set the Depth of Cut:
The depth of cut is set by inserting a piece of material the required depth, between the stop and the anvil.

Routing the Base
In a series of cuts, rout the base to the required depth. Rout in a Clockwise direction, and back and forward across the block. (Across the grain) Note; It is important to remove the waste material regularly. This should be vacuumed out before making the final cut.

Do not remove the Template until a final inspection has been made for any imperfection. Only when you are satisfied with the result, remove the Template.

Fit the Plug
Before removing the template the first plug is tried in the base to ensure it is a tight ‘fit'. The fit will depend on the cutter in use, E.g. The number of times the cutter has been sharpened. (It could be smaller) If the plug is small ‘paper shims’ can be added to give a tighter fit. The first ‘Plug’ should fit neatly into the base recess.

When fitted, the plug should project at least 10mm above the surface of the material, when inserted in the base. It will be necessary to build up the plugs to the final thickness by adding another layer and then trimmed to size. Some packing material may also be used under the plug to raise it to the required height.

Rout External Edge.
It is important to give the router maximum support when routing the external edge. To solve the problem make a simple set of ‘Skis’. Purchase two rods 650mm long from your local metal supply store. The rods should be the same diameter as your side fence attachment rods.

They say a photograph is worth a Thousand words.
What I have prepared in my CD-ROM 2 is photographs and detailed drawings to illustrate each process step by step.

This project is another achievement by the Vision Impaired

Rectangular Boxes

Small rectangular/square boxes are produced in various sizes and constructed using a number of joints. (See below) Various timbers are available for use from 'square' material to man made moulded materials already sold at the local wood store, or the profile could be added with the router inserted in the router table before the box is constructed.
Some additional mouldings can also be added after the box has been glued together.

Each box can be individually designed and may include one of the following methods of joining each corner.
(1) Simple Butt joint
(2) Rebated Joint
(3) Finger joint
(4) Dovetail joint
(5) Mitre joint
(6) Lock Mitre Joint (Subject to the section of material used)

Mitred Joints
For a number of years we were limited to a number of hand tools available to produce the small box. (Illustrated left).
(1) Tenon saw in a Mitre box
(2) Mitre Saw
(3) Smoothing plane

Consider an alternative method of producing mitres with the aid of the router.

Mitred Corner Boxes
With modern technology, electrical tools have been introduced to make the process of producing the mitres easier, and may consider the project can be produced quicker and more accurately.
But is it safer?

The dimensions of the box are approximately 210 x 140 x 55mm and is created from material 8 – 10mm thick, therefore there is a need to consider greater safety awareness before attempting to produce the box. This is an attempt to show how versatile the router can be when the joints are produced with the router.

Inserting the router in the router table may be considered as the obvious choice to construct the joints.

Take time to deliberate on an alternative method that may be considered safer, a method where the router is used in the plunge mode. You may deem this technique to be new and therefore I have found it is necessary to construct a number of detailed drawings to illustrate and assist in the preparation before construction of the joint. .

The mitre cutter with a bearing has been chosen to rout the mitres

The purpose of the jig holder displayed in previous chapters is to assist in securing the material in position in a simple Jig which is inserted into the jig holder. This jig holder will also hold the Template during the process of routing the mitre.

Sectional views have also been included building up to the final project as we proceed from stage to stage. Note: Ignore the feint images seen in the drawing as this is a complete series of drawings that will build up to the final drawing as we proceed in stages.

After the Jig holder is constructed insert a base piece 400 x 300 x 16mm thick (Jig). This will hold the material to be cut in position, therefore converting the base piece into the Jig. It may also be necessary to secure the jig to the sides. This can be achieved with a number of screws inserted through the side of the Jig Holder

All details of constructing the small boxes with the router have been illustrated with drawings and Pic on the CD-ROM 2

Circular Coffee Table

There are at least four stages to be considered in the construction of the table.
1. The shape of the legs
2. The shape of the rails
3. The shape of the top
4. How the rails are joined to the legs

The proud owner of this table completed all the processes even though he was classified as Vision Impaired (Blind)

The shape of the legs.
It is essential to prepare an accurate template as per drawing. Conventional method for the average woodworker would be to prepare a template, reduce the shape of the leg with a band saw, fix the template to the material, then trim to shape in the router table fitted with a trimming cutter. This would require pinning the template to the material leaving holes to be filled before it is polished. Consider an alternative method of routing the legs without the requirement of attaching the template to the leg material.

The material to be cut should be held secure in a Jig Holder. At least two templates will be required. The templates must also be prepared accurately to ensure a good finish.

Jig Holder is 600mm x 300mm x 40mm deep internal dimensions.
The jig is located in the bottom of the jig holder and templates are produced 600 x 300 x 12mm

Details of the leg dimensions have been published on CD-ROM 2 with the complete leg produced with the router

Cutting Crcles withthe router

Investigate the alternative methods of routing Circles

Four of the most commonly used circle cutting jigs which are used regularly by a number of outer enthusiasts.

(1) Trammel Method
Some router manufacturers produce a trammel as an accessory. The Trammel consists of a metal bar that fits through the holes on the side of the router base, with a pin fixed at the other end as a centre point. (This pin can be adjustable as seen in the diagram.)This method of routing circles will restrict the minimum radius to greater than 1/2 the diameter of the router base

(2) Base plate (a)
Remove the router base plate, and attach a 12mm Base plate approximately 300 x 160 and screw it to the router base, using longer screws and washers. The washers and screw heads should be sunk below the surface of the base.

(3) Base Plate (b)
Remove the router base plate. This jig can be constructed from clear hard acrylic or MDF laminated both sides.

(4) Alternative trammel design
Simple trammel design constructed from 12mm plywood or MDF with a series of holes for a variety of radii.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each jig before proceeding to construct your jig. You should also consider the new circle cutting jig.

Advantages Trammels are readily available for purchase and are capable of producing a large number of circle especially with extensions added to the arm. Adjusting to the various radii required is relatively simple on the router base or on the arm of the trammel
Small circles cannot be cut. {Smaller than 160mm diameter} (approx)

Base Plate a
Relatively simple to make by removing the router base plate, and attaching a 12mm Base plate approximately 300 x 160 to the base of the router. and inserting a panel pin to the required radius. The panel pin is filed to a point. Small diameter circles can easily be cut.
To change the radius the pin has to be relocated to another position.
There is no fine adjustment available.

Base Plate b

The jig is adjustable to produce a greater variety of circle.
Additional ‘Tee nuts’ can be added to increase the size of the circle required.
Small diameter circles can be cut easily
New router base plate has to be constructed.
Router base plate has to be removed.
Any variation to circle diameter, will require the adjustment of the four screws holding the new router base plate.
Special metal pin is required. (Tee nuts are readily available for purchase)

Simple Trammell

Simple to make from strips of boarding.
No special pins are required as the arm can be screwed or pinned to material.
Trammel can be easily fitted to the router base.
Small circles cannot be cut easily
There is no fine adjustment

(5) New Circle Cutting Jig
Side Fence Attachment is used to hold the router. (This will depend on brand of router you are using)
Greater variety of circles can be produced
Side Fence Attachment is added to a piece of MDF 300 x 180 x 12mm (approx). No great expenditure
Any ‘Fine’ adjustment to the radius of the circle is made from the top, by sliding the base of the router on the rods.
Small radius circles can be cut easily

Takes time to construct and requires special pins

Details of the new Circle cutting Jig are available on CD-ROM 2