Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 4
May 2007
Router Template Guides

Router template guides fit into the base of your router and direct it along the edge of a template. They can be used to accurately rout the edge of your stock to a specific shape, to rout cavities and mortises, or even to accurately bore positioned holes. They're especially useful when making several parts that all need to be the same size, or when working with a complex shape.

Router template guides

Some routers use a proprietary guide system, while other manufacturers provide adapters or design their base plates to accept commonly available aftermarket guides. To determine whether a particular router accepts aftermarket guides, look at the hole in the base plate. If it has a 1-3/16" through-hole with a 1-3/8" diameter counterbore, it does.

Usually, guides are sold in a set that includes different sizes, but often you can find individually sold ones. Standard aftermarket guides include a ring nut that secures the guide to the base. Some specialty aftermarket base plates allow the use of standard guides with routers having original bases that use a proprietary system.

Guides are especially useful in a low-production environment where you are making a number of the same pieces. Creating a template for trimming a rough-cut piece of wood ensures that each piece will be identical to all the others. However, the templates themselves must to be thick enough to accommodate the depth of the guide. Remember this when planning your project, as different manufacturers and even different guide diameters can come in varying depths. Also, be sure to firmly attach the templates to your stock using double-sided tape or even screws if one side of your finished project won't show. You can also use clamps if they don't get in the way of the router.

You can use guides with a fixed-base router, but using a plunge router is more effective for routing internal cavities or shapes. This allows you to properly position the router first, and then plunge the bit into the wood.


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