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

Selecting the router bits
As indicated, guides are generally used with straight router bits. When routing edges, a standard straight bit with two flutes is adequate. When routing cavities or holes, up-cut spiral bits are preferred, as they help clear waste from your work. The diameter of your bit has to be small enough to allow for clearance between the bit and the inside of the template guide. This prevents chips and sawdust from collecting.

Making your templates
With guides, your template will be larger or smaller than the finished size because of the offset between the cutting edge of the router bit and the edge of the guide that rides along the template.

You can calculate your offset by taking the guide-bushing diameter, subtracting the bit diameter and dividing by two.

For instance, using a 5/8" guide bushing and a 3/8" bit, the calculation is as follows:

5/8" - 3/8" = 2/8"

2/8" / 2 = 1/8"


Calculating offset



The below chart gives the offset for common guide-bushing and router-bit diameter combinations. Note that some combinations won't work because the router bit is too large to fit inside the guide bushing with sufficient clearance.

 

 
Router Bit Diameter
Template Guide
1/8
1/4
3/8
1/2
5/16
3/32
 
 
 
3/8
1/8
1/16
 
 
7/16
5/32
3/32
 
 
1/2
3/16
1/8
1/16
 
5/8
1/4
3/16
1/8
1/16
3/4
5/16
1/4
3/16
1/8

 
 

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