A Router Jig, or a Ingenious Method of Work?

A_BasePhotoThose of you who read this blog know my penchant for routers. My router, and a circle-cutting jig, made easy work of the inlay on my clock base, as shown at the left. Circle jigs are not used on every project. In fact, they are not used on most projects, but when you need one, it’s nice to have options.

Recently, I teamed up with Popular Woodworking Magazine for a new router-based DVD. “Router Joinery & Techniques with Glen D. Huey” is available as a DVD or a digital download. Click here to pick up a copy.

A_Router DVD CoverIn the DVD I talk about and demonstrate using circle-cutting jigs. There are jigs that replace a router base-plate and those that work with router bushings. These jig designs work in different ways so it’s good to have both in your shop. But there is a circle-cutting jig in your shop already and you may not realize it’s there.

Obviously, I used a circle jig to cut the groove at the center of the base for my white/black/while banding. (Not wanting to ruin my veneered panel meant no pin at the center on which to pivot my jig, so I made a plywood pattern of the circle, a large hole if you will, then ran my router – guided by a bushing – around the inside of my pattern to cut the inlay groove.)

I also used my router to cut the quarter circles for my fan inlay. At a 1 1/2″ radius, I could not use circle-cutting jigs as they are normally used. To make these cuts I drilled a hole in my router base then swung my router in an arc.

A_Veneer PanelI began with a veneered panel attached to front of my clock base. (I had my veneer bonded to a backer to make life easier. Bonding to a cross-grained back allows veneer to be worked and stored more like boards – no veneer softeners, newspaper layering or time lost waiting.) Before moving on, I used a straightedge and a pattern bit to create an area for edge banding.

A_PinPin placement was a snap. I used a Czeck Edge Birdcage awl to start my hole – really like this tool – then drilled for my pin. Measured 1 1/2″ from a 1/16″ inlay router bit toward the outside of my router plate, then drilled a hole the same diameter as my pin.

A_QuarterCutThe router slips right over the pin and because I was cutting in from the edge-band area, there was no need to plunge my cut. All I had to do was flip the router switch to the “on” position and rotate my router through the cut. A perfect 1/16″-wide, quarter-circle groove was made.

A_CutCompleteWith the grooves complete, I cut and installed my edge banding, installed stringing that straddled the veneer and edge banding to cover my seam and to define my fan area, then used my router again to waste away the fan area before installing the sand-shaded fans.

Is using the router plate as I did considered a jig? Is it an example of “out of the box” thinking? Or, is it a standard router technique?

Build Something Great!
Glen

2 Comments

Filed under Inlay, Jigs, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips

2 responses to “A Router Jig, or a Ingenious Method of Work?

  1. Joe Lyddon

    Glen,

    Where do you get a 1/16″ router bit?
    How long do they last?
    Easy to break?

    Thank you,
    Joe

  2. Hey Joe,
    1/16″ router bits are available a few places. I have a Bosch
    85208M bit, but while I can find it listed on a Bosch site, there is no additional information to be had. It is a 1/4″ shank router bit. Another place to get smaller router bits is at inlaybandings.com. You can get a 1/16″ straight bit, but the shank is only 1/8″. The site also sells collet adapters that work great. The photo I show in the post is the inlaybandings.com setup.

    Are they easy to break? In a word, yes. But if used properly to cut a 1/16″ groove that is deep enough for string, these bits should last a while. I would suggest you pick up a few if you decide to order.

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