Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: Template Routing

My First Shot at Template Routing


I recently tried my hand a template routing for the first time. I knew I should have listened to that little voice in my head that was telling me to send a test piece through before my work piece. I ruined my work piece as a result of my reluctance and had to start over. Fortunately, I had plenty of spare wood and it didn’t take me very long to get back to where I was.  Here is what I learned from my experience:

1) When you initially cut your piece out (whether with bandsaw or jigsaw), cut as close to the line as possible. The more space you have between the edge of your template and your bit, the more likely you are to experience chip out.

2) Like with most other tools, cut with the grain, not against it.  This will typically mean that you need to cut down the curve. You may need to flip the work piece at some point.

3) If using tape to secure your work piece to the template, make sure that it’s secure. This is where I really went wrong. While cutting the arms for a pair of Adirondack chairs, my double-sided tape began to slip. This allowed my work piece to be pulled into the bit.  This is the result:


Warm Weather Means Outdoor Furniture

It’s getting warm, which means I’ll likely be building lots of outdoor furniture. Here I’m using Cypress to build a pair of Adirondack chairs for a new customer. They will be based off of Norm Abram’s classic design, but differ in a few key details. This time I will be using a template on a router table to cut all of my curved pieces to size. I hope that this will speed up the build process. Once all of the parts are cut to size, I will assemble the chairs with stainless hardware and an exterior wood glue. I will finish them with Epifane’s Clear Varnish. This should help them to hold up to the elements for decades.

photo 1

Cypress is great for outdoor furniture.  It’s naturally bug and rot resistant, and it’s also light weight.  My first pair of Adirondack chairs have been sitting in the backyard for about a year now.  They are in direct contact with the wet ground, and in full sunlight.  Despite being unfinished, they show now signs of giving up.

photo 2

I created a template out of mdf (left).  I will use it to cut the rough sawn pieces (right) to final dimensions.  This will ensure that all pieces are uniform and greatly speed the build process.