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: