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Thread: Favorite material for templates?

  1. #1
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    Favorite material for templates?

    What is your favorite material for templates for use with a pattern bit? I was thinking tempered hardboard but I am not sure it would hold up to repeated use and I hope to use these over and over.

    Obviously plywood would be a good choice, maybe luan? It's cheap.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
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  2. #2
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    Either 1/4 or 3/8 Baltic birch are my favourite choices. Maybe overkill.
    Peter

  3. #3
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    I usually use 1/2" MDF. Machines and finishes well, and holds up good when making multiple copies.

    Tony, BCE '75

  4. #4
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    Never seen baltic birch in this part of the sticks.

    I was thinking MDF after I posted that. But man I hate working that stuff. But I bet it would be good.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  5. #5
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    I've used both hardboard and mdf. The hardboard doesn't hold up as well as the mdf though.
    Darren

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  6. #6
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    MDF will work if you are not going to use if more than a few times but if you want something that will last and hold up to a lot of use then go with 1/2 Baltic Birch.

    1/4 is to thin for a good pattern and easy to slip off of and ruin your part DAMHINT

    The MDF is to soft for more than a few cuts after that the bearing will start to wear into the edge.

    I used Baltic Birch in production with vacuum and it will last until a bearing comes off the pattern bit, again DAMHINT

  7. #7
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    We just re-did our kitchen floor with a hardwood laminate. The strips are about 8"x48"x slightly over a quarter inch thick. I've been using leftover pieces to make templates, it works great.
    Jesus was a Woodworker

  8. #8
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    I use 1/4" MDF with white melamine. The white increases visibility at the edge for my tired eyes. I have yet to wear one out but I hardly do what you would call production runs.
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    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
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    Check with a local cabinet shop for baltic birch Jeff. I have yet to see it at any HD or Lowes. Just tell them you want the stuff they make their cabinet drawers out of. What they call balitic birch is only chinese birch.
    Aloha,

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    Never seen baltic birch in this part of the sticks.

    I was thinking MDF after I posted that. But man I hate working that stuff. But I bet it would be good.
    To make the MDF last a long time with a lot of use, seal the edges with thin shellac then about three coats of nitrocellulose lacquer over the whole thing, sanding the edges lightly between coats. You could also harden the template edges by sizing/sealing them with thin wood glue to extend life.

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