Does a router smooth edges significantly more than a jigsaw?


It can be rough putting a decorative edge on plywood. On the other hand, if you can put some facing on that edge, you could use a router to chamfer or round the top edge of the facing and have a super smooth result that you can stain or paint.

You could use a thin strip of wood, steam it or soak it in hot water and gently bend it around that curve and fasten it (glue plus brads). The router would be really nice for finishing it.

To make the initial cut, though, you've done a great job with the jigsaw. If you try the same thing with the router (or even if you want to try to re-do it with a jigsaw), I would look for something you can use as a jig to guide your cut. And example would be something rigid you could attach to the base of your jigsaw (or router) with the blade/bit poking through, then attach to the counter top at an appropriate pivot point (the center of the arc), then you just swing around the pivot point.

Here's an example (not trying to market...

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Straight Edges without a Jointer

Here’s a device for jointing boards using only a router. It’s a long straightedge equipped with clamps for holding a workpiece plus a durable metal edge for guiding a flush-trim bit. When not in use, it easily stores against a wall.

To make the straightedge, you’ll need an 8-ft.-long, 12-in.-wide piece of plywood, such as melamine shelving, an 8-ft.-long piece of 1-in. by 1-in. aluminum angle, 8 ft. of T-track, and some commercial clamps made for T-track or their shop-made equivalents (see Source, below).

Rout the plywood so the T-track and aluminum angle are flush with its surface. Epoxy the T-track into its groove; drill and countersink holes in the angle so you can screw it to the plywood.

To use the jig, clamp your board so its uneven edge just overhangs the straightedge, install a bottom-bearing flush-trim bit in your machine, and rout...

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A block plane is probably the first hand plane you'll use when getting started in woodworking. It's a relatively affordable hand tool and it's versatile. Plus, its diminutive size makes it easy to use with one hand for all types of woodworking tasks, including smoothing edges, breaking corners, trimming one surface flush to another, cleaning up end grain, and fitting joinery.

In episode eight of our free video series, Getting Started in Woodworking, we demonstrate some of the more common uses for the block plane, identify its parts, and show you how to tune up a block plane.

For that, we traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to the workshop of Chris Gochnour, for a detailed video tutorial. Gochnour demonstrates the tune-up process using a Stanley No. 60-1/2 low-angle adjustable-mouth block plane, but his tips and techniques can be applied to just about any plane in your tool box.

Anatomy of a block plane
The blade on a block plane, (click to enlarge...

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Follow these steps

Many times when making trays, shallow bowls, or clocks, the need arises to cut large holes. Often the holes are odd-size diameters or irregularly shaped. As you'll see in the following steps, a router, pattern bit, and shop-made template will cut these holes accurately every time.

1. Mark the workpiece

Cut an MDF or hardboard template to the desired hole shape using a jigsaw, scrollsaw, or circle cutter. Sand sawn edges smooth. Now, hold the template on the workpiece and mark the hole location as shown.

2. Rough-out the hole

Using a drill press and 1" Forstner bit set just less than the finished hole depth, hog out as much material from the hole as you can. Be sure to leave the layout line to relocate the template on the workpiece.

3. Reinstall the template

Using double-faced tape or hotmelt glue, attach the template to the workpiece. Take care aligning it with the marked layout line.

4. Rout the...

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Photos by Steve Maxwell

Too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing, and router bits are a case in point. There are thousands of different bits available these days, as well as hundreds of different pre-packaged router bit collections. But which bits are really the most useful? Which profiles yield the biggest improvement in your work? What terrific bits don’t you know about yet?

Answers to these questions will be at least a little bit different for each woodworker, but after more than 25 years in the shop, I’d like to show you three families of router bits that are not only amazingly useful, but are often under-appreciated. Add these bits to your collection, and they may well become your all-time favourites too.

#1 The Flush-Trim Bit: Curved part duplication, easy mortises and accurate dados

Flush-trim – These bits are essential for pattern routing, especially when making multiple parts that must be the same.

Any router bit with...
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The most common jigsawing mistake is not using the correct wood-cutting blade for the task at hand. It's easy to pick the wrong blade, especially for novice DIYers, because jigsaw blades come in dozens of widths, lengths, and tooth configurations.

There are two general rules to keep in mind here: First, wider blades are best for making long, straight cuts, and narrow blades are better for cutting curves. Second, blades with larger and fewer teeth cut extremely fast but produce a rough, splintered surface. Blades with smaller teeth but more of them cut slower but leave behind a smoother surface.

Before purchasing a new blade, check the packaging for specific information on the type and thickness of material it is designed to...

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Routing and smoothing edges flush, trimming overhanging material


First trim the overhang from the edging using the MFK 700 so that it is flush with the panel. Practical: the extractor hose is

attached directly at the tabletop and does not pose an obstacle when guiding the machine. The ball bearing guide brake ensures

perfect, streak-free working results.


To achieve a clean, rounded finish, move the edge router

towards the edging with the cutter rotating and trim the

overhang as well as the radius.


If the cutter leaves impact marks during the routing process,

you can smooth them over using the scraper.



You can remove any remaining overhang using the scraper.


Special classic ogee cutters with reversible blades

are available for the MFK 700 Basic with radii of 1, 1.5, 2 and

3 mm. Suitable for edging thicknesses of 1, 1.5, 2 and 3...

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The first tool that I’m going to attach is the router. I measured the size of the opening, found its center, and drew a square on the panel that I need to cut with a jigsaw.

Making the Opening.

Then I drilled out four holes, one in each corner to pass the jigsaw blade through. These holes will be starting points for the jigsaw. While cutting you should try to stay as close to the line as possible.

I’ve cut the opening and used a rasp to remove all the extra wood that I couldn’t cut with the jigsaw.

Next, I need to make a rabbet for the insert that will hold the router from below. I’m drawing the perimeter of the square that I need to cut. To follow the line of the perimeter I clamped down a few pieces of scrap wood.

I’m using a straight 12 mm bit to route this section out, but I set the depth of the cut on 5 mm, so I need to pass twice on the same surface to get the 10 mm depth.

Creating the Inserts.

Now I need to make the inserts...

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MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is an engineered material made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into fine particles, combining it with wax and a resin binder and applying high temperature and pressure.

Advantages of MDF

MDF is generally cheaper than plywood. The surface of MDF is very smooth which makes it great surface for painting. MDF is very consistent throughout, so cut edges appear smooth and won’t have voids or splinters. Because of the smooth edges, you can use a router to create decorative edges. The consistency and smoothness of MDF allows for easy cutting of detailed designs (such as scrolled or scalloped designs) using a scroll saw, band saw or jigsaw.

Disadvantages of MDF

Just like particle board, MDF will soak up water and other liquids like a sponge and swell unless it’s very well sealed on all sides and edges. Because it consists of such fine particles, MDF doesn’t hold screws very well. Because it’s so dense, MDF is very heavy which...
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Working with Acrylic

Acrylic Sheeting/Plexiglas:©
Acrylic sheeting is widely known as Plexiglas©. Plexiglass©, however, is the name given to acrylic sheeting manufactured by Atofina. The same acrylic type sheeting is also known by the names Acrylite©, Lucite© and Perspex©. From this point on, I'll refer to it simply as acrylic.

Before we begin...

Do not remove the film or paper protector from the acrylic until you absolutely have to. The material can be scratched relatively easily. If the application requires that the surface is scratch free (for a show vehicle, etc...) leave it on until it's about to be installed in the vehicle.

When cleaning the acrylic material, only use cleaners that are approved by the manufacturer. Unlike glass, glass cleaners (like those with ammonia) can damage some acrylic.

When cutting acrylic for applications where the edge will be visible and will need to be either polished or at least very smooth, it's...
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Car Audio Subwoofer Enclosures

This page will touch on a few new topics (all of which are covered in detail on upcoming pages). It will attempt to help you get what you want from your audio system and your subwoofer in particular.

Many people don't realize that, unless you have virtually unlimited resources, there are going to be trade offs when designing a system. If you want a system to produce a lot of SPL (but have limited power or number of speakers), you'll probably have to concentrate a lot of the acoustic energy within a small band of frequencies. This would allow you to generate the desired SPL and properly impress your friends. It would, however, leave you with a system that would have less than perfect frequency response and marginal performance at the low frequency end of the spectrum. You could design a system that would produce the desired SPL at all frequencies but it would require significantly more power and speakers than the aforementioned system with the...

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