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Thread: Installing Butterflies with router & template

  1. #1
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    Installing Butterflies with router & template

    Hello, I have done some Butterflies with a router & template. I would like to improve the quality of the fit. I think my issue is centering the bit and the quality of the guide I have. Any tips on brands or techniques would be welcome. Thanks in advance, Kevin

  2. #2
    Maybe post some pictures of your router & template and the finished product. Most likely it is just a matter of practice.

  3. #3
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    Make a key, scribe around it with a knife. Rout free hand near to the edges. Then cut the rest with a chisel.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  4. #4
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    My suggestion is to pitch the down spiral bit that comes with those kits. It packs in the sawdust when you cut the key and if that gets between the template and the bushing, it alters the fit. Use an uncut and you will be happier. I don't do any in veneer work, so can't see any advantage of using a down cut spiral.

  5. #5
    +1 on hand cutting. It's really easy to do. Cut just shy of the line and bevel the butterfly on the bottom. Pound it in for a nice tight interference fit.

  6. #6
    +1 with Brian and Johnny. Without pix I would guess that your issue is the diameter of the bit. If you are not using a matched collar and 1/16" bit your corners will not fit crisply. Think about the geometry of the angles and the diameter of the bit and you may see what I mean. I think router cut inlay is a great idea but I always end up cutting the outlines by hand. In fact, I usually end up excavating the inside with a router plane.

    Doug

  7. #7
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    But, If you want to do it with your router I cannot stress enough critical centering of your template. There a machined pins for doing this which are far superior to the plastic gizmos that off and come with routers.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 01-31-2019 at 7:38 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Hepler View Post
    +1 with Brian and Johnny. Without pix I would guess that your issue is the diameter of the bit. If you are not using a matched collar and 1/16" bit your corners will not fit crisply. Think about the geometry of the angles and the diameter of the bit and you may see what I mean. I think router cut inlay is a great idea but I always end up cutting the outlines by hand. In fact, I usually end up excavating the inside with a router plane.

    Doug
    Incredibly easy to square out the corners of the pocket with a chisel when using an 1/8" bit. A 1/16" bit is really going to make the process tedious.

  9. #9
    I made my own templates to cut keys and mortises at the same time which allowed me to achieve zero clearance. I simply clean out the corners for a CNC quality fit. 5 sizes

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Incredibly easy to square out the corners of the pocket with a chisel when using an 1/8" bit. A 1/16" bit is really going to make the process tedious.

    I'm recommending a 1/16" bit to cut the perimeter of the pocket, not for hogging out the rest of it. As I said, if you think about the geometry of the angles you are trying to cut in the pocket and the diameter of the bit you will see what I mean. The smaller the diameter, the less wood will need to be removed from the angle.

    Doug

  11. #11
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    If you’re using a router and template, there’s no reason at all for a butterfly to have the traditional shape. All you need is a shape with wider ends than the middle. For instance a dogbone shape would work. Me, I think the traditional shape is boring — been there, done that.

    A tiny benefit of a shape without sharp inside corners is that you don’t need any chisel clean-up work.

  12. #12
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    Not sure if you make your own template/inserts. Check out Big Island Engravers (stebbinsstudios) and look at his inlay patches. He makes very good templates/inserts (pewas here in the Islands). Also he has turtle and dolphins. His kits are very tightly fitting.
    Lots of info on his site as well.

  13. #13
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    Not difficult with 1/4" Masonite(hardboard?) template, two sided tape(I use small brads sometimes), and a plunge router. Keeping the guide bushing tight to the template when milling the inlay is the only big concern. take small passes with the 1/8" bit as well.

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