I mostly use CW's method and but sometimes use the edge guide that came
with my router. For the ultimate indulgence try a microfence
(http://www.microfence.com /). Pat Warner (www.patwarner.com) also has a
nice one (much cheaper than the microfence). Click on one of the Edge
Guide links on the left side of his web page.
Of course there are the tracks that are used for panels - they have
attachments for routers or circular saws. I think a representative one
is made by Tru-Grip (www.trugrip.com). I use a straight piece of wood,
manually keep the tool next to the edge, and then cleanup any mistakes
later. Might even cut a little large and then trim with table saw.
I have used those TruGrip fences for years. They're great. You just
need to be careful on thinner material as they can buckle the panel
quite easily, as they are very powerful clamps.
On straight work, I use a square router base. Much better than a round
one when following a fence.
Pattern bits are the # 1 choice if you're going to go around curves
etc. I make (assemble) my own pattern bits.
It's a cute toy; however, it's tough to be a good straight edge and a
SFWIW, have the fancy handy dandy Porter Cable edge guide that came as
part of a package.
It has been collecting dust for about 10 years.
I'm not shy about dropping the coin on good tools, but...
My edge guides are simply strips of tempered hardboard glued and brad
nailed to a jointed board. The exposed hardboard needs to be at
least as wide as the distance from edge of the router base to the bit.
The first cut trims the hardboard to the exact width, and after that,
you always know where the cut will be. The edge of hardboard is
simply aligned with the cut mark as the guide is clamped to the work.
With a Sharpie, write the bit, router, and base you used on the jig
for next time. Optionally, you can rub some wax or spray some Top
Cote where the router rides.
I use these jigs for routers, circular saws, and jig saws. They're
cheap, easy, and fast to make up on the spot, and work fantastic for
crosscutting table tops or anything else that won't ride a saw.
When routing dados, I like two boards, as CW mentioned, with the
distance set with an actual piece of stock. Put board #1 on the line
& clamp, squeeze the sample stock against board #2 and clamp, remove
the sample stock, rout with a pattern bit.
Once you own a good pattern bit (or 5, as you'll need assorted
diameters and lengths... <G>), you can whip out identical parts,
radius or square corners, etc... with ease using hardboard or MDF
Double sided carpet tape is fantastic for attaching guides and
patterns to the work when clamps can't be used.
With the money you save not buying the guide, buy GOOD pattern bits,
like Whiteside, CMT, etc... They tend to get used a bunch once you
own them and plywood glue can be tough on edges.
If it's straight line stuff - the Micro-Fence. REAL handy if you're
doing straight inlays. The inlay material is seldom the width
specified - what with it being wood. The router bit is seldom
EXACTLY its nomional size. Being able to start with an undersized
bit and widening things to match the inlay width either EXACTLY
or with a thousandth or two extra for glue - THAT'S NICE!
If the radius of the curves aren't too tight - again the Micro-Fence.
Want to make longer radius curved parts that fit together
And if you want the same level of precision in your depth of
cut - get the Micro Fence trim router plunge base - same
control over precision.
Miciro-Fence also has an adapter that will let you use a longer
edge guide - Clamp 'N Guide specifically.
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