I have been asked a few times about this so here is a condensed version:
For templating I use:
1/8" x 2 7/8" x 8' luan. Then I stack them and chop-saw 25" (or 25 1/2")
off the stack. Sometimes I pre-cut 45 degree angles if that template is
going to use a few.
Those are my counter 'depth' pieces. (One of my guys likes 1/8" MDF
better "because it is not so 'slivery'"....wimp.) Sometimes, when I do
an 'elevated' template ( on top of an existing counter ) I make blocks,
about 3" high and hot-melt them along the front of the existing counter.
They knock off easily after templating. That way you get to scribe the
back wall on top of the back splash.
The back of the counter I scribe with a Sharpie (gives me 1/4" offset)
I assemble the template with a couple 3-M poly guns (hot-melt)
Then, in strategic places, I cut the templates with 3" aviation snips and
mark the template with all the important info..sink location, radius
corners, finished edges etc. I also mark where all the gables are so I
make sure there won't be a seam over the dishwasher...NEVER put a seam
over the dishwasher. I include the overhang of the counter top in my
template. (I used to do the cabinets only...some people just can't add 1
1/2".) I end up with chunks of template <60" so they fit in my trunk
(back seat down)
I re-assemble in the shop. You end up with something that looks like
On big jobs, like a U-shape, I take a reference measurement across the
'mouth' of the u-shape, just to make sure I get it right when
re-assembling the template. You can do diagonal references as well.
Then I jigsaw the scribed line and trace it onto the new counter
(keeping the 1/4" offset in mind.)
These types of templates are fabulous for all kinds of things..like
bathroom floors. Sub floor cuts and even finished flooring.
Full height back splashes are another application where they
shine..electrical plug locations, window sills etc..nice system.... and
cheap. You hold the template strips in place, vertically, by putting
small dabs of hotmelt on the strip...careful you don't take the paint
off the wall.... so way up high under the edge of the cabinet is usually
ok. You 'box in' the electrical outlets to their actual size.
Hoping this will help somebody.