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Woodworking Router Templates: 4 Powerful Accessories to Elevate Your Router Game

Woodworking Router Templates

If you are new to woodworking and haven’t yet learned about the benefits of woodworking router templates, then you’re in for a real treat. Have you ever wanted to create beautiful and intricate designs in your woodworking projects? Look no further than woodworking router templates. These handy tools allow you to easily replicate patterns and shapes with precision and ease. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, using router templates can open up a whole new world of possibilities for your creations. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using woodworking router templates and how they can enhance your woodworking experience. So grab your router and get ready to take your woodworking skills to the next level!

What are Woodworking Router Templates?

Woodworking router templates are tools that are used to guide a router to create precise and accurate cuts in wood. They are essentially guides that help woodworkers achieve consistent and repeatable results in their woodworking projects. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced woodworker, using router templates can significantly enhance your capabilities and ensure that your cuts are clean and precise.


Woodworking router templates, also known as router jigs or router guides, are pre-designed patterns or shapes made of various materials, such as plastic or metal. These templates have pre-drilled holes or cutouts that allow the woodworker to guide the router bit along the desired path, resulting in precise and accurate cuts. They come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different woodworking projects, from simple straight cuts to complex designs.


Router templates are extremely important in woodworking for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a level of accuracy and precision that is hard to achieve freehand. The templates act as guides, ensuring that the router follows a specific path without deviation, resulting in clean and precise cuts.

Secondly, woodworking router templates save time and effort. Instead of measuring and marking the desired shape or pattern on the wood, you can simply attach the template and let the router do the work. This not only speeds up the process but also reduces the chances of errors or mistakes.

Furthermore, using router templates ensures consistency in design. If you need to create multiple pieces with the same shape or pattern, the template allows you to replicate it accurately every time. This repeatability is crucial, especially for woodworking projects that require identical pieces or components.

Lastly, woodworking router templates enhance creativity. With a wide range of templates available, you can easily create intricate decorative patterns, inlays, and other complex designs that would be challenging to achieve freehand. Templates give woodworkers the freedom to experiment and explore new possibilities in their woodworking projects.

Types of Woodworking Router Templates

There are various types of woodworking router templates available, each designed to cater to different woodworking tasks. Here are some common types of woodworking router templates you may come across:

  1. Straight Edge Templates: These templates are used for routing straight edges or creating guided cuts along a straight line. They typically have a straight guide edge and allow you to achieve clean and precise cuts without the need for a separate straight edge or guide.
  2. Circle Templates: Circle templates are designed to create perfect circles or arcs. They often have a centering hole or pivot point for added accuracy. These templates are useful for creating round tabletops, decorative inlays, or curved edges.
  3. Joint Templates: Joint templates are used for creating specific types of joints, such as dado joints, rabbet joints, mortise and tenon joints, or box joints. These templates have pre-cut slots or recesses that guide the router to create precise cuts for the joints.
  4. Pattern Templates: Pattern templates allow you to create intricate designs or repetitive patterns. These templates come in various shapes and sizes, and they are ideal for making decorative furniture or adding visual interest to woodworking projects.

Now that you understand what woodworking router templates are and why they are important, let’s explore how to choose the right template for your needs.


Woodworking Router Templates - Straight Edge


Choosing the Right Woodworking Router Templates

Choosing the right router template is essential for achieving the desired results in your woodworking projects. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when selecting a router template:

Size and Shape

Consider the size and shape of the template in relation to your project. Determine the dimensions and form of the cuts or patterns you want to create, and choose a template that accommodates those specifications. It is important to ensure that the template fits the dimensions of your workpiece and allows you to achieve your desired outcome.


Woodworking router templates are available in various materials, including plastic and metal. Consider the material based on the specific requirements of your project. Plastic templates are usually more affordable and lighter, making them easier to handle. Metal templates, on the other hand, tend to be more durable and suitable for heavy-duty applications.


Ensure that the router template you choose is compatible with your router. Check the template’s specifications and compare them to your router’s compatibility requirements. Most woodworking router templates are designed to be compatible with a wide range of routers, but it is always best to double-check to avoid any compatibility issues.


Consider the versatility of the template. Some templates can be used for multiple woodworking tasks and can accommodate various router bits or cutters. Choosing a versatile template allows you to maximize its usefulness and potentially save money by not needing to purchase multiple templates for different tasks.

Now that you have an understanding of what to consider when choosing a router template, let’s explore how to create your own template if you cannot find the exact one you need.

Creating Your Own Woodworking Router Templates

Creating your own router template can be a cost-effective and practical solution if you cannot find a template that matches your specific requirements. Here are the materials needed and a step-by-step process to create your own router template:

Materials Needed

  • Wood or other suitable material for the template base
  • Template guide bushing compatible with your router
  • Router bit suitable for your desired cuts
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Screws or nails
  • Sandpaper or files
  • Measuring tools (ruler, tape measure, compass, etc.)

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Determine the dimensions and design of your template. Measure and mark the desired shape or pattern on the template base material. Use a ruler, tape measure, or compass to ensure accuracy.
  2. Cut the template base material to the desired shape using a saw or other suitable cutting tools. Take your time and make precise cuts to achieve the best results.
  3. Sand or file the edges of the template base to ensure they are smooth and free from any roughness or splinters. This helps prevent any damage to the wood or workpiece during routing.
  4. Attach the template guide bushing to your router. This guide bushing will follow the template and guide the router bit during the cutting process. Consult your router’s user manual or the guide bushing manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation.
  5. Position the template on your workpiece and secure it in place using clamps. Make sure the template is aligned with the desired cutting path and that it is securely fastened to prevent any movement during the routing process.
  6. Set the desired depth and speed on your router based on the specific requirements of your project. Refer to your router’s user manual for instructions on adjusting the depth and speed settings.
  7. Start the router and carefully guide it along the template, following the desired cutting path. Take your time and maintain a steady and controlled movement to achieve clean and precise cuts.
  8. Once you have completed the routing, remove the template and inspect the cuts for any imperfections or areas that may require additional sanding or finishing. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure the desired outcome.

Tips and Tricks

  • When creating your own router template, always take accurate measurements and double-check your design before cutting. Mistakes in the template can lead to inaccurate cuts and affect the overall quality of your woodworking project.
  • Use clamps to secure the template firmly to the workpiece to prevent any movement or slippage during routing. This will ensure precise and consistent cuts.
  • Consider using a template guide bushing with a larger diameter for increased stability and accuracy. A larger guide bushing provides more surface area for the template to follow, reducing the chances of deviation or errors.
  • Practice on scrap or test pieces before working on your final project. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the template and router, ensuring that you are comfortable and confident in your technique before committing to the actual workpiece.

Now that you know how to create your own router template, let’s explore the various tasks you can accomplish using router templates in woodworking.

Using Woodworking Router Templates for Common Woodworking Tasks

Router templates are versatile tools that can be used for a wide range of woodworking tasks. Here are some common tasks and techniques that can be achieved using router templates:

Routing Straight Edges

One of the most basic and common uses of router templates is to create straight edges. Whether you need to trim a piece of wood to size or create a straight edge for joining two pieces together, a straight edge template can help achieve clean and precise cuts. Using a straight edge template eliminates the need for a separate straight edge guide, saving time and ensuring accuracy.

Cutting Circles

Router templates can also be used to cut perfect circles or arcs. Circle templates typically have a centering hole or pivot point that allows you to rotate the router around a fixed point, creating consistent circular cuts. This is particularly useful for creating round tabletops, decorative inlays, or curved edges.

Dado and Rabbet Joints

Dado and rabbet joints are commonly used in woodworking to create secure and strong connections between two pieces of wood. Router templates with pre-cut slots or recesses make it easy to create these joints with precision. The template guides the router along the desired path, ensuring that the cuts are accurate and aligned for a perfect fit.

Mortise and Tenon Joints

Mortise and tenon joints are another popular type of joint used in woodworking. They provide strength and stability by interlocking two pieces of wood. With a mortise and tenon template, you can create these joints accurately and consistently. The template guides the router to create the necessary cuts for the mortise and tenon, resulting in a strong and flush connection.

Making Inlays

Inlays are decorative elements that are inserted into a woodworking project, adding visual interest and dimension. Router templates allow you to create precise inlays by guiding the router along the desired paths. By combining different templates and router bits, you can create intricate inlay designs to enhance your projects.

Fluting and Grooving

Fluting and grooving are techniques used to create decorative details in woodworking projects. Router templates with fluting or grooving patterns can guide the router along the desired paths, creating consistent and accurate cuts. These templates allow you to achieve uniform flutes or grooves, adding a touch of elegance to your woodworking designs.

Decorative Patterns

One of the key advantages of using router templates is the ability to create decorative patterns easily. Pattern templates come in various shapes and sizes, allowing you to create intricate designs with accuracy and precision. Whether you want to add decorative elements to furniture pieces, cabinets, or other woodworking projects, pattern templates make it easy to achieve consistent and repeatable results.

Now that you are familiar with the various tasks you can accomplish using router templates, it is essential to understand how to use them safely.

Tips for Using Woodworking Router Templates Safely

Using router templates safely is crucial to prevent accidents and injuries. Here are some key tips to follow when using router templates:

Wearing Protective Gear

Always wear the appropriate protective gear when using a router and router templates. This includes safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris, ear protection to safeguard your hearing, and a dust mask to prevent inhalation of wood dust. Additionally, consider wearing appropriate clothing that covers your skin to minimize the risk of injury.

Securing the Workpiece

Ensure that the workpiece is securely clamped or fastened before using the router and template. This minimizes any movement or slippage during the routing process, preventing accidents and ensuring accurate cuts. Take the time to double-check the stability of the workpiece before starting the routing operation.

Choosing the Right Router Bit

Selecting the correct router bit for your specific task is essential for achieving optimal results. Different router bits are designed for various cutting techniques and materials. Consider the type of cut or joint you are making and choose a router bit that is suitable for that particular application. Using the wrong bit can lead to poor results or even damage to the template or workpiece.

Using the Correct Speed

Follow the recommended speed settings for your router and the router bit you are using. Running the router at too high or too low of a speed can affect the performance and safety of the routing operation. Consult your router’s user manual or the router bit manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate speed settings.

Maintaining Control

Always maintain full control over the router during the routing operation. Keep a firm grip on the router and guide it smoothly and steadily along the template. Avoid rushing or using excessive force, as this can lead to mistakes or accidents. Take your time, be patient, and concentrate on the task at hand.

Avoiding Tearout

To prevent tearout, where the wood fibers splinter or chip during the routing process, consider the direction of the wood grain. Routing against the grain can increase the risk of tearout, so it is preferable to route in the direction of the wood grain whenever possible. Additionally, using a sharp router bit and taking shallow cuts can also help reduce tearout.

Routing Against the Grain

While it is generally best to route in the direction of the wood grain, there are instances where you may need to route against the grain, such as when creating profiles or decorative cuts. When routing against the grain, take extra care to support the workpiece to prevent tearout and ensure accurate cuts. Consider using a sacrificial backing board or tape to minimize the potential for tearout.

By following these safety tips, you can use router templates confidently and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. Now let’s explore the advantages of using router templates in woodworking.

Advantages of Using Woodworking Router Templates

Using router templates in woodworking offers several advantages that can enhance your woodworking experience. Here are some key benefits of incorporating router templates into your projects:

Accuracy and Precision

One of the biggest advantages of using router templates is the level of accuracy and precision they provide. By guiding the router along a pre-defined path, templates eliminate the guesswork and potential errors associated with freehand routing. This results in clean, crisp, and precise cuts, enhancing the overall quality of your woodworking projects.

Time and Effort Savings

Router templates save you time and effort by streamlining the cutting process. Instead of measuring and marking intricate patterns or shapes on the wood, you can simply attach the template and follow the guide. This allows you to complete projects more efficiently, especially when multiple pieces require the same shape or design.


With router templates, you can achieve consistent and repeatable results. Once you have found the right template and created the desired cut or pattern, you can easily replicate it on multiple workpieces. This is particularly useful for woodworking projects that require identical pieces or components.

Consistency in Design

Using router templates ensures consistency in design throughout your woodworking projects. Whether you are creating decorative patterns, inlays, or joints, the templates guide the router to make precise cuts according to the desired design. This consistency enhances the overall aesthetics and professionalism of your finished piece.

Enhanced Creativity

Router templates open up a world of possibilities for creative woodworking projects. With the ability to create intricate patterns, decorative elements, and custom designs, you can add a personal touch to your projects that would be difficult to achieve freehand. Templates allow you to explore new design ideas and push the boundaries of your woodworking skills.

Ease of Use

Router templates are user-friendly tools that are accessible to woodworkers of all skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced woodworker, templates simplify the routing process and eliminate the need for advanced woodworking techniques. They provide a structured and guided approach, making it easier for anyone to achieve precise cuts and professional-looking results.

Now that you are aware of the advantages of using router templates, let’s explore some popular templates that are available in the market.

Popular Woodworking Router Templates on the Market

There is a wide variety of woodworking router templates available in the market to cater to different woodworking needs. Here are some popular types of router templates that you may consider:

Template Guide Sets

Template guide sets contain a selection of guide bushings and adapter rings that allow you to create various cuts and patterns. They often come in a storage case for easy organization and accessibility. Template guide sets offer versatility and are ideal for woodworkers who work on a range of projects requiring different routing techniques.

Flush Trim Bits

Flush trim bits are a type of router bit used with a template to create an exact duplicate of a pattern or shape. They have a cutting edge at the bottom and a guide bearing at the top, allowing the bit to follow the template and trim the wood to match its shape precisely. Flush trim bits are commonly used for trimming veneers, laminates, or other materials that need to be flush with the substrate.

Sign Making Templates

Sign making templates are specifically designed for creating signs or plaques with decorative patterns or lettering. These templates often feature a variety of fonts, sizes, and designs, allowing you to customize your signs. Sign making templates typically come with an alphabet guide for easy letter alignment and spacing.

V-Groove Templates

V-groove templates are used to create decorative V-shaped grooves or chamfers on the edges of wood. They are commonly used for decorative purposes or to join pieces together with a V-groove joint. V-groove templates come in various sizes to accommodate different widths and depths of grooves.

Dovetail Templates

Dovetail templates are designed to create dovetail joints, a traditional joint commonly used in cabinetmaking and joinery. These templates guide the router to create the precise angled cuts required for dovetails. Depending on the type of dovetail joint you want to create, there are different dovetail template options available, such as through dovetail templates or half-blind dovetail templates.

Box Joint Templates

Box joint templates are used for creating box joints, also known as finger joints. These joints provide strong and decorative connections between two pieces of wood. Box joint templates guide the router to make the necessary cuts for creating consistently spaced fingers or tabs. They are available in various dimensions to accommodate different box joint sizes.

Pattern Templates

Pattern templates are versatile templates that feature a variety of designs, patterns, and shapes. They allow you to add decorative elements and intricate patterns to your woodworking projects. Pattern templates often come with multiple designs in one template, providing you with a range of options for customization.

With so many router template options available, you can find the ones that best suit your woodworking needs and preferences.

Tips for Maintaining and Extending the Lifespan of Woodworking Router Templates

To ensure the longevity and performance of your router templates, proper maintenance is essential. Here are some tips to maintain and extend the lifespan of your router templates:

Cleaning and Storage

After each use, clean your router templates to remove any dust, debris, or residue that may have accumulated. You can use a soft-bristle brush or compressed air to remove the debris. Store your templates in a clean and dry environment, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Using a storage case or dedicated storage area can help protect them from damage.

Avoiding Excessive Pressure

When using router templates, avoid applying excessive pressure to the template or the router. Excessive pressure can lead to premature wear and tear of the template, affecting its performance and accuracy. Allow the router bit to do the cutting, and let the template guide the router smoothly along the desired path.

Replacing Worn-out Templates

Over time, router templates may wear out due to repeated use or accidental damage. Inspect your templates regularly for any signs of wear, such as cracks, deep scratches, or warping. If you notice significant damage or if the template no longer performs as expected, it is advisable to replace it to ensure the quality and accuracy of your future woodworking projects.

Frequent Inspection

Regularly inspect your router templates for any damage or irregularities. This includes checking for cracks, chips, or signs of wear on the edges or guide holes. Inspecting your templates before each use helps identify any issues that may affect the performance or safety of your routing operations.

Proper Handling

Handle your router templates with care to prevent accidental damage. Avoid dropping them or subjecting them to excessive force or pressure. When attaching or removing the template from the router, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper handling and avoid any unnecessary stress on the template or router.

By following these maintenance tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your router templates, ensuring that they continue to provide accurate and reliable results.

Additional Accessories for Woodworking Router Templates

There are several additional accessories available that can complement and enhance the use of router templates in woodworking. Here are some commonly used accessories:

Guide Bushings

Guide bushings are essential accessories for router templates as they provide a stable and accurate guide for the router. These bushings are inserted into the base of the router and act as the interface between the template and the router bit. Guide bushings come in different sizes to match various router templates and are often made of durable materials such as brass or steel.

Router Tables

Router tables are stationary platforms that hold the router securely in place, allowing you to work more safely and with greater control. They provide a stable surface for using router templates, especially when working on larger or more complex projects. Router tables often include features like adjustable fences and dust collection systems, further enhancing their usefulness in woodworking.

Router Jigs

Router jigs are specialized tools used to hold the workpiece securely and guide the router during the routing process. They help maintain accurate and consistent cuts, particularly when using router templates for repetitive tasks. Router jigs come in various designs and configurations to accommodate different woodworking needs.

Template Guide Lock Nuts

Template guide lock nuts are used to secure the guide bushing in position to prevent any unwanted movement during routing operations. These lock nuts ensure that the guide bushing remains in place, maintaining accuracy and precision throughout the routing process. Template guide lock nuts are often quick and easy to adjust, making it convenient to switch between different router templates.

Centering Cones

Centering cones are accessories used in conjunction with woodworking router templates to align the template precisely with the desired cutting path. They feature a conical shape that centers the template on the workpiece, ensuring accurate cuts and minimizing the risk of any misalignment. Centering cones are particularly useful for creating circular or curved cuts.

By incorporating these accessories into your woodworking toolkit, you can enhance the functionality and versatility of your router templates.


Woodworking router templates are invaluable tools that enhance accuracy, save time, and increase creativity in woodworking projects. They provide precise and consistent cuts, ensuring professional-quality results for woodworkers of all skill levels. Whether you choose to purchase pre-made router templates or create your own, understanding how to choose, use, and maintain them is essential for successful woodworking. With the wide variety of router templates and accessories available in the market, you can easily expand your woodworking capabilities and achieve your creative vision. So, grab your router and templates, and let your woodworking projects reach new heights of precision and craftsmanship.

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