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A friend of mine spent years trying to teach me to carve. Sorry, it just ain't in these hands. But CMT had me carving—sort of—in minutes. The company's new 3D Router Carver System turns a plunge router into a carving tool. You can get started in the system for around $180. The key is the unusual router bit. Its cone-shaped nose traces the template, floating up and down within the plunge base. The bottom of the router stays in contact with the template, while the motor floats up and down. Wide valleys in the template allow the V-cutter to cut wide and deep. Narrow valleys force the cutter up to create narrow, shallow cuts. Templates are trapped within a frame that's fastened to your work using double-faced tape. Lots of designs are available, including large and small frames and templates for both doors and drawers. Template prices range from $26 to $59. Some designs require only one template; others require as many as four. That's why the frame is important. It keeps multiple templates correctly registered to each other. This is a very cool tool that anybody can use. Even a novice router user can be “carving” in minutes. My only complaint? I'd like to see labels added to the templates so they don't get mixed up.

CMT, (888) 268-2487,, 3D Router Carver Bit, RCS-Bit, $120, Cabinet Door Holding Frame, RCS-003, $26, Templates, $26 to $59.


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