In Tricks of the Trade

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One afternoon my wife called out to my shop with an urgent request. She needed me to make a round cake plate from 1/4″ plywood for a charity auction. I assured her it would be no problem. I was in the middle of a project and didn’t want to spend all afternoon on this. Then it hit me, I could use my router table.

I ripped a 3/4″ wide strip of 3/8″ hardwood to fit the miter slot and drilled a pilot hole near one end for a box nail, which I inserted from the bottom. Then I clamped the hardwood strip into my routers table’s miter slot so the distance from the nail to the bit equaled the circle’s radius.

I drilled a center hole in the soon-to-be cake plate, and positioned it on the nail. I held the edge of the plywood up while switching on the router, then lowered it onto the bit very carefully. After the bit bored through, I rotated the plywood counterclockwise, opposite the bit’s rotation, to cut a perfect circle. —Doug Bittinger


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