Template routing with a laser cut template

Years ago my brother-in-law worked for Blockbuster for a time after he got out of the army. He met his wife there who was also a manager. They live in TX now and she found one of his old name tags when she was doing some cleaning. She sent it to me to “do” something with.

I settled on doing the Blockbuster logo with the tag inlayed into the wood. I wanted to use a piece of 1" cherry and it gave me a chance to try something that I’ve been meaning to try, template routing.

I guess you can say template routing is a bit like a poor man’s CNC. :wink: You create a template from 3mm ply, in my case with my K40 laser cutter, and attach it to a piece of wood with double sided tape. You then cut the wood close to the template with a bandsaw. This then allows you to use a router pattern/flush trim bit, which has a flush bearing guide at top or bottom of the cutting head, with a router table. The bearing rides on the pattern to create an exact copy in the attached wood. I used a combo bit that had guide bearings at the top and bottom. This allowed me to flip the piece to guide at a different orientation, without changing bits, to avoid routing “up hill” on the end grain curves. Otherwise I would have been fighting tear out.

Then laser engraved the top, including the area to inlay the tag. Finished it off with some wipe on poly.

Turned out pretty good. I next want to try one of those spiral upcut bits that have a flush bearing attached on the end so I don’t have to worry with tear out.