Author Topic: Template Material  (Read 7569 times)

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Offline Chris Wong

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Template Material
« on: July 20, 2015, 10:16 AM »
Good morning all,

For most of my templates, I use 1/4" MDF because it's relatively inexpensive, flat, shows layout pencil lines well, and cuts cleanly and the edges are smooth and even without voids.  However, it's not the most durable of template materials.  When you require a more durable template, what material do you use?  Clear is a bonus, but not a necessity.
Chris Wong, http://FlairWoodworks.com

The thoughts and ideas expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of http://UltimateTools.ca.  But Dan does say "hello".

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Offline Sal LiVecchi

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 10:30 AM »
I have been using Starboard for my templates both on 1/2" and 3/4"  I find that is easy to work with and lasts for many usages. I have all my rail and stiles setups done with 3/4 Starboard.
Life is too short and the road is too long to drive anything less than a Festool

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2015, 10:35 AM »
I have been using Starboard for my templates both on 1/2" and 3/4"  I find that is easy to work with and lasts for many usages. I have all my rail and stiles setups done with 3/4 Starboard.

@Sal LiVecchi

Are you getting the starboard locally? I use it, mostly ordering it in 12" by 24" pieces on eBay, but the cost is around $25/PSF. Looking for a better source.

Thanks,

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline Sal LiVecchi

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 11:50 AM »
Rich.   I get it from one of my marine supplier either in 1x2, 2x4 or 4x8 sheets and yes it's costly so I try to make sure I have some material left over on different jobs I use it for in the marine industry.
Life is too short and the road is too long to drive anything less than a Festool

Offline aas

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 12:18 PM »
I've always used 3/8" MDF (10mm) for one off or low use jigs.
If it's a jig/template to last and last, get yourself some Tufnol (Phenolic) sheet.
Smells a bit when you cut/rout/sand it, but you can get a perfect finish, and adding a bit of silicone spray to the surface when you use your router, it just slides so smoothly - great stuff!

Offline rst

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2015, 01:37 PM »
Just a side note on the phenolic, which is typically paper sheets epoxied, the epoxies used are carcinogenic.  Wear a mask and be sure your dust collection is up to snuff.

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2015, 02:16 PM »
Richlite makes great templates and is far more dimensionally stable than any of the plastics with temperature swings. HDPE, Acrylic, UHMW all have fairly significant coefficients of thermal expansion. To my knowledge, Starboard is a brand name for HDPE sheets.


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Offline Chris Wong

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2015, 07:58 PM »
I just did a Google image search for Richlite - wow!  Nice designs people have done with it.  Very creative.
Chris Wong, http://FlairWoodworks.com

The thoughts and ideas expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of http://UltimateTools.ca.  But Dan does say "hello".

Offline Brent Taylor

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2015, 08:21 PM »
I use mdf, most of the time in 1/4", but if it's a jig I need to last I treat the edge with CA glue.  I use the thickness plastic that  the big box store has in stock if I need to see through it, sometimes I have to laminate 2 sheet together to get thicker stock, I have a few of  this type for several years. 

Offline mo siopa

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2015, 11:30 PM »
I have been using Starboard for my templates both on 1/2" and 3/4"  I find that is easy to work with and lasts for many usages. I have all my rail and stiles setups done with 3/4 Starboard.

@Sal LiVecchi

Are you getting the starboard locally? I use it, mostly ordering it in 12" by 24" pieces on eBay, but the cost is around $25/PSF. Looking for a better source.

Thanks,

RMW


Check with Fessenden Hall.  They are a stocking distributor of Starboard ST.  http://www.fessendenhall.com/
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 12:00 AM by mo siopa »
Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in where a man, dressed up as a bat, gets all of my press?

Offline mo siopa

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2015, 11:53 PM »
Richlite makes great templates and is far more dimensionally stable than any of the plastics with temperature swings. HDPE, Acrylic, UHMW all have fairly significant coefficients of thermal expansion. To my knowledge, Starboard is a brand name for HDPE sheets.


Tom

This is correct.  It is HDPE.  I think the expansion issue is relative though-  How much of a temperature variation will it be exposed to, and how big is the template?  Another consideration is the hardness/deformation.  It will last forever in an outdoor kitchen or on a boat but it is relatively soft and can be scratched with a thumbnail.  It is all a trade-off.  I'm sure there is some ceramic out there that has a near zero expansion coefficient, is harder than titanium, and is nearly unbreakable.  However, it sells for $45/oz and you will need a plasma cutter to shape it.   [huh]
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 12:01 AM by mo siopa »
Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in where a man, dressed up as a bat, gets all of my press?

Offline SMJoinery

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2015, 03:22 AM »
Just a small tip I can offer is that I buy those large white plastic kitchen cutting boards when I see them. Occasionally a large superstore or catering supplier has these thick plastic or melamine chopping boards going cheap. They are thick and make great template material.
Just remember if it's for routing to get template material thicker than your guide bush. Don't ask me how I know!!

Offline Cheese

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2015, 10:29 AM »

I think the expansion issue is relative though-  How much of a temperature variation will it be exposed to, and how big is the template? 

However, Tom does bring up an interesting point to remember. Most plastics have a Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion rate that is  20-30 times that of wood. As you stated, the critical consideration factor is total length and the temperature differential.

I use Richlite or Masonite for most patterns or templates.

Offline WastedP

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Re: Template Material
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2015, 11:13 PM »
Just a small tip I can offer is that I buy those large white plastic kitchen cutting boards when I see them. Occasionally a large superstore or catering supplier has these thick plastic or melamine chopping boards going cheap. They are thick and make great template material.

I have a drawer out in the shop that has a pile of my old poly cutting boards in it.  They work great for building up forms for back-cut radii because glue won't stick to them.  I've also made router bases out of them.  I toss the scraps that are too small to use in the recycling, as I usually buy #2 HDPE boards at the restaurant supply place (cheaper than box stores).

Because it's a near-disposable commodity in the countertop shops I work with, I have used 12 and 6 mm solid surface for template material.  It's surprisingly durable.  Richlite, Paperstone, and phenolic are all pretty pricey, and difficult to machine compared to solid surface.  I have used phenolic for jigs and making straight edges, and it worked great in that capacity.