DIY Network

How to Use a 3-D Template Guide

A router template guide can be used to create interesting patterns on raised panels. DIY Network host David Thiel shows how it's done with these step-by-step instructions.

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put template inside frame and cut
  • Time

    1 hour

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Set up the Plunge Router

It all starts with a plunge router. Make sure the tool plunges smoothly because the tool must move as you are making the cuts.

Make sure the depth stop on the plunge router is all the way up and out of the way so it won't impede the motion of the router.

set up the plunge router

Step 2: Use a Special Bit

A special bit must be used for this project. It's a v-groove bit mounted in a cone-shaped guide (the bit comes with the kit). The template has a slot and the width of the slot changes throughout the pattern. As the bit cuts through the template, the cone allows the bit to cut deeper or shallower grooves as determined by the template.

use a special v groove bit mounted in cone

Step 3: Nail the Frame to the Panel

The template comes with a frame that holds it in place. Nail the frame to the panel to hold it down temporarily.

Place a non-slip pad underneath the panel. If the panel or the template shifts during the cutting process, the design will be spoiled.

nail frame to panel

Step 4: Put the Template Inside the Frame and Cut

Make sure the head of the nail is below the top of the template so it won't impede the progress of the router.

Place the router over the widest part of the cut to start. Then, move the router slowly around the template.

Note: Smaller templates can be used to make drawer fronts.

The templates are designed to be used on a raised panel. The nails that hold the frame to the panel are supposed to be sheared off when you create the bevels on the edges of the panel. If you choose to create a design for a decorative piece, create a panel bigger than you actually need and cut off the excess edges.

put template inside frame and cut