Templates and Stencils

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Templates are usually cut-out shapes, often self-made, which are drawn around to transfer a design, either to simplify marking out or to ensure repeated accuracy. But adjustable Templates are also available which can be set to copy an existing curve for example and Templates or Jigs are used also to guide aRouter for example. Stencils are similar but tend to be associated with common or standard shapes and symbols such as circles, lettering or furniture for architectural layouts.

Types and Applications
Dovetail Template The slope of the Dovetail angle is commonly set to be 1 in 6 or less for softwoods, and 1 in 8 for hardwoods - 1 in 7 can be regarded as a good general purpose compromise. If too steep an angle, the 'Tails' can be weakened as a result of Short Grain at their widest end but may sometimes be considered for decorative purposes or when the Dovetail is used to join a sheet metal Seam.

'''Dovetail Templates''' can be purchased ready made or self-made from sheet metal as shown

Using a Dovetail Template
Contour Guage A Contour Guage comprises a number of metal or plastics 'fingers' which can slide against each other when pushed against a contoured surface or profile. The 'fingers' are then either clamped in position or held by friction to take a copy of the profile which can be used to mark out a shape to fit against the profile (e.g. when laying tiles or setting out a Scribed Joint).
Using a Contour Guage
Router Template A Router can be used free-hand but is quite difficult to control. When more accurate cuts are needed, or a design replicated, Templates can be made from Hardboard, MDF, or Plywood for example. Alternatively, ready-made Router Templates are available commercially for commonly used applications (e.g. lettering, fitting door hinges or kitchen worktops).

When in use, the Template is protected from the cutter either by running the cutter inside a guide tube or having a small bearing attached to the top of the cutter shank. In either case, some allowance, or off-set, may be needed when designing the Template (i.e. the Template may have to be made a little larger than required).

Router Templates
Stencils Thin plastic or sheet metal Templates for common shapes are readily available as Stencils. They are most commonly used for drawing round but can also be used for spray painting or sponge printing for example.
Lettering Stencils

Template:Templates Buyers Guide