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Versatile Layout Tools

By: John Doyle
These simple templates make rounding corners and drawing circles a snap.

For projects that require a corner radius or laying out a diameter, I’ve always found it a challenge. I never had anything that matched the exact radius. An easier way is to make and use a set of simple templates.

They’re made from two layers of 1/8" hardboard. The bottom layer forms right-angle “fences” that register against the corner of the workpiece for drawing a radius. The top is drilled with a hole sized to match the diameter needed and acts as a circle template.

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To make the bottom layer, I first drilled a relief hole where the fence edges intersect. This ensures that the faces of the fences will butt tight against the workpiece. Then it’s a simple matter to cut the right angle. An auxiliary fence on your miter gauge makes this task easier. Then, to align the fences with the hole in the top layer, I used a dowel with the same diameter as the hole.

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After gluing the two layers, use a marker to label the diameter. I made several templates to match radii that I use most often.

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Published: Sept. 13, 2012
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