Creating a template for a router rub collar mortising jig

A rub collar mortising template is used primarily for cutting mortises into odd, shaped components such as curved parts. You can use them to cut standard mortises as well but, sometimes other machines are better suited for that. How it works is simple. There is a template that’s made with a window that allows a rub collar to ride in the template. The rub collar attaches to the base of a router and allows a router cutter to come up through the top and cut a mortise into something.

This video was produced for its free video library by The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. The Center is a nonprofit, international woodworking school dedicated to providing the best possible education in wood craftsmanship and design.

How To Make A Rub Collar Mortising Template with Tim Rousseau

In this video, Tim Rousseau, an instructor at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, demonstrates how you can make a rub collar mortising template if you don’t have access to a CNC machine.

There are two steps to creating a rub collar mortising template. The first involves creating an accurate window for the rub collar to ride in. There are a few different ways to tackle this which we'll discuss. The second step is coming up with a strategy on how to clamp your components underneath the template. There is no one-size fits all way to do that, every situation is going to be different.

There's a variety of ways to make a rub collar mortising template. In our modern age, the very best way is with a cnc machine. But a lot of people don't have access to a CNC machine. Today we'll discuss alternative methods that are not nearly as accurate as using a CNC machine but will get the job done.

One option is by assembling. This involves disassembling a wood board, then gluing everything back up to create the template window.

Another option is disassembling. This involves punching a hole in your board with a table saw or plunge router to get the window you want. It's a popular assumption that the plunge router would be the better way to go. Theoretically if you are using a 3/4" rub collar and a 3/4” plunge router bit you should have a template window that’s perfect. But keep in mind if your router bit is slightly off or you move during the routing you can't micro adjust it.

Check out the video above for a step-by-step walk through of how you can make a rub collar mortising template without having access to a CNC machine.

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