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How to Use Woodworking Patterns

Create and use a woodworking pattern to either draw repetitive shapes to be cut. One can also attach the pattern to the roughly cut stock and then use a router to shape to the outline of the pattern.

Things You'll Need

  • posterboard (of sufficient dimension to accept the pattern)
  • pencil or pen
  • cutter (knife or box cutter)
  • hardboard (of sufficient dimension to accept the pattern)
  • carpet tape
  • stock to which the pattern will be transferred (usually plywood or some other thin and flat)
  • Handsaw (bench saw for straight cuts and coping saw for curves )or powersaw (jigsaw or bandsaw for curved cuts, tablesaw or above for straight cuts)
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    • 1

      Draw or trace the pattern onto the posterboard. You can draw directly onto the hardboard if you'd prefer, but the posterboard is more visible and allows for mistakes. Also, you can save the pattern for future use. The design most likely will come from a magazine article or a book, so you'll probably have to measure and draw it yourself.

    • 2

      Use the cutting device (an Xacto or similar) to cut the pattern out from the posterboard. Use the carpet tape to attach it to the piece of hardboard.

    • 3

      Cut the hardboard to shape using the appropriate handsaws or powersaws. After cutting it roughly, use files or sandpaper to smooth the piece to the right dimensions. This is now your pattern for your project.

    • 4

      Layout your uncut stock such as a piece of plywood using the pattern to trace however many pieces are needed.

    • 5

      Cut the pieces to rough dimensions (within 1/8" or so).

    • 6

      Attach the pattern to the first piece to be worked using carpet tape. Use a router with a guide bit installed to smooth the piece to the shape of the original pattern.

    • 7

      Repeat as necessary for each piece.

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