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Build a bridge to rout small parts safely

Build a bridge to rout small parts safely

To safely round over small parts, say intarsia pieces, you can hold the workpiece against your router table with a wooden handscrew clamp (restricting you to routing only one area of the workpiece at a time), or use an inflatable or flex-drum sander. (Few of us own one.) Instead, I fashioned this “bridge” holder to keep my fingers away from the bit while routing around the entirety of the workpiece.

Build the bridge from a piece of scrap at least double the thickness of your workpiece. In the center of the scrap, form a slot wide and deep enough to house the workpiece plus clearance for the router bit to move around the edges, as shown. To accommodate a variety of workpieces, make the slot as deep as you think you’ll ever need, and then mount a spacer between the jig and the workpiece that’s just thick enough to keep the face of the workpiece flush with the bottom of the jig.

Fasten the workpiece in the slot with double-faced tape. Or, if the back of the piece won’t show in the finished product, use screws. Now rout the edges, keeping the bridge and workpiece in contact with the router table.
—Frank Ryan, Eugene, Ore.

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