Router Trammel

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Versatility and precision built into an essential jig

By Ken Burton

When it comes to routing circles, you need a trammel. While you can quickly make one from a simple strip of plywood, having a more durable, finely-adjustable version makes good sense if you cut more than just the occasional circle. Here’s a design that has served me well over the years for cutting circles of all sizes. Its operation is based upon an offset auxiliary base that houses an adjustable sliding bar of any length that suits the job at hand. Unlike many commercial and shop-made models, this one is infinitely adjustable within its range, so it’s dead-simple to set up for a precise radius. And you can use either a pin or a screw for your pivot point, whichever suits your workpiece better. As with many jigs, the exact dimensions aren’t critical; adapt the design to fit your router and available materials. The jig is not hard to build, and I have provided a few construction tips to help. 

Using it couldn’t be simpler: Just attach it to your router, install the appropriate bit, and then set the desired distance from the bit to the pivot point. Locate the pivot point on the workpiece, and rout the circle in several shallow passes, pivoting the router counter-clockwise.

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