Router Template Collars
Inexpensive indestructible and indispensable, these little guides add safety and control
Synopsis: Router guru Pat Warner says no router accessory adds more safety, indestructibility, ease of setup and usefulness at an absolutely cheap cost than template collar guides. Why not just buy bearing-guided bits? Collars are cheaper and more versatile, he says, and he explains why. They do have limitations, and he talks about how to overcome them. Included in the article are detailed demonstrations of routing grooves and dadoes, mortises and tenons, and sliding dovetails. He also discusses sizes and subbases for added stability.
It’s true that a router can sometimes be used freehand. But because it has a dangerously sharp bit spinning rapidly at the end of a powerful motor, a router is more safely used with accessories that help the operator gain control: router tables, edge guides, add-on bases, shopmade and commercial jigs, bits with shaft-mounted bearings or template collar guides. Each brings its own advantages in specific routing situations. But none of these router accessories adds more safety, indestructibility, ease of setup and usefulness at an absolutely cheap cost than template collar guides. I can’t imagine being without them.
A good set of seven collars often costs no more than $30. Yet, these little metal bushings that clip or screw into the subbase of virtually any router can simplify most cross-grain cuts— including sliding dovetails, mortises, tenons, dadoes, butthinge recesses and stair risers— and can be used for lettering, inlaying and even jointing short stock. The only other piece of equipment you really need in most cases is a scrap of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or plywood used as a template to guide the collar, and thus the bit, through the cut. Collars come in different inner and outer diameters to accommodate a variety of bits and templates.
Collars are very easy to use
A collar screws…