When I was making my sliding garage screen door I wanted to add something different to decorate the door. I have already chosen my plywood and tested some router bits. So now its time to get busy with the experimenting. 🙂
The first step was to decide on what patterns to use. On the screen door, the upper panel was taller than it was wide. And the lower panel was the opposite of that. So I decided to pick patterns that fit in a similar way. I chose the fish jumping out of the water, as I had done a similar pattern before with plywood. But this pattern is one of ours, from our company’s archives. I also chose a beaver cutting down a tree.
I knew I was going to use tracing paper to transfer the patterns to the plywood surfaces so I decided to give the plywood a coat of white deck stain first, and let it dry overnight (Fig 1).
I used 1/8 inch thick luan for the top (fish) panel and 1/4 inch thick d-grade plywood for the lower (beaver) panel.
The next step was to size the plywood panels so that they fit the screen door spaces. These panels were approximately 34 x 30 inches (upper) and 27 x 30 inches (lower). With that ready, its now easier to center the pattern onto the plywood. (Fig 2)
Next is to position the tracing paper (Fig 3).
Now its time to get busy tracing the pattern onto the plywood. This took less than 10 minutes (Fig 4).
Here is a short video I made.
Now that the pattern is transferred to the plywood, its time to position the plywood panel and clamp it to my workbench (fig 5). With the router bit having to pass completely through the plywood, I didn’t want it to cut up my bench top (not that its anything special). And I didn’t want to put in a piece of plywood because, well, that would be a waste of a piece of plywood. My solution was to cut out a piece of heavy cardboard (I always keep some in the workshop) and use it. This sort of cardboard can be found are furniture stores. Just ask the manager if you can have one or two.
First cut, and things seem to be going good (Fig 6 and 7).
So here’s a short video I did of the second cut.
This fish pattern is now done. I have to say that cutting it with the spiral bit and the 1/8 luan left very little fuzziness on the cutting edges to clean up. This cutting and sanding took just under 1 hour to complete (Fig 8).
Now you get to see what I’ve been trying to achieve! So what do you think? (Fig 9)
Here’s a closer look (Fig 9A). As you can see, there are a couple things to notice. First, the panel needs to be painted again. And you can also see where the 3/8 spiral bit did not get to the corners and finer points of the pattern. And that’s ok. For me, the result is just fine. I will though, experiment with the 1/8 inch bit when I go to cut the beaver pattern.
So now I am making the lower panel, the beaver. The pattern has been transferred and ready for cutting using the 3/8 inch Freud spiral bit. (Fig 10)
Earlier I mentioned about using the 1/8 inch double flute bit to fine tune the cutting. Fig 11 and 12 show the before and after of using the 1/8 inch bit (where needed).
The pattern is all cut out, made from the 1/4 inch d-grade (low quality) plywood. Now, I have to say, it took about 20 minute to route the pattern but it took nearly 40 minutes to clean up the fuzziness. Luan plywood is clearly the choice material to use for such a purpose, much less sanding.
Now for the big reveal! 🙂 (Fig 13)
If you recall, I had used some heavy cardboard as the scrape material underneath (Fig 14).
I’d love to hear from you, your comments, your suggestions, your praises 🙂 and your critiques 🙁