The Pathfinder™ is as easy a way to make the commonest and most useful joints as you could wish for. For the beginner it makes no-brainer tenons and easy dovetails, and for the professional it cracks out perfect work at speed, so it’s ideal for the busy commercial workshop.
Speed and accuracy without compromise.
This is of prime importance: how often has one seen really nice work let down by clunky machine-made dovetailed drawers because the client demands dovetails but the budget won’t stretch to hand-cut work. The Pathfinder uses the full range of WoodRat 1in7 bits and can joint a series of perfect, classic drawers with fine dovetails in less than five minutes each. There is no other way to do this.
And no jig system will tackle such a wide variety of tasks at such a low cost.
The Templates are made of our familiar CNC cut phenolic laminate, keeping the cost affordable yet flat and accurate. Virtually any shape and configuration can be cut into the Template, so contact us if you need something special that we do not stock.
Three parts make up the Pathfinder Pf1:
1. The MB3 MitreBox, which holds work at any angle, to make mitered joints such as mitered bridle joints for frames, and artists canvas stretchers, and secret/mitered dovetails.
2. Add the Pathfinder Parts to the MB3 and you get the Pf1 Pathfinder™. They set the Mitre Box up to hold the Templates and give you the special Plunge Pin in the Drop Pin Plate that runs around the Template to direct the router to cut the workpiece.
3. Now add in the right Template for the job in hand and you're ready to go.
Tenons are not rocket science.
This is a shot of different sizes of tenon at the testing stage, glued up roughly in a stack. You can see double and twin tenons and twin dowels also, and two (actually 11/2) stars made with a 3mm acrylic star cut and placed in the Blank Template.
The Tenon Template will align your tenon where you need it on the rail end in seconds.
From the Template you can choose single or twin, double and double-twin tenons, either 8mm, 10mm or half inch (12.7mm) wide depending on the bit you use to cut them, and of any useful length. You can also make dowels integral with the rail.
Rounded ends are standard with the template, but square ends are simply made. You are working around the outside of the template, which stops you cutting into the tenon: raise the Pin and the bit cuts free, and you can make classic square ended tenons. Raise the bit and you can make a haunch on the tenon.
Long Tenons and Deep Mortises
The depth of cut will depend on your router and the bit you are using. Recently routers are designed to plunge deeper than 50mm so you might need an extra depth of raising plate. So, just one Template will give you all the tenons you will ever need.
The WoodRat makes mortises as you would normally cut them: the work horizontal and tracked west/east under the router.
Mortises, to go with the round ended tenons, are made separately (as you would make them by hand). You can make your own mortise rail, but the best option is WoodRat’s MR4 Mortise Rail. Check out the Fact Sheet and download.
Dovetails are straightforward but require a delicate touch.
Each Dovetail Template is of a fixed pitch or spacing, but each can work with several bits in the WoodRat 1in7 range. For larger dovetails in thicker wood you’ll need a wider spacing of dovetail pins.
Photo of Dovetail Template at work
The Instruction Book shows the different pitches.
Getting more interesting...
This Template is a little more complex and the joint looks less easy, but the instructions are clear and it’s not hard when you follow them. Each Template has two sets of half-blind dovetail, each with different pitches so there is a good chance that your joint will fit to one or the other with minimum adjustment to your design. Each Template works with one of our range of 1in7 bits. You can of course vary the thickness of the drawer front. It will allow you to design and make classic drawers: even cock-beaded, veneered drawers.
Because you’re already working with the MB3 Miter Box you have a perfect way to make 45° cuts. Combine this ability with the Half-Blind Template and you can make Secret or Mitred Dovetails. We show you the trick to get the grain of a box to follow round on all four faces, without the distraction of joints showing. This is for high end box making.
The Blank Template
Working with the Templates shows that virtually any useful shape is possible, and we have not even started exploring the many possibilities.
Photo of Template
Cut out a star in 3mm acrylic, and superglue it into the template. It’ll guide the router to make the shape a star, or, if you prefer, a cam, or a letter, which will lead you to festive decorations, automata and house signs, to name just three different directions. The possibilities are endless and we will welcome seeing lots of fun things.
So keep in touch.