The Pathfinder™ is the easiest way you could wish for to make the commonest and most useful joints. For the beginner it makes no-brainer tenons and easy dovetails, and for the professional it cracks out perfect work at speed, making it ideal for the busy commercial workshop.
The Pathfinder came about as a way of making tenons with rounded ends to fit the rounded ends of mortises made with the router bit. Something was needed to track the bit around because rounding off the ends freehand with the router was a little hit and miss, and carving them round takes time.
We devised a template that travelled in the MB3 MitreBox under the baseplate and router plate, going East West, while you move the router plate and straight bit North South, all guided by a pin tracking in the impressions in the template.
We decided that our MR4 Mortise rail was good enough and versatile enough for all kinds of mortises. It holds the two stiles of a frame together so that the same arrangement of stops could be set for repeating the mortises exactly opposite each other, and you can cut the groove for a panel so easily, also.
Having perfected the tenons we found that we could with a little modification of the template make easy dovetails and then half-blind dovetails and secret half-blind. In fact any shape you needed – stars and Christmas trees, toy parts such as cams for automata and heart shaped boxes could be cut using an appropriate shape in the blank template.
The star of the show is the drawer making ability of the half-blind template. It sets up the dovetail sockets opposite the tail pockets, which are cut with the same bit. One pass does both tail and pin, and they just lock together. The bit is our 1in7 classic bit so the result is quick and craftsmanlike.
The further jam on the pudding is making secret or hidden dovetails, so think Pathfinder™ when next you want to make a perfect box or boxes with some really classy wood.