If you’re routing a curved surface, or if you have to follow a curved template and you’re using a router bit with no guide bearing, then you need to use an overhead pin router. I had to make some curved gooseneck rails for an old house; several of the existing rails had rotted away. The goosenecks would have to match the profile of the rail—they all needed to be routed, and I didn’t own an overhead pin router. But I had read about using a pin above the router table to do what an overhead pin router does.
|A friend of mine has a fancy overhead pin router. He refers to my setup as an “underhead pin router”—mine does everything his does except plunge into a workpiece.|
|Using some plywood, I made a template of the contour I was duplicating. This template would set the pin position and the router bit height for the successive cuts.|
|I cut the curved edge of the goosenecks on the bandsaw, and I screwed pieces of plywood to the ends to help keep the piece square to the table. I also used the plywood pieces as handles and they helped to prevent tearout.|
I made several successive approximations and then carved and sanded the profile to finish it off. I was careful when starting the cut—the router could rebel by kicking the work back.
The finished product matched the gooseneck I was duplicating.
Coincidentally, I read a TiC article some time ago about making stair rail volutes. The author said that he used a die grinder to help carve away some of the excess material. The die grinder turned out to be the perfect tool to carve my goosenecks after doing the successive approximations on the router table!