I took several pictures while doing this project because the Festool "system" surrounding the OF-1400 router was key to its success (yes, yes, you could make your own rail or do it by hand, but this was fast, easy, and, uhm, smart :) I also posted this entry in a shorter form on FestoolOwnersGroup.com as part of a contest I won't win.
To route the recesses in the cork, I'm using a 1/4" down-spiral bit. My process is to route away the outside edges of the recesses then go back and eliminate the part left behind with another bit. I just don't want to buy another bit to avoid the 10-minute pass with another bit to finish it off.
KM-1 by Bridge City Toolworks. The KM-1 works by using the size of your cutter (a router bit in this case) and the size of the dado (recess here) to create 2 offset fences that you'll see as I go along.
table widener. In this case, I don't need the added stability the widener gives the OF-1400, but rather the added thickness that lets me use the guide stops off the back of the rail so the router is sitting on the stock instead of on the rail (I generally don't like it sitting on the rail since I never get the compensating support foot to lock solidly). Note how I do not have the micro-adjusting screw of the guide stops attached between the stops.
triangular bench rule like this one is nice since it butts up to the guide rail eliminating some error.
In this picture, the leftmost guide block is first locked in place. The KM-1 is placed between the guide blocks in the "long" position and the rightmost guide block is moved to touch it and locked into position. The rightmost guide block will never be moved again in this project. You'll notice something to the left of the leftmost guide block (apologize that it wasn't in the previous pictures). That is the microadjuster for the MFK-700 as it fits perfectly on the rods and locks. I use it as a well-sized stop block. Butt it up against the left guide block and lock it in place. You won't move it again. Note that the "microadjust" ability is not used; it just sits there like a dumb brick marking a stop location; I plan on ordering another by digging through the Festool EKAT parts system.
So now you are ready to crank through the routing operations. Note in the original picture that several recesses line up within a French knot and to an adjoining French knot. This is by design. Even if your tape isn't perfectly laid out, using the guide rail aligned across all co-linear segments will make the whole that much better looking.
- Place the guide rail the distance noted above from the inside edge of a recess to route. Clamp the rail because patching this cork is not an option.
- Loosen the leftmost guide block (one between stop collars) and slide the router until the guide block abuts against either stop collar.
- Plunge and route; I usually scribbled with a red Sharpie at the ends of a segment so I could be forewarned when looking through the router window. Stop early as it is easy to square the corner with a sharp chisel.
- Loosen the leftmost guide block again and slide the router until the guide block abuts against the other stop collar.
- Plunge and route.
- Go to step 1 until you have no more recesses. This is a very fast cycle.
Next up, cutting the walnut to length and mitered corners. This isn't difficult, just tedious. One tip: when 7 segments go in first-try and the eighth is being, uhm, fussy, check for new posts on your favorite forum. Really, you just need to walk for a second.
So the rest of this has less to do with the router, but finishes the story of the floor.
Voilà, the finished inlay!
For context, it will be in the entryway at the bottom of a set of stairs I refaced almost 2 years ago. Here are some photos.