Guide Bushing Lockdown

SPRING WASHER1Do you ever run across one of those super-simple woodworking products that makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself? A lot of folks are feeling that way about Rockler’s new Bench Cookies. Here’s a link if you haven’t seen them already:

But, I ran across another smart idea the other day while testing a bunch of cool dovetail jigs. (You’ll read more about that in our December print issue, so stay tuned!) One of these jigs requires several guide bushings, and they came with a little gift from router heaven: a spring-steel washer.

Have you ever seen a washer supplied with a guide bushing? Me either.

But, there’s good reason for it: if you spend much time template routing, you may already know what can happen when a guide bushing vibrates loose. Best case scenario, you catch it in time to shut off the router and tighten it back up. Worst case: your bit chews up the guide bushing and chips itself in the process. Not good. And it can happen really fast.

Well, a spring washer could put this chaos behind us. It’s got a wavy design that allows you to knuckle down on it and really put some tension between the nut and the insert plate or subbase. No need to reach for a pliers; hand tightening is sufficient.

Washers keep machine bolts and nuts tight. Seems logical to put a washer here, too.

Lock washers keep machine bolts and nuts tight. Seems logical to put a washer here, too. Finally, someone has.

I spent several days routing with this spring washer installed on the insert plate of my router table, and it stayed put. So well, in fact, that I don’t think I’ll use a guide bushing again without a washer.

Peachtree Woodworking Supply was the only source I could find for these washers (scroll about halfway down this link to item 2903):

They’re not cheap. But, then again, around $3 apiece is still a bargain compared to what you’ll lose if the bushing takes a hike.

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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About Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall has been writing for Woodworker's Journal as a contributing editor and field editor since 2001. Prior to that, he spent five years developing home improvement and woodworking books. He's written five of them and has served as a contributing writer on many more. A wood and tool junkie since childhood, Chris thoroughly enjoys building projects and reviewing woodworking tools for the Journal. When he's not assembling new machinery, sawing parts, taking photos or crunching text for an upcoming story, he enjoys spending time with his family and a houseful of pets at their home in rural Ohio.

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