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Howdy! Today we're going to be using the circle router jig I made in a previous tutorial to make a wooden hula hoop for my girls.
- A good plunge router - https://amzn.to/2ALeway
- A drill with a small bit to make a pilot hole - https://amzn.to/2vm3Tpz
- A 4mm cutting bit and a roundover bit for your router - https://amzn.to/2LSWckR
- A straightedge - https://amzn.to/2LY0TtS
- A pencil - https://amzn.to/2vnsn1F
- Two clamps - https://amzn.to/2AL7SBf
- Hearing protection (seriously, routers are crazy loud and can damage your hearing!!) - https://amzn.to/2vnyyCR
- Some 220grit sandpaper to clean things up - https://amzn.to/2M5rKTR
- Optional lacquer to seal the wood (it's probably going to sit outside, so I recommend this step) -
Step 1: Set Your Circle Router Jig
The first thing you'll be doing is setting your circle router jig to the right diameter.
We'll be making the outer cut first so set your radius to be half the width of the outer diameter of your hula hoop. You'll have to tighten the knob on the circle router jig firmly to make sure it doesn't weeble wooble around when you're making your cuts.
Step 2: Find the Center of Your Wood and Make a Pilot Hole
To make sure that the circle router jig doesn't move while we are working, we'll drill a small pilot hole which the jig's pointed knob will pivot on. This hole doesn't have to be deep, and 4mm (quarter inch) will work fine. Use the smallest drill bit you think you can get away with.
This waste cut from the center of the hula hoop will be great for a future project that I plan to make: a circular table!
Step 3: Get to Cutting!
Clamp your work piece down and set up your router to make the first cut.
You'll want to make multiple passes, each progressively deeper. A router is happiest when it is taking shallow, slow cuts. So take your time, and don't try to take aggressive, deep cuts. I did about 3mm (1/8 inch) cuts, and made four passes to make it through the plywood.
I would like to add that it is critical that you work in a clockwise direction. If you work counter-clockwise, your jig's adjustment knob will loosen itself and your carefully dialed in diameter will be lost!
Step 4: Cut Out the Inner Diameter
Once you've finished your outer diameter, you can set your inner diameter by loosening your circle router jig's knob and bringing it in about a centimeter (half an inch), and locking it back down. Remember that what you are setting is the radius and whatever the delta is between your value for the outer radius and the inner radius will be doubled!
Make sure to clamp things down and get to work cutting the inner diameter out. Again, take light passes and work your way down. Your patience will be rewarded with clean cuts and no mistakes :)
Step 5: Switch to a Roundover Bit and Clean Up
Your hula hoop is now ready for a final roundover pass. Clamp it down to your table and carefully work your way around the edge of the hula hoop.
When you're done, pull out some 220grit sandpaper and clean up any tool marks from the router. It shouldn't take more than a minute or two and it makes a huge difference in how the hoop feels in your hand.
I opted for adding two layers of lacquer to seal the wood as I know my kids will be leaving this outside for years on end and I don't want it to get ruined.
Step 6: Fun!
Hand off your newly created hula hoop to your darling daughters and watch them have fun :)
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