View Full Version : router table as a jointer
01-05-2001, 12:27 PM
I'm a novice hobbyist woodsman looking to make some garage storage cabinets, kitchen cabinet face frames and such in my 10x14 shed shop, and have a ? regarding true edges for joinery. I don't have the current cash to get a full-fledged nice jointer yet, and a rep in Home Depot told me that I could use my router table as a stand in for the jointer till I can afford it, but he neglected to tell me how I could accomplish this(what bit(s) to use, the set-up for this,etc., Any of you veterans can give me some feedback on this??
01-05-2001, 03:30 PM
when using your router and table as a jointer you should install a straight bit. set the fence so the infeed side is slightly behind the bit. this distance should be the same as the amount of wood you wish to remove from the edge. genrally 1/32 - 1/16 of an inch. The outfeed side of the fence should be set parallel to the outside of the bit this will keep the stock running uniformly into the bit. be sure to practice on scrap wood before running your good stock through as this method is a little trickier than it sounds. GL!
01-05-2001, 03:52 PM
Walter is right on with set up for this procedure.
I had my router table set up like this for a while and I got pretty good results. Because you may apply more pressure than normal on your router fence, you may have to clamp it more solidly.
I had another solution to this jointing problem that worked for me before I got a jointer. I clamped a piece of STRAIGHT angle to my table saw fence so that it was 5' on the infeed and outfeed of the blade. When you run a board against the straight edge, the blade will cut along the reference of the angle.
I still use this method for straightening large quantities of lumber for flooring or such. I have a friend who has never bought a jointer because this method works so well.
Try it with your current fence using a short 12" piece of bowed wood.
01-05-2001, 03:56 PM
take a look at this site:
01-05-2001, 07:49 PM
Depending on what you are doing the easiest thing is a sharp hand plan and a shooting board. It would be much faster than trying to setup a router and table to get it right.
I have a jointer and find that i use it much less for edge glue setup and more for general stock prep.
I don't see how a router could ever realy replace a good jointer.
01-05-2001, 08:56 PM
There are primarily four ways to get a good gluable edge for joints. Ranked by quality:
2) Good TS
Hand planing is the 4th method but the quality is much more dependent on operator skill than any of the power methods.
Do you have a TS? Is it cutting clean? If so you can usually get better results than with a router with an easier setup to boot.
Don't get me wrong, a router will do a decent job, but by it's very nature it's more 'touchy' than the TS method. The TS can and does do a very good job, but of course the jointer is the 'gold standard' against which the others are measured.
Now in my shop I've pretty adept with my saw, it's dialed in, has a good blade and a better fence and I don't have a need for a jointer.
There are several ways to jig a router for jointing, the simplest is to clamp a know-good reference to it and make a couple of passes tight to the reference. The first pass will take most of the material off, the 2nd pass should be lighter and cleanup. If you 'bounce' off the reference at any point you'll have a matching defect in the edge (but you can simply make a 3rd pass to correct w/o changing any setup). Naturally the straightness of the board is dependent on what you use as a guide. Some folx buy a length of alum channel and use that as a guide and I believe it works quite well.
You can use a table router with an offset fence to joint. I myself find this more trouble than using a guide and the freehand router. The cutter is set to a shallow depth and the outfeed fence offset by exactly that amount. Under ideal conditions this should give you a perfect edge. However in most shops conditions are seldom ideal and lots of the smaller tables simply don't have enough baseline to make this work.
Your TS will give a good gluable line if the fence and blade are properly aligned and you're routinely getting nice clean cuts off it. If your 'normal' TS cut is rough or has lots of sawburn (in spots other than where you regripped) then, no, it's not going to give an acceptable edge.
01-05-2001, 11:41 PM
Mark is right in that a joiner is the gold standard....
There is another option. Try your local school system and see if you can make arrangements to use their joiner in exchange for a samll donation. It's a shame but schools are hurting these days and will accept donations for almost any reason.
01-06-2001, 09:32 AM
Thanks for your feedback guys...limpinbuf, I thank you for the website referral, as always in woodcraft...it pays TO VISUALIZE
Something I didn't see mentioned, though amy have missed it.
Regardless of your tool of choice. Theres a foll proof way to get
perfect glue joints.
1. Layout your stock to your likeing, grain patterns and such.
a. be sure to keep grain and growth rings in opposing directions.
b. Number/letter/mark your boards to easily recreate and keep track of the planeing process. I often use longer stock in
this process so I can match/blend grains better. To remember where I aligned adjacent boards I draw a single line across the joint of the first two boards, two lines across the second joint (board 2&3) then 3 lines across the third joint (boards 3&4), etc. Lines don't have to be perfectly staight
or evenly spaced the lines are used much like a story stick.
2. PLane/Rip/edge your stock. IMPORTANT/CRITICAL step follows.
a. You want to alternate between the face of one board and the
bottom/backside of the next board up against the fence of your chosen tool.
The reason for this is to allow for any imperfection in tool alignment. This negates any inherant tolerances.
To make sense of all this. Take two pieces of scrap and mark the edges you would want to glue together. Tip the blade (any angle)on your T.S. and 'edge' your stock keeping the registration marks of both pieces face up. Now place them on a flat surface align the marks and you'll notice the gap. If you take one piece and re-edge it with the registration mark face down(opposite of first cut)and place it back up against the first piece agin aligning hte marks you'll notice a 'perfect' match.
Forgive the spelling, I think much faster than I type, and that isn't saying much.