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Q & A: Jointing Thick Wood with a Router


Q & A: Jointing Thick Wood with a Router


I have a very small shop and don’t have the space for large machines like jointers and planers. I need to make thick table legs from three 3/4-in. boards that I glued together. I think I can joint the edges with my router but I’m not sure how. Any ideas?


You’re in luck. You can do a first-class jointing job with your router, a straightedge and two router bits.

On one face,mark the line to where you want to joint. Clamp a straightedge (1/4- in. tempered hardboard works well) right on the line. Then put a top-bearing, flush-trim bit in your router—it’s a straight bit with a bearing above the cutter.These bits come in different diameters and lengths but a larger diameter bit produces a smoother cut.Now extend the bit so the bearing rides against the straightedge. Make freehand passes on your leg, cutting no more than a third of the bit’s diameter per pass. Continue until the bearing rides on the hardboard.

Remove the top-bearing bit and put in a bottom-bearing, flushtrim bit—this time the bearing is below the cutter. Flip the leg over and extend the bit out of the router until the bearing rides completely against the previously cut surface. Make passes to remove the remaining wood. You’ll end up with a cleanly jointed surface.


Woodworker’s Supply,, 800-645-9292, Top-bearing, flush-trim. bit, 1/2-in. shank, 1-1/4- in. dia., 1-1/2-in. long, #50126; Bottom-bearing, flush-trim bit, 1/2-in. shank, 1/2-in. dia., 1-in. long, #42110.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker August 2000, issue #81.

August 2000, issue #81

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1. Joint half the leg with a straightedge and top-bearing, flush-trim bit.

2. Clean up the rest with a bottombearing, flush-trim bit after removing the straightedge and flipping over the leg.