Although it takes longer than a jointer, routers can make clean, straight-edged joints for cabinet doors and panels, as well as for other woodworking projects.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:November 2000
If you have a router with
a 1/4-in. collet, buy a carbide
straight-cutting bit with a 1 to 1-1/4-in. cutting length (sold at
home centers and woodworking
stores). Place your straightedge on
top of the board you're jointing. Set
the straightedge guide back on the
board so you remove only 1/16 in.
of stock at a time. This technique is
easier if your router has a base with
a straight edge, but it also works
with a round base. This “straight
edge on top” method works best for
1/4-in. shank router bits because it
puts most of the force on the router
base instead of the bit's shank.
If you have a
router with a 1/2-in. collet,
go with the “straight edge on
bottom” method by using a
1 to 1-1/2-in. carbide
flush trim bit with bottom
bearing (sold at woodworking
stores). This technique
puts the force on the
bit's shank, but that's OK
with these heavier bits. Just
tightly clamp your straightedge
on the bottom of the
stock and set it about 1/16
in. back from the stock's
edge. The only measuring you need
to do is to make sure your board
winds up with the same width on
You can use a router to make those
square, straight edges you need to
join boards into a solid wood panel.
It's more time-consuming than
using a jointer, especially for long
boards, but in some ways a router
works even better. You don't have
to worry about having a long
enough outfeed table (or workshop)
for long boards or having the infeed
and outfeed tables perfectly aligned.
All you need is a good carbide
straight-cutting router bit and a
piece of 1/2-in. medium-density
fiberboard (MDF) with a factory
straight edge. The photos show two ways to
make your joint.
If you have a very bowed
board, snap a straight line with
your chalk box, then use your
circular saw to get a rough straightedge
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
You'll also need a 1/2-in. flush trim router bit with a bottom bearing or a carbide straight-cutting bit.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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