How to Make Edge Joints With a Router

Cut sharp, tight-fitting edges every time

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

Two options for edge joints

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 before routing.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Router
  • Clamps

You'll also need a 1/2-in. flush trim router bit with a bottom bearing or a carbide straight-cutting bit.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • 1/2-in. MDF