Using a Router Table as a Jointer
Not everyone can afford all the tools of a professional level wood shop and big investments like a jointer may not be worth if you are only going to use them occasionally.
For some tools you can double up on their uses which helps same on money and space, but don’t assume you’ll get the best results or the versatility of a dedicated tool for the job.
Cutting stick with a hand saw or a table saw can leave the edges with some small irregularities and saw marks.
A jointer excels at making your edges super smooth for gluing.
Is it possible to you turn your router into a jointer?
Yes you can use a router table as a jointer but only as an edge jointer for removing small nicks and bumps on your edges.
The one advantage a router has over a jointer is in the blade selection for the router bits.
Modern carbide router bits can cut through particle board and MDF with ease, unlike a more traditional jointer that uses steel based cutters.
A carbide straight bit is the one to go for.
Taller, thinner bits should be avoided as they can suffer from chatter which may actually make the quality of your edge worse rather than better.
Smaller, thicker bits will perform much better especially if you use a slow feed rate, a 1/2 inch carbide bit is a great choice.
You’ll need a shim of roughly 1/16 inch of plastic or hardwood(as long as it is perfectly uniform in shape you should be good)
How to use a Router Table as a Jointer
The key to setting up a router table for use as a jointer is to have perfectly straight in-feed and out-feed fences that are offset from each other.
You’ll need to set both fences to be perfectly parallel to each other, for those with a one piece fence this will not be an issue.
- Unplug you router and install the bit into the router
- Clamp the shim to your out-feed fence.
- Use a perfect straight edge to adjust the fence so that the shim lines up perfectly with the edge of your bit at the bits widest point.
- Assuming the router is still unplugged turn the bit by hand and insure that the straight edge is perfectly in line with it as it turns.
- Tighten the fence so that it is firmly fixed in place.
- The difference between the in-feed and out-feed fence should now be 1/16th inch which exactly how much material you will be removing from the stock material.
- No test a small cut by pushing the stock along the in-feed fence and check that the stock is running perfectly flush with the out-feed table after the router has made the cut.