After 'jointing' one edge of a piece of wood on a router table is there any
reason not to set the table up as a 'thicknesser' and pass the wood between
the fence and cutter (suitably guarded and in the right direction)?
No reason whatsoever. Do observe the direction, as you suggested. Push
your work into the rotation. I do this operation daily as I thickness
solid surface edges. The operation joints the piece at the same as it
You are, of course, limites to the height of your router bit. I have
found that the bigger the diameter of the bit is, the better the finish.
Use a slower speed on bits bigger than 3/4" diameter.
Take a little at the time. Make sure the bit is very sharp.
It sounds smart and under guarded conditions it is. Would I recommend
Absolutely not. When the work is trapped between the fence and the
cutter it has no place to go but into the cutter in the event of
accident. Like driving in tough road construction areas with tight
crash barriers on both sides of your car, screw up, and into the
barrier you go.
Moreover, if your fence deflects or the first edge on the work is
crooked you're at risk for a kickback, a broken cutter or an ER visit
if you're really unlucky.
http://www.patwarner.com/routertable_jointing.html for one edge
jointing safely. Thicknessing is pretty much a planer operation.
That has everything to do with the direction of feed, and the amount of
cut you're taking.
With a finger board, this can be done safely. You just have to be cool
about it. Feed it against the rotation of the bit, not with it.
I wouldn't attempt it with oak, mind you.
Then again, I also climb-cut most of my routered edges.
This thread has gotten hung up on a false premise. Jointing is making one
edge flat in preparation for jointing it to another. It can be done
perfectly well on a jointer table, or with a hand-held router with a flat
reference. Before I got a jointer, I did it all the time on my router table
with a jointer fence that I made. Works fine, but isn't as easy to adjust
or as easily adjusted as a jointer. Doesn't require running stock between
the bit and the fence.
Jointing the first edge with the cutter and fence in the normal position is
fine. But how to ensure repeatable width when jointing the second edge so as
to end up with say for example's sake four identical pieces exactly 2" wide
(say 1" thick stock with two good faces)?
With a table saw and a thickness planer. :-)
Joint one face straight and flat.
Joint one edge straight, flat, and square to the jointed face.
Use table saw to rip the opposite edge parallel to the jointed edge.
Use planer to make the opposite face parallel to the jointed face.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Others have beat me to the punch. <g> Have you got some sort of
disfigurement wish? SIGH. Don't trap the work between the fence and the
bit, as others have already mentioned...
To joint properly, adjust the outfeed table flush with the cutter.
Recess the infeed table by the amount you wish to take off. (another
I don't quite see what all the sighing is for. I had looked in a couple of
router books before posting. Isn't this what newsgroups are for - surely a
better use of space than a lot of the crap that goes on the group and
Thanks to all who replied. It's quite clear to me now the main reason for
the danger is that there's nothing to stop the workpiece being pulled
further into the cutter than the depth of cut intended - hence kickback.
Things are often stated to be dangerous but often the reason is not stated.
Knowing the reason I find helps to drive the point home without having to do
it and find out the hard way.
:) The sighing was because you could hardly come up with a worse
scenario for jointing a board if you'd spent months contemplating it!
Kickbacks are no fun, as my occasionally battered body can attest to,
but not from the router table--my snafus occurred at the table saw. Why
risk it, John? You should be thankful others are looking out for your
A planer has a powered infeed roller that's going to keep the wood going
where you want it to go. When things go wrong you don't have to be anywhere
near the output, which would be back, towards you, or, lacking a steel
shroud, almost anywhere. Our first day in Industrial Arts class, the
teacher showed us what happens when you use a board that's too short for the
thickness planer. The infeed could no longer grab it, and it fired back at
very high speed. Unless you're going to equip your router table with all
the fixin's that a planer has, you're asking for trouble.
There's nothing stopping you from planing it on the outside, is there? Same
as jointing it, only at 90 degrees to the original joint.
- Owen -
The others have already pointed out the obvious danger of using the
router the way you're describing it. If you're just trying to plane
the surface of narrow stock and don't want to buy a jointer, you can
set up the table saw to work as a narrow jointer by making a jig that
attaches to the rip fence. Basically, you set it up so that there is
no space between the blade and the jig on the right-hand side of the
cut, and a shim that is shaped like a riving knige behind the blade
that lines up with the left edge of the blade's teeth (The shim should
extend to the far end of the fence or beyond). When you cut, the
waste is entirely sawn (nothing left on the right hand side) and the
shim on the back side supports the freshly cut edge so that you get a
straight joint. Obviously, make sure the wood you use for all parts
of the jig are very straight.
You get a lot more capacity with this method, and it's a whole lot
less dangerous. Or, you could go out and get a planer (thicknesser)
if you're doing a lot of this- it sure is a lot easier!
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