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, woodworker.com, 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

Purchase this back issue.

Click any image to view a larger version.

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.