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Q & A: Keep the Crook


I have some planks with a pronounced
crook.The grain is beautiful and I would
like to make use of the crook in a desktop
design. How can I edge join the
boards without loosing the crook?


Joining curved boards is not as
hard as it may seem. You’ll need a
router with a 1⁄2-in. down-cut spiral bit,
$17, and a 5⁄8-in. template guide bushing,
$7.50, (available from Woodcraft
Supply, 800-533-4482), a jigsaw and a
clamping jig wide enough to hold
both boards at once.

Lay out the boards in the order
they will be glued. Use a jigsaw to
rough cut the bark edges on the first
board (Board A in Photo 1). Try for a
smooth flowing line that’s easy for a
router to follow. Abrupt changes in
direction will not work with this technique.
Overlap the second board with
the rough-cut edge of the first. Scribe
and cut the second board.

Once you’re satisfied with the look
and fit of the rough-cut edges (try for
gaps under 1⁄8 in.), it’s time to make the
template. Scribe the edge of the first
board you cut on a piece of 1⁄2-in. MDF or
particleboard that’s as long as the boards
you’re joining and almost as wide. Cut
the template profile with a jigsaw, then use
a belt sander to smooth any irregularities.
Clamp the rough-cut boards and template
on a clamping jig.

To make the clamping jig in Photo 2,
crosscut 2x4s equal in length to the total
width of the boards you’re joining. Rip a
piece of plywood to that same width. Lay the
2x4s on edge across the plywood like the
rungs of a ladder and secure with #8 x 2-in.
screws. Make sure there’s a 2×4 flush with
each end of the board where holes can be
drilled for clamps.

Set the gap between the two boards so the
bit takes only 1⁄16-in. from each edge. Follow
the template, remove the boards, join with
clamps and glue.

Click any image to view a larger version.

First, rough cut the joint.

Then, joint both edges at once.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker December 1999, issue #77.

December 1999, issue #77

Purchase this back issue.

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