Router Table for Jointing - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-16-2020, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Router Table for Jointing

Hi Folks,

I've been having a heck of a time trying to get my router to make decent edge joints. I've got a Kreg split fence on a custom-built router table, the Kreg fence has splines to slide in behind the outfeed side to offset. I've installed the splines, and set the outfeed fence flush with the apex on the cutter and can not get decent results. I use a quality straight edge to set the fence position and ensure that the gap on the infeed side is equal all the way along the straight edge.

When I attempt to joint I apply pressure on the outfeed side as I feed the piece thru. I've really tried applying pressure toward the fence just about any way I can think of, including on the infeed initially and transfer to the outfeed as I make the pass. I typically end up with decent results on the ends of the piece and a concave in the middle. I've tried to flip one piece face down in thought that perhaps the router wasn't square to the table, which I have checked with a small machinist square and it seems quite good. On a side note, any thoughts on the best way to ensure the router is square to table? I've got a Jessem Masterlift, when checking against a bit that is 1.5" tall it looks great, but I wonder how accurate that really is, perhaps a 10-12" piece of 1/2 round bar and check against that?

In all reality, I get useable results off my TS with a general-purpose blade where I can't get the router table to produce a decent result for the life of me. I know the easiest answer, just use the TS; but for smaller pieces the TS is a bit of a pain and feels like a bigger safety risk.

Any Help is Appreciated,
Mike
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-16-2020, 04:53 PM
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I’m also a beginner so take my thoughts behind the experts.

One. Using a larger diameter straight cutter in the perchance that you are deflecting the bit slightly with the side pressure against the fence?

Two. Is the infeed fence set parallel to the outfeed or does only the end closer to the bit move away from the cutter creating a “slope” that the end of the board is sliding “down” as it progresses through the cut? Come to think of it, the out feed and infeed should be parallel and in alignment from end to end since that’s the point that is being referenced from?

This is only a new amateur’s thoughts. I’m curious what the pros answer as I just bought a new router and have been relearning the capabilities of a good router.



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post #3 of 17 Old 01-16-2020, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lennyzx11 View Post
I’m also a beginner so take my thoughts behind the experts.

One. Using a larger diameter straight cutter in the perchance that you are deflecting the bit slightly with the side pressure against the fence?

Two. Is the infeed fence set parallel to the outfeed or does only the end closer to the bit move away from the cutter creating a “slope” that the end of the board is sliding “down” as it progresses through the cut? Come to think of it, the out feed and infeed should be parallel and in alignment from end to end since that’s the point that is being referenced from?

This is only a new amateur’s thoughts. I’m curious what the pros answer as I just bought a new router and have been relearning the capabilities of a good router.
The bit I'm using is a 3/4" straight bit with 1/2" shank so I don't think that is the issue.

As for 2nd bit when I set the outfeed flush with the cutter I ensure that the infeed has a consistent gap all the way along with a decent straight edge. The fence is dead square to the table and as near as I can tell router is square to table. If the table and router weren't dead square I should be able to get a good joint by flipping one piece when I cut I would think? I think that is what you're getting at. Having said all that it is an MDF with a laminate sacrificial fence so I'm not entirely sure it would be perfect in terms of being coplanar. The troubling bit is that the cuts seem very good at the ends for maybe 2-3 inches on an 18" piece but the middle is concaved. I really feel like this is some kind of issue with technique when feeding the material through.

Not that I think it's super important but I'm running a nearly new PC 3.25hp router which I am under the impression is a decent quality machine.

Thanks
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-16-2020, 11:13 PM
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If you are sure the fence and router are set correctly perhaps try using a feather board to apply constant pressure as the material is fed through.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #5 of 17 Old 01-16-2020, 11:38 PM
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-17-2020, 01:24 AM
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Great video .... slick router table!

That Festool router table makes backing away the infeed portion of the fence as easy as dialing a knob. If I recall, my fence on my a Bench Dog extension table is a continuous piece, so I would need to shim the outfeed portion OUT first, then align that with the cutting edge of the router bit. This is opposite from the procedure in the video. The thickness of the shims would determine the amount of material removed in one pass, typically about 1/16" for stock that's 3/4" to 1" thick.

Keep in mind that we are talking "edge jointing" here and limited by the amount of extension of the bit out of the table. Since I made my board straightening jigs for the table saw, I use them almost exclusively for longer boards, 4' to 6 ft', than my 6" jointer. For shorter boards, I do use my jointer since it's set up and ready to go. I don't recall using my router table as a jointer, but I would if it were necessary. I would probably just keep a piece of Formica handy that has holes for the "T" bolts and slip it between the wood MDF fence and the one piece aluminum fence on the Bench Dog, outfeed portion only. No washers to fuss with for shimming.

I have found with boards that have severe curves, the board straightening jig is SO much faster than the jointer. One pass and you're done. Jointers typically take several passes to eliminate the curves. The hand tool guys will say they can straighten an edge in 3 passes of their jointer plane and good for them, with their side vises and hold pegs and all. My bench is not so equipped, so that's not an option for me.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-17-2020, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lennyzx11 View Post
I’m also a beginner so take my thoughts behind the experts.

One. Using a larger diameter straight cutter in the perchance that you are deflecting the bit slightly with the side pressure against the fence?

Two. Is the infeed fence set parallel to the outfeed or does only the end closer to the bit move away from the cutter creating a “slope” that the end of the board is sliding “down” as it progresses through the cut? Come to think of it, the out feed and infeed should be parallel and in alignment from end to end since that’s the point that is being referenced from?

This is only a new amateur’s thoughts. I’m curious what the pros answer as I just bought a new router and have been relearning the capabilities of a good router.



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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
That Festool router table makes backing away the infeed portion of the fence as easy as dialing a knob. If I recall, my fence on my a Bench Dog extension table is a continuous piece, so I would need to shim the outfeed portion OUT first, then align that with the cutting edge of the router bit. This is opposite from the procedure in the video. The thickness of the shims would determine the amount of material removed in one pass, typically about 1/16" for stock that's 3/4" to 1" thick.

Keep in mind that we are talking "edge jointing" here and limited by the amount of extension of the bit out of the table. Since I made my board straightening jigs for the table saw, I use them almost exclusively for longer boards, 4' to 6 ft', than my 6" jointer. For shorter boards, I do use my jointer since it's set up and ready to go. I don't recall using my router table as a jointer, but I would if it were necessary. I would probably just keep a piece of Formica handy that has holes for the "T" bolts and slip it between the wood MDF fence and the one piece aluminum fence on the Bench Dog, outfeed portion only. No washers to fuss with for shimming.

I have found with boards that have severe curves, the board straightening jig is SO much faster than the jointer. One pass and you're done. Jointers typically take several passes to eliminate the curves. The hand tool guys will say they can straighten an edge in 3 passes of their jointer plane and good for them, with their side vises and hold pegs and all. My bench is not so equipped, so that's not an option for me.
I totally agree, my TS works great for larger boards with a sled when they are way out of whack. I don't have a jointer so I've been trying to run smaller stuff on the router as it is a bit easier to work with and just not getting the results I desire. The Kreg fence allows for plastic splines to be slid behind the existing outfeed to give the offset to use as a jointer. The Festool setup is really nice but out of my $$ range.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-17-2020, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
If you are sure the fence and router are set correctly perhaps try using a feather board to apply constant pressure as the material is fed through.
Never considered this. Apply feather boards to the outfeed table I would assume then?
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-20-2020, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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*UPDATE*

Not entirely sure that this is the complete issue but wonder what others may think. I built my own router table about 2 years ago. I made the top out of 3/4 MDF doubled up. Initially I had a Dewalt 2 1/4HP router in a Jessem Masterlift. I changed out the Dewalt for the Porter Cable 3 1/4HP monster last summer. I checked the table for flat today and found a significant sag in the center of the table, probably close to 1/16", to spite the fact that the base was constructed with MDF cross members under the top at about 1/2" larger than the lift dimensions.

My thought here is that with the sag the material is not feeding through square and creating my issue with jointing? Pretty frustrated with the whole situation. Wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Kreg top? I have the Kreg fence and am not sure how this would translate to mounting on a cast iron top. I don't think Kreg makes a cast top?

Thanks
Mike
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 11:37 AM
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Could very well be it. How is your top constructed? MDF, even doubled will not support weight well. Did you laminate both sides of the top? With the larger routers you need some support on each side underneath.


For alignment, how about setting the outfeed fence back beyond the bit, and begin the cut on a long board. When you've got about 12" past the bit, clamp the wood down and set the outfeed against the jointed section of the board. Make any sense?

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post #11 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Could very well be it. How is your top constructed? MDF, even doubled will not support weight well. Did you laminate both sides of the top? With the larger routers you need some support on each side underneath.


For alignment, how about setting the outfeed fence back beyond the bit, and begin the cut on a long board. When you've got about 12" past the bit, clamp the wood down and set the outfeed against the jointed section of the board. Make any sense?
I didn't laminate the bottom side. I was able to pick up a new top on clearance for $40, General MDF with HPL. I'm going to attach angle iron to the bottom of this top and use it to mount to the outside of my base and also attach angle as close to the plate cut out as possible to stiffen it up. Also, I think I will make a 4 point jack screw setup between angle in the middle and the shelf below to allow for further support or possibly even adjustment of the support in the middle to ensure that this is not an issue in the future.

I'm not sure how I could set up the fence for jointing in the manner you have suggested. In order to move the outfeed fence, the infeed has to move as well. Unless I set the fence with no splines behind the outfeed and try to set up exactly a 1/16" cut but seems like it might be a bit finicky.

Thanks for your help.
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post #12 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 04:17 PM
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Support the router plate with angle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BNB187 View Post
*UPDATE*

Not entirely sure that this is the complete issue but wonder what others may think. I built my own router table about 2 years ago. I made the top out of 3/4 MDF doubled up. Initially I had a Dewalt 2 1/4HP router in a Jessem Masterlift. I changed out the Dewalt for the Porter Cable 3 1/4HP monster last summer. I checked the table for flat today and found a significant sag in the center of the table, probably close to 1/16", to spite the fact that the base was constructed with MDF cross members under the top at about 1/2" larger than the lift dimensions.

My thought here is that with the sag the material is not feeding through square and creating my issue with jointing? Pretty frustrated with the whole situation. Wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Kreg top? I have the Kreg fence and am not sure how this would translate to mounting on a cast iron top. I don't think Kreg makes a cast top?

Thanks
Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by BNB187 View Post
I didn't laminate the bottom side. I was able to pick up a new top on clearance for $40, General MDF with HPL. I'm going to attach angle iron to the bottom of this top and use it to mount to the outside of my base and also attach angle as close to the plate cut out as possible to stiffen it up. Also, I think I will make a 4 point jack screw setup between angle in the middle and the shelf below to allow for further support or possibly even adjustment of the support in the middle to ensure that this is not an issue in the future.

I'm not sure how I could set up the fence for jointing in the manner you have suggested. In order to move the outfeed fence, the infeed has to move as well. Unless I set the fence with no splines behind the outfeed and try to set up exactly a 1/16" cut but seems like it might be a bit finicky.

Thanks for your help.

What are you talking about with a "cast iron" top now? I thought you built your own top from MDF with a HPL laminate? I have the Bench Dog cast iron table saw extensions and they are great, but only accept the smaller 8 1/2" X 11" router plates from JessEm.

By "splines" you mean shims? Just use a piece of thick 1/16" or so, Formica behind the outfeed portion, assuming it's two separate MDF pieces applied over the aluminum extrusion...?

The fence on a router table is totally unlike that on a table saw which needs to maintain parallelism with the plane of the saw blade. The router bit is a "point" cutting contact, not an 8" wide plane, so it can be at any angle and just expose the amount of bit you need to for your cut.

To brace the sagging top all you need do is run some 1 1/2" angles about 1/2" away from the router's lift plate. You did not "laminate" the two pieces, meaning no glue? just screws? probably overkill, but without angle braces ended up sagging anyway.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 01-21-2020 at 04:29 PM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
What are you talking about with a "cast iron" top now? I thought you built your own top from MDF with a HPL laminate? I have the Bench Dog cast iron table saw extensions and they are great, but only accept the smaller 8 1/2" X 11" router plates from JessEm.

By "splines" you mean shims? Just use a piece of thick 1/16" or so, Formica behind the outfeed portion, assuming it's two separate MDF pieces applied over the aluminum extrusion...?

The fence on a router table is totally unlike that on a table saw which needs to maintain parallelism with the plane of the saw blade. The router bit is a "point" cutting contact, not an 8" wide plane, so it can be at any angle and just expose the amount of bit you need to for your cut.

To brace the sagging top all you need do is run some 1 1/2" angles about 1/2" away from the router's lift plate. You did not "laminate" the two pieces, meaning no glue? just screws? probably overkill, but without angle braces ended up sagging anyway.

I was considering going to a cast iron top to replace my top. The Kreg fence would be extremely difficult to mount on a cast iron top. There are some cast iron table tops that accept the larger Jessem router plate (Sawstop, General, Peachtree sells an extension wing as well with the 9.25x11.75 opening) but they are pretty pricey and I really don't want to put an extension wing on my table saw. In any event, I was able to pick up a General MDF/HPL top on clearance for $40 that I'm going to refit this base with.

Yes, the fence is a one-piece aluminum extrusion with a split MDF fence, Kreg has what I'm calling "splines", round plastic pieces, that slip into the aluminum extrusion to offset the outfeed.

The top was glued and screwed, when I mentioned laminate in the previous post I was referring to HPL, which I didn't put on the bottom. I've clearly made some mistakes on the original build of the top and how it was attached to the base.

This time around I'm going to brace the bottom with angle and make a jackscrew support system under the angle. I know overkill but I don't want to do this again.

I struggle to wrap my head around the fence not needing to be parallel for jointing. My understanding is on a traditional jointer, parallelism is critical why not on a router setup to joint? I'm sure I'm missing something here any help on getting a better understanding is appreciated.
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post #14 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 08:12 PM
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I have not done this on a router table, but I have on a spindle shaper, same thing I guess. The way I set it up is to move the fence away from the cutter, or remove the cutter. You can use a straight edge, or what I do is remove the fence and set it face down on a dead flat surface. I use the bed of my cabinet saw. I adjust the fences so the two are dead flat against the table. This is where you can use the shims if you need them. Once the infeed/outfeed are dead flat on the table, I lock them down and move the fence assembly back to my shaper/router. At this point I use a straight edge to set the outfeed fence so it just ticks the cutter edge and lock the fence down. Now, back off your infeed fence to the amount of cut you want to take. You can also build a sled and joint an edge on your table saw. I am sure there are a number of designs you can find on youtube. Good Luck.
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-22-2020, 12:17 AM
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I'll just address the fence question .....

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.......................

I struggle to wrap my head around the fence not needing to be parallel for jointing. My understanding is on a traditional jointer, parallelism is critical why not on a router setup to joint? I'm sure I'm missing something here any help on getting a better understanding is appreciated.

The question is parallel to what, the cutter? NOPE. That's impossible since the cutter is round, unlike a saw blade which is flat or a "plane". Each fence is separate, but they are parallel to one another, however.


The fences have a hole between them for the cutter to protrude through and take off material from the workpiece. How much you expose the cutter determines how much material comes off. Obviously, you can't go beyond the center of the bit.

When using it as a jointer, the fences can't be in the same plane or nothing would happen. One fence, the infeed, needs to be slightly further in or offset from the outfeed for material to be removed. This is exactly the same as a stationary jointer. You lower the infeed the amount you want to cut. If they were both level across or co-planer, nothing would happen, since the outfeed is always set dead level to the tips of the cutterhead.

You follow this now?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 01-22-2020 at 12:21 AM.
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-23-2020, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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*Final Update*

I switched out my top and braced it heavily with angle iron, including a jackscrew setup under the angle on the short side of the base plate. The table is decently flat now, reset fence to table square, etc and within 3 passes I had a well-jointed surface ready for glue!! Also, added feather boards to the fence to keep decent down pressure, tried a feather board on the outfeed side but found it to be a bit cumbersome.

Not sure if the table flatness was the big issue or something else I missed in tuning but seems to be working well now.

Thanks for all the input everyone!
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-23-2020, 04:37 PM
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I think "flatness" is overrated .......

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*Final Update*

I switched out my top and braced it heavily with angle iron, including a jackscrew setup under the angle on the short side of the base plate. The table is decently flat now, reset fence to table square, etc and within 3 passes I had a well-jointed surface ready for glue!! Also, added feather boards to the fence to keep decent down pressure, tried a feather board on the outfeed side but found it to be a bit cumbersome.

Not sure if the table flatness was the big issue or something else I missed in tuning but seems to be working well now
.

Thanks for all the input everyone!

Flatness matter on billiard tables and bowling alleys .....

With a wide enough vertical cutter even a 1/16" out wouldn't effect the edge. The fence offset and flatness are the biggest issues, in my opinion.


You think this is enough feather boards?



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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