JOINTING ON THE ROUTERTABLE
Jointing is the first step in the material prep sequence. The faces and the edges of your stock should see a jointer before proceeding to the planer for thicknessing. The routertable can be used for edge jointing but not face jointing. The are several real advantages to using the routertable including its accessibility to anybody with a routertable, ease of setup and the ability to use cheap carbide straight bits. Carbide cutters permit straightening (jointing) the edges of MDF, Ply, most plastics, aluminum, and wood, (of all things!). High speed steel (HSS) jointer knives are limited to cutting wood.
A precision ground straight edge lines up the cutter and the fence halves. The infeed half of the fence is east of the cutter by the .020" x 12" feeler gage (visible on close inspection). Parallelism and rigidity are essential. For safety, project no more than 1/16" of cutter beyond the thickness of the work.
Once set up for jointing, other full thickness cuts are permissible and acceptable. This bullnose cutter, for example, wastes the entire edge of the board plus the .020" offset. (And note the fence divot, even monkeys fall from trees!)
Routertable jointing is facilitated with a split fence. The outfeed side of the fence must be tangent with the top dead center (TDC) of the cutter. The infeed side of the fence must be parallel to the out feed fence half and east of the cutter by the desired amount of jointing/pass; 1/32" is typical and generous. For best results both halves of the fence must be straight, parallel, square to the table top and resistant to deflection. A guess at any one of these parameters may be the cause for less than desirable results.
A carbide straight cutter slightly greater in length than the work is thick is desirable. A cutter with more diameter than 5/8" will minimize deflection and produce the best finish.
A routertable is no substitute for a jointer but it can be handy for the short run, especially when used on material unfriendly to HSS jointer knives.
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Last modified: Thu Sep 1 06:53:00 PDT 2005