How to Use a Router Table as a Jointer

A jointer may not be the most important tool in woodwork, but it is indispensable because of its function. If you are a beginner or a novice, you may not know what a jointer is used for. Let’s explain it briefly.

If you need a particular size of wood for a project and you can’t get that size, you may decide to join two or more smaller pieces instead.

To do that, you need a jointer that will flatten and smoothen the edges of the pieces of wood, so it will be easier to glue them together side by side. In case you need a jointer, but you don’t have one, we have a way around it.

If you have a router table, you’re covered. You can use your router table as a jointer.

You don’t know how to do that? Don’t worry. That is what this article is about. We will give you simple steps that will help you turn your router table into a jointer.

1. Step 1: Unplug the router table

The first and most important step is to unplug the router table. Don’t just switch it off. You should also unplug it completely.

It is possible that you mistakenly switch on the machine while modifying it, and this could put you in harm’s way. But if you unplug it, even if you mistakenly switch on the button, nothing will happen.

2. Step 2: Select the Appropriate Tool Bit

This subheading has already explained itself. After unplugging the router table, you need to select your tool bit. This is a little tricky because there’s a wide variety of router bits in the market.

We usually advise our readers to select the flush-trim bit. We have used it several times, and we found out that it gives great results.

However, it is necessary to list out all the bit options available. There is the 4-degree sheer angle, the straight bit with no angle, and the three-quarter-inch flush-trim bit.

Although the other types of bits may also produce great results, the flush-trim bit usually gives the best results. As a rule of thumb, you should always go for bits with larger diameter since they produce steadier and smoother cuts.

3. Step 3: Install the bit in the router table

Logically, after choosing your router bit, the next step is to install it in the router table. After placing it, you can raise it slightly, to the point where it is above the thickness of the wood that you intend to joint. Placing a bit is quite easy, so we will not dwell much on that. Let’s go to the next step.

4. Step 4: Offset the fence

You need to offset the fences of the router table to make them uneven.  You can’t possibly use your router table as a jointer if it does not have fences. So, you must have fences. When offsetting the fence, focus on the infeed fence. It plays a bigger role in providing cleaner edges than the outfeed fence.

For better accuracy, set the router to a small fence offset. It may lead to more passes. As far as we are concerned, the number of passes does not matter much. The result is what matters.

5. Step 5: Move the fences nearer to the bit

You need to bring the fences closer to the cutting blade for better jointing quality. However, the fences should not touch the bit. In other words, bring them as close to the bit as possible without touching the bit.

This step is quite challenging, but it is worth it if you get it right. It is better to bring the fences closer very slowly. You are more likely to get it right that way.

6. Step 6: Test the cuts

This is the final step. Get several scraps and test your devised jointer on them. Run each of them through the jointer until they are all smooth. If you are satisfied with the result, you can start your main jointing task. On the other hand, if you don’t like the results, you may have to readjust the bit and run the pieces of wood scraps through it again.

Safety Tips in Using a Router Table

1. Wear protective gear always

You need to protect your head, eyes, nose, mouth, and fingers. So, before you start working, it is necessary to wear a face mask to protect dust from entering your nose and mouth. It is also necessary to wear glasses. Also, make sure you protect your fingers with a feather board.

2. Tidiness matters

Your workshop should be very clean all the time. It might be a good idea to clean up your workshop after working every day. You should endeavor to remove stock, cutoffs, and sawdust. In addition, put all your tools in the appropriate place for easy retrieval.

We will advise you to tidy your workshop yourself. And if you need to hire some people to clean it for you, it is necessary for you to supervise the cleaning.

If you allow people to arrange it for you, they may store your tools inappropriately. You’ll have to search for some of the tools whenever you need them.

3. Learn the safety features on your router table

Virtually all equipment have their safety features, and so does your router table. You may want to learn all the safety features of your router table before you start using it. In fact, it is better to read its user manual in full before you start using it.

4. Disconnect and unplug the router table after every use

You must always disconnect and unplug all your appliances when you are through with them. In case a power surge or reverse current occurs when you’ve closed and left the workshop, your equipment will not be affected.

5. Keep your workshop locked always

In case your workshop is in the same location as your house; it is possible that your kids and pets may go into it when you are not around. So, you should always keep your workshop locked.

Final Verdict

We’re sure you’ve been following from the beginning.You should have learned how to use a router table as a jointer now. Also, you should have learned a few precautionary measures that you can apply when using a router table or other heavy equipment.