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Posted on Table saw jointer vs router table jointer

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380 posts in 3529 days

#1 posted 10-01-2012 05:01 PM

I’m in a similar situation in that I wish I had a jointer but don’t have the money or space for one. The method I use for establishing a straight edge (so that I can rip the lumber on my table saw) is to use a handplane. It’s easier than you might think, mostly because you can lower your standards a bit. Instead of planing an edge that is not only perfectly straight but also perfectly perpendicular, all you have to do is plane an edge that’s straight. That’s all you need to ride against a table saw fence. It doesn’t even have to be smooth over 100% of the length. It just has to be straight enough that it doesn’t move side to side as you are ripping it.

If you don’t have a plane to joint an edge or if you don’t want to use this method, I would recommend a table saw jig. Setting it up is very simple (having to change the fence on a router table can be a pain, especially if your router table is basically a storage shelf!) and you don’t have to worry about grain direction. I made a jig for my router table and found that I get lots of tear-out. With a router table, you have to be very conscious of grain direction, whereas that doesn’t matter when using a table saw jig. When I’m milling a board, I flatten the side of the board that is easier to flatten. I also flatten the edge that is easier to flattern. The flattened face rides on the table. That sometimes means that the edge I have flattened has the grain oriented the wrong way for use with a router table. Hope that helps.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

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