Tried to use my router table as jointer and failed

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Forum topic by Joel_B posted 10-14-2015 11:02 PM 1184 views 0 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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292 posts in 798 days

10-14-2015 11:02 PM

I have access to a jointer but its about 10 minute drive each way.
So I had some 3/4 White oak i need to put an edge on so I remembered reading about doing it on a router table.
Watched a few YouTubes and then took a shot. The edge came out nice and clean but it wasn’t very flat.
There was a gradual dip of maybe 0.010”. I checked my sliding fences made out of MDF and they were not exactly flat. So I took the drive and ran it though the jointer, still not exactly flat but much better. So now i am thinking of replacing the sliding fences with something that is more permanently flat. I am thinking 5/8 or so Polycarbonate.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

42 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2339 days

#1 posted 10-15-2015 12:14 AM

If you use a 24 tooth blade made for ripping in your table saw you will get “glue-up ready” cuts. No need for a jointer.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Joel_B's profile


292 posts in 798 days

#2 posted 10-15-2015 12:27 AM

Which 24T blades do you recommend?
Problem is a need a straight edge to start with to run it through the TS.
Maybe what I had is good enough, maybe just cut a little bit oversize and then turn it around to clean up the original edge from the router?

Found this 30T blade:

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View GarageWoodworks's profile


515 posts in 1574 days

#3 posted 10-15-2015 12:47 AM

If you can find a flat reference board you can double stick tape it to your stock and use a pattern or flush trim bit.

-- Subscribe on YouTube:

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 3509 days

#4 posted 10-15-2015 12:48 AM


If the links don’t work just search youtube for “straight edge tablesaw” for a lot of examples.

BTW, the Freud blade is awesome.

-- Nicky

View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2231 days

#5 posted 10-15-2015 01:01 AM

A tablesaw blade will not really straighten a bowed board (without special jigs and fixtures). It will result in a really clean cut on a board that is still bowed. With a straight line/taper jig you can establish one reference edge. But that only works for S2S lumber. If you want the ability to work with rough lumber, you will still need a jointer. I used the jointer function on my router table exactly twice before I gave up. It worked fine, but it is limited to the height of your bit. So at best it was like having a 2” jointer.

You may find as I did that a decent sized jointer is the best bet. That way you can joint a face and an edge, and build projects with flat, square lumber.

Good luck with it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2793 days

#6 posted 10-15-2015 01:35 AM

It’s worth mentioning that jointing with a router or table saw will only treat the edge, not the face. The face can contribute considerable variation to an edge joint if not flattened.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Joel_B's profile


292 posts in 798 days

#7 posted 10-15-2015 04:54 AM

Turns out the blade I have on my TS is a 24T Diablo. I have had it many years and when I first got it I remember how easily it cut through the wood. It probably needs sharpening and I recently had a hard time cutting through 1-3/4 white oak, it really bogged my saw down, even stopped it and burned the wood. My saw is a Craftsman and only 1 HP so probably not enough power for that wood. Probably would be worth investing in that new Freud blade though.
I would still like to try to use my router as a jointer as I will continue to have a need to use it on edges less than 2”.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View Kazooman's profile


614 posts in 1370 days

#8 posted 10-15-2015 11:15 AM

One thing to keep in mind (you may already be doing this) is that you need to be careful with how you hold the work piece against the fences. For normal use of a router table I think everyone would hold the work tight to the fence on the infeed side. However, when using the router table as a jointer the outfeed fence is aligned with the edge of the cutter and the infeed fence is set a hair inside of that. Once the cut has been started is it important to keep the work pressed against the outfeed fence. This is just like he operation of a jointer where you need to keep the work pressed to the outfield table as soon as it is practical during the cut. Failure to do so can result in a cup in the piece just as you describe.

View hairy's profile


2375 posts in 2949 days

#9 posted 10-15-2015 12:48 PM

Maybe I am misunderstanding your problem. It’s not flat. A .0010 gradual dip, across a 3/4” board. To me that sounds like the bit is not square to the table. Check it with a good square. Does your router table plate have leveling screws? just a thought…

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2339 days

#10 posted 10-15-2015 01:01 PM

I use a diablo 24 teeth thin kerf table saw blade with my 1 1/2 HP saw. I have a taper sled, that I made, and can use to straighten up a badly curved edge. I am cutting softwoods mostly (Eastern red cedar) so the blades last me a long time.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Underdog's profile


878 posts in 1453 days

#11 posted 10-15-2015 01:23 PM

Maybe I am misunderstanding your problem. It s not flat. A .0010 gradual dip, across a 3/4” board. To me that sounds like the bit is not square to the table. Check it with a good square. Does your router table plate have leveling screws? just a thought…

- hairy

I think you meant ten thousandths, not ONE thousandth.
If it was only .001” then I doubt we’d be having this conversation…

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View rwe2156's profile


2110 posts in 898 days

#12 posted 10-15-2015 02:25 PM

My 2 cents:

1. You need a better (or at least more powerful) table saw.
2. Forget the router and make a sled for your TS.

Once you get your first cut then do a skim cut as the final pass (Note: do NOT use a thin kerf blade if you can because they will flex using this technique.)

Have you given any thought to handtools? I found when I started using hand tools I was amazed how much MORE accurate they can be than a machine.

Not to mention, no noise, no dust collection, no respirator…....

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Joel_B's profile


292 posts in 798 days

#13 posted 10-15-2015 03:26 PM

Thanks for all the helpful feedback.

I know I need a better more powerful TS. However I have already spent a lot of money on tools and not much to show for it. I need to finish this project (some nightstands) before considering a new TS which would probably be a Grizzly. I am no expert but don’t think the TS is the best tool to use in place of a jointer and its not going flatten faces. I might as well keep using the jointer I have access to or buy one cheap but my garage is already overflowing.

Since I already have a router table (that I built) and it most resembles a jointer I would like to try to utilize it to joint edges that are less than 2” thick.

I do have and appreciate hand tools and use them when possible. I was looking into getting a #6 jointer plane but it would be really to tough to use it on the wood I am using as it is very hard with irregular grain. Also keeping the edge square with a hand plane would be difficult without some sort of guide like a shooting board. I also don’t have a proper workbench with vises to hold the material when hand planing. I am using our old kitchen table and handscrew clamps. A workbench is something I plan to build in the next year.

Nobody answered my original question about whether polycarbonate would be a good material for the sliding fences on the router table. I could make some new ones from MDF but would like something more durable that won’t warp over time.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 648 days

#14 posted 10-15-2015 03:47 PM

The deflection in your bit will be your biggest issue to overcome if you do get the fences correct. Easy to say but:
1: depending on the length .010 is ~5 human hairs (blonde) and 3 1/3 (brunette) i.e. it aint much and
2: get a jointer as soon as you can. The bearings hold the cutterhead on both sides so there will be no deflection not to mention you can surface one face.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View oldnovice's profile


5642 posts in 2785 days

#15 posted 10-15-2015 03:52 PM

I do the jointing with my TS and Forrest Woodworker II saw blade. Has worked for me.

I have also used my Bench Dog router table which has MDF fence faces and include some spacers to joint two different amounts, 1/32” and …. forgot the other measurement!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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