Tongue n groove method

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Forum topic by Watercolor posted 04-03-2016 10:57 PM 390 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 1155 days

04-03-2016 10:57 PM

So I’ve got a lie Nielsen no 48 on back order and unfortunately I’m the type to talk myself out of things if given ample amount of time. I’m really starting to doubt if I should go through with this purchase vs using my router table to do TnG, which I do not do a whole lot of by the way.

I do use slot of hand tools but can be considered a hybrid wood worker. I prepare and flatten my stock. By hand but thickness dimension and rip with power tools but perform my joinery with hand tools.

So with all this in mind what do you prefer between router table set up vs hand plane for tongue n groove. Pros and cons etc…

Thanks scott


6 replies so far

View Adam's profile


36 posts in 1650 days

#1 posted 04-03-2016 11:23 PM

How thick is the stock you are using? Nothing wrong with doing them on your router table, but you could always get a set of vintage match planes, instead. The best things has a nice looking pair that centers on 7/8 stock for half the price of the LN 48 – if you’re using 3/4 I would think it would work fine, the tongue just won’t be centered. You can also e-mail Ed Lebetkin of Ed’s Antique Tools. I think he had a couple Stanley 48/49s when I was down there last week, and he might have a pair of wooden ones that would work for your application.

ETA: I’ve never used a router table for T&G. Seems too fidgety for me, and if you don’t do a lot of T&G I think the investment in time for set up and in money for the bits may not be the way to go. I found doing it by hand to be very simple and straightforward – all you really have to do is set the board on end and grab the correct plane. If you were making a few rooms of flooring in one shot, your perspective might change a bit.

View Watercolor's profile


21 posts in 1155 days

#2 posted 04-03-2016 11:48 PM

The fidgety of router set up is the bothersome point of that method, I agree. Not that I have a problem paying the price for the plane as I know it will be well worth the money. I’ll mainly be using this for cabinet backs and to cut quarter inch grooves for bottoms and such. I chose it in lieu of the Veritas plow plane due to cost and the fact that all I am going to need as far as blades go are the 1/4” groove and the ability to cut tongues. I may just let the order ride and if I don’t like it, I know it won’t be problem to sell.


View Watercolor's profile


21 posts in 1155 days

#3 posted 04-03-2016 11:49 PM

Forgot. I usually use 3/4-7/8 stock. If I were to run 1/2” I would probably just run a rabbet and dado and not TnG it.


View rwe2156's profile


2119 posts in 902 days

#4 posted 04-04-2016 11:56 AM

My general philosophy about tools is if its a one-purpose, $$ tool I really have to think it through to justify it, either because it saves me time or does a better job.

I have an antique T&G plane set that works well, but rarely use them unless I just have a small job.
For many feet of TG, personally I would use a router.

Adam, it really isn’t fiddly, especially if you use a TG bit set. You just need to have some set up pieces.

IOW, I view this type of tool as for the hand tool only type ww’er.

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

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2198 days

#5 posted 04-04-2016 12:33 PM

Tongue and groove is an interesting joint. I have used both the planes and the router table.

If you are doing a floor – router table
If you are doing short wood – router table
If you are doing longer woods or thinner boards – hand tongue and groove

The router table does not do well if the boards are not real flat. The hand version setup is done while the router takes a bit to align everything.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Nubsnstubs's profile


811 posts in 1152 days

#6 posted 04-04-2016 02:47 PM

Why use a router table when the router is equipped with it’s own base. Use a rabbeting bit with bearing for cutting the tongue, and use a 1/4” slot bit for the groove. Length is not an issue hand holding the router. The draw back to using a router is noise. If the pieces are short, then set up and use a table. It’s quicker, and a lot easier than using a hand tool. This is my my opinion, plus thousands of feet of experience using a router making T&G’s….............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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