Question about router jig for half-lap joints

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Forum topic by WillInTheMill posted 03-23-2010 09:31 PM 5520 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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54 posts in 2599 days

03-23-2010 09:31 PM

Hi everyone! I’m building two router jigs to do half-lap joints for a project just like this one:

I’ve never built a router jig before, and one that I made is really tight (the pieces are locked tight together), and the other is loose by about a 1/32” or 1/16” (there is some wiggle room) to the finished pieces. Which joint would be better for the finished project? Should I have some room for glue between the pieces, or do I want them ultra tight? I plan to fasten everything with glue and dowels. Thanks!

-- Will, Tampa, FL

3 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

449 posts in 2427 days

#1 posted 03-23-2010 09:58 PM

Tighten it up with some shipping tape or even edge banding the inside edge of one of the edges of the looser one.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View bobkberg's profile


420 posts in 2496 days

#2 posted 03-23-2010 10:00 PM

Does it have to be done with a router? For something like this, I’d rather use a table saw, and mark where the cuts go with a very sharp pencil.

When I do half-lap joins (even in small scale) I still use a table saw. Much as I like a router, I consider it to be a second or third choice for something like this that’s open. I’ve only used a router for doing half-lap cuts where I was working in a tight space.

As for how tight it should be – just enough space so the the pieces can be joined without force. If there is any “wiggle” room, the joint won’t look good, and may well fail.


-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View WillInTheMill's profile


54 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 03-23-2010 10:36 PM

Hi Bob,

The upright pieces are about 7 feet long, and all I have is a cheap contractor folding table saw. The router jigs are already made and will be much easier to use, especially with the long pieces and 6 degree angle cuts. I agree that once I have a dado set it would be much easier. :)

Sounds like I need to tighten up the one and loosen up (or sand down) the tight one. Thanks!

And I’ll welcome any other answers of course. :)

-- Will, Tampa, FL

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