Panel Glue Up - Getting the Edges Straight

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Forum topic by JerryL posted 12-28-2007 02:07 AM 8444 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JerryL's profile


45 posts in 4244 days

12-28-2007 02:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointing router

I’m working on a simple project that requires 4 or 5 cedar boards to be glued into a panel. Simple right? I bought some rough cedar (8/4×3’ cut to length) and now I’m trying to get jointed edges. My only issue is that I don’t have a jointer. If you’ve seen any of my projects you’ll see a lot of plywood and some dimensional work so this will literally be my first panel.

I’ve having all kinds of trouble getting the edges straight enough to be glued. Any advice you guys have would be welcome.

Attempt 1: I made an off center mortise jig for my new plunge router. I set it up to put one of the stops against the far edge of the board at the right distance and I slid it down the board. The edge was clean but it was difficult to keep the router positioned properly. The edge wasn’t straight.

Attempt 2: Jointing fence for the router table. Took a 3 foot length of oak and glued a piece of laminate to one side. Set the fence and ran the boards through. The edge was close to perfect but still not straight enough to glue up. I’m thinking that since the fence was shorter than the work piece that I’m destine to get cupped edges. I’m thinking this might be my best option – I just need a longer fence.

Attempt 3: I bought some of those board straighteners when I got my table saw. I got them set up (had to dado the “straight” edge side per the instructions. I clamped up the cedar but never ran it through the saw. It wouldn’t sit parallel to the saw top. Anyone want these?

Attempt 4: (This should have worked) I made some saw guides for my circular saw way back when. The saw rides on a flat piece of hardboard and there’s another piece glued to it to make an edge for the saw edge. I’ve got an 8’ one for ripping plywood. I put it against the rip fence and supported the ends with some roller stands. That way the work piece could ride along the edge through the whole cut, including the infeed and outfeed. I was positive this would work. The dry run seemed fine. The work piece had a bow to it so it touched the fence at each end. I set it and ran two boards on through the cut. The finished edges are still cupped just enough to get contact at each end but not in the middle. The blade is a Forest WWII.

If anyone is still with me after this long post I’d be grateful for any ideas.

-- Jerry L.

9 replies so far

View oicurn2it2's profile


146 posts in 4034 days

#1 posted 12-28-2007 03:36 AM

check this out mabey it’ll help

-- "when you think youre going to slow, slow down just a little bit more" .... Pop's

View TomFran's profile


2959 posts in 4191 days

#2 posted 12-28-2007 04:07 AM

You might try building one of these.

A good discussion of the rip sled concept can be found at this link.

Even if you had a jointer, these sleds are the way to go (IMHO).

Check it out and see what you think.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4511 days

#3 posted 12-28-2007 04:42 AM

try clamping on a straight edge and using a flush cut router bit with a bearing

View Jim Boisvert's profile

Jim Boisvert

6 posts in 4021 days

#4 posted 01-04-2008 06:47 AM

I have a technique that works very well when I want to join two pieces of plastic laminate. This joint HAS to be perfect when I’m laminating a countertop for a client. It also works well for edge joining planks if you don’t have access to a jointer.
The concept is to use a router with a staight bit and a straight edge. We want to cut both edges of the planks at the same time so that they mirror each other exactly. Simply clamp the two pieces of wood on a flat surface to within a 1/4 inch of each other, clamp a staight edge on top of one piece so that the router bit runs down the length of the gap, removing material from both peices at the same time. Even if the straight edge is not perfect, because the router is removing wood from both pieces, small deviations in one piece will be mirrored in the other. Label the pieces before gluing up so that the “mirrored” joints will be mated.

-- Jim, Alberta Canada

View LONGHAIR's profile


94 posts in 4011 days

#5 posted 01-04-2008 05:53 PM

Jim is quite right with the mirroring technique. We do it with large pieces of solid surface material all the time. The only thing I would add is to use a large diameter bit and take the smallest amount from the boards as you can. You are cutting on both sides at the same time. One side is “climb cutting”, it will tend to pull you through the cut, so the smallest cut is most controllable. This also reduces chip-out, by limiting the depth of the cut to the minimum.

For me, it is more comfortable to put the straight edge on the right-hand side and “pull” the cut. It seems easier to control the climb coming toward me than pushing away, as if the straight edge was on the left.

View JerryL's profile


45 posts in 4244 days

#6 posted 01-04-2008 08:47 PM

Thanks guys for al the help. Since this project is going to end up hanging outside I figured I didn’t need perfect (which is good for me) but I did need “good”.

I ended up at the HD just before closing on New Year’s Day and I got a straight edge and a 1/2” straight bit with a bearing on it. The stock is just over 1 1/2” thick so I would have been better off getting a longer bit but the selection wasn’t great so I ended up with a 1” cutter length. I did one board at a time but doing two at a time would have been even better. I’ll try that next time. I had to move the clamps once on each board, either from the ends to the middle or from the middle to the end but I was able to get a nice edge on the boards.

Since I could only cut 1” at a time I ran all the edges across a flush trim bit in my router table using the “straight” portion of the board as a guide. The end result is really nice. I’m going to add dowels to the joint to help me with alignment in the final glue up – that should happen tonight if things go well.

Some day down the road I’ll even post a pic of the finished project.

thanks again for all the help,

-- Jerry L.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3995 days

#7 posted 01-04-2008 09:36 PM

You can get it perfect if you have a straight edge to reference from. Before I had my jointer I used a straight edge, good clamps and a router with a flush trim bit. No need to get crazy. takes a bit longer than a jointer, but it can get you a perfect leg. Don’t go cheap on your router bits. I use Woodside.

-- making sawdust....

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10317 posts in 4249 days

#8 posted 01-06-2008 11:30 PM

If you can find someone with a jointer, the following should work:

Decide on how much you want to cut at a time, like on a jointer.
I’m using 1/32, 1/16, 3/32, and 1/8”

Get a couple of pieces of hardwood like maple (2” – 3” wide) that will be used & clamped on your router table as a fence.

1. Joint all edges of the pieces you have (4 edges).

2. Mark the midpoints on each edge of each piece.

3. Set Jointer to cut 1/32”

4. Start jointing a straight edge… but pull it away at the half-way mark. Mark the edge just cut “1/32”

5. Set Jointer to cut 1/16”, cut & mark another edge. Keep doing it for all depths you want (2 per board)

Now, go to your Router table… with a 1/2” spiral bit, push center of each edge, where the two cuts intersect, into the bit so the bit can be buried into the fence (and the jointer curve is cut away).

Position board so the edge marked “1/nn” is toward you, against the bit, on the right side of the bit with the bit going into the hole just cut… place a metal ruler straightedge on the output side (widest part) across the fence & position bit to cut TO it… clamp down.

Now, use your router as a jointer against the bit… shifting pressure to the output side thru the cut.

Depending, you can start with say a 1/8” cut for the biggest cuts, then go to 1/16”, then 1/32” as desired.

Of course, if the work piece is bowed, you joint off the ends first the best way you can to get a clean full cut.

Then, go to table saw to rip he other side.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 4014 days

#9 posted 01-07-2008 12:00 AM

You should get perfect joints with what you already have in hand. Glue the boards together, log into lumber jocks while the glue dries.
Put your guide rail on the glue line, mirror cut with the circular saw.
If you have extra wood and time, you can gradually increase the angle and have a scarf joint with more surface area to glue.

-- Thuan

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