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Router table: widening rabbet

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Forum topic by LotsToLearn posted 09-20-2014 03:42 PM 1358 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LotsToLearn

6 posts in 891 days


09-20-2014 03:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router router table safety rabbet recess miter

I’m building picture frames and I ran the four sides through the router table using a straight bit to cut the rabbets (recesses) to hold the art content, then I cut the miters on all corners. So at this point I basically have 4 wooden spears, sharpened on both ends.

I messed up pretty badly on my measuring (maybe measured only once and cut once :) and the rabbets are about 1/8” too narrow.

I have this strong urge to adjust the fence to widen the rabbet and run the mitered pieces through again, pointy ends and all. There’s not much material to remove and it seems like a quick operation.

But the instincts are saying “not good!” Partly because I don’t know what effect the sharpened miter will have when contacting the router bit and partly because if something goes wrong, the wooden spear will be flying around the shop at high speed. (and although this shouldn’t be weighing in on the decision, the wood was cheap, so I can scrap it or use for a smaller frame and will have learned something.)

Is there a safe way to widen the rabbet of the already mitered corner pieces on the router table? Is there a hand tool alternative that’s safer? The plane I have wouldn’t allow me to get close enough to the inner edge of the rabbet. Chiseling could be pretty ugly.

Also, the other question I have is about widening a dado on the router table. It seems like you’d want to do that by making the additional widening passes against the material closest to the fence, rather than on the side of the dado further away from the fence?

In the second case, it seems like the bit would tend to push the piece toward the material-less already-cut dado, rather than firmly against the fence…

Thanks for your thoughts on this.


8 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7172 posts in 2038 days


#1 posted 09-20-2014 03:59 PM

a rabbet plane with a fence is a good choice.

View LotsToLearn's profile

LotsToLearn

6 posts in 891 days


#2 posted 09-20-2014 05:11 PM

Thanks waho6o9. My inexperience is showing. I appreciate the response

View longgone's profile

longgone

5688 posts in 2770 days


#3 posted 09-20-2014 05:35 PM

You could use a smaller bearing on your rabbeting bit if you have one. It will increase the cut depth. I keep several different sizes of bearings for such situations.
If you widen a dado on the router table it is best to have the bit cut the wood farthest from the fence. You don’t want to cut the wood nearest the fence because it will grab the wood and pull it away from you.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2851 posts in 2693 days


#4 posted 09-20-2014 05:58 PM

I don’t see any problem making the rabbit wider if…
The back side is still flat.
You have some way of holding the workpiece flat on the back sid as you make your cut. Something like this.

I have a pair of them and they work well.

If you are leary, make up an example from some scrap and try it.

The way I see it, the short side of your miter is where you will be widening the rabbit, and that ege will be riding against your router fence. Keep it flat and cut away.

Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2152 days


#5 posted 09-21-2014 12:46 AM

Greg and MT have given the same advice I would give but you could also use the tablesaw.

I do all my rabbets and dados on the TS unless they are blind/stopped. Just seems quicker and easier to me.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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LotsToLearn

6 posts in 891 days


#6 posted 09-22-2014 03:14 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. I don’t have a table saw of my own yet, but can get access to one off and on.

I have a miter saw, but nothing of my own I’d want to use for ripping right now, so I’ve been buying 1”x2” (Pine, birch, poplar) and working with that to get my technique down (routing, miters). I use several featherboards and a pushstick to route the rabbets with the straight bit.

The sides of my frame were 13.5” and I had mitered both ends of each side, so it’s difficult to hold/push the tail to widen.

MT, I ended up using a “sticky” push block like you’d mentioned to widen the rabbets. There was enough friction that I could get by without pushing from the back of the piece. The thin stock makes it more of a challenge.

On the bright side, no sharp spears flew tonight and the art will now fit in the frame :)

Thanks again.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2851 posts in 2693 days


#7 posted 09-22-2014 03:20 AM


Thanks for the suggestions.

The sides of my frame were 13.5” and I had mitered both ends of each side, so it s difficult to hold/push the tail to widen.

MT, I ended up using a “sticky” push block like you d mentioned to widen the rabbets. There was enough friction that I could get by without pushing from the back of the piece. The thin stock makes it more of a challenge.

On the bright side, no sharp spears flew tonight and the art will now fit in the frame :)

Thanks again.

- LotsToLearn

Good. Glad it worked OK for you. I have a pair of those push blocks.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2275 days


#8 posted 09-22-2014 03:38 AM

1+ on the bearing guided rabbet bits. I have a kit from Whiteside that comes with several bearing sizes. By changing the bearing you can alter the width of the rabbet. It is a nice option to have, and I find myself using it frequently when building picture frames and case goods.

You were right to be somewhat concerned with a second cut on the router table. Be careful not to make a second cut that puts the workpiece between bit and the fence.

Glad it worked out.

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

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