Flush trim finger joints

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Forum topic by ChuckH posted 12-17-2014 01:02 PM 1339 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ChuckH's profile


68 posts in 1189 days

12-17-2014 01:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finger joint

I’ve just made my first finger joint box, and the fingers are proud all around. My first inclination is just to run the whole thing on the jointer; it’s 4.5 in tall, so plenty of room. Anything wrong with that, or I should looke out for? My other options are trim them on the TS but I’m worried about scratching up the box sides, or not having it just square to the blade. I really don’t want to flush cut them all with a hand saw.

21 replies so far

View Woodbum's profile


717 posts in 2488 days

#1 posted 12-17-2014 01:08 PM

Sand them flush? Either power or hand depending on how proud they are. I’ve done this dozens of times with a ROS, hand held belt sander, stationary sander etc. and by hand or both.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View ChuckH's profile


68 posts in 1189 days

#2 posted 12-17-2014 01:14 PM

Good idea, don’t know why I didn’t think of it. I may have been thinking at 1/8” they’d be too proud to sand, but mostly I hate sanding, so tend not to think about it.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1526 posts in 1928 days

#3 posted 12-17-2014 01:16 PM

Yep, those will sand flush in a jiffy!

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2263 posts in 1792 days

#4 posted 12-17-2014 02:17 PM

Block plane?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View ChuckH's profile


68 posts in 1189 days

#5 posted 12-17-2014 02:25 PM

Maybe after Christmas if Santa brings me one ;)

View ADHDan's profile


799 posts in 1531 days

#6 posted 12-17-2014 03:10 PM

I’ve sanded proud fingers flush, and I’ve trimmed them with a flush cut bit on the router table.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View distrbd's profile


2220 posts in 1869 days

#7 posted 12-17-2014 03:27 PM

There’s nothing wrong with leaving the fingers proud if they complement the design,just sand the fingers even but leave them proud and decide for yourself if you like the way it looks ,if not ,then just sand them flush.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View TravisH's profile


438 posts in 1357 days

#8 posted 12-17-2014 05:25 PM

A jointer would not be one of my choices. I would be very worried of chip out even with a backer. Depending on how proud they were I would be more inclined to use block plane, file/rasp, or sander.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


539 posts in 2272 days

#9 posted 12-17-2014 06:53 PM

A hand plane is what I use

-- Ken

View pintodeluxe's profile


4826 posts in 2235 days

#10 posted 12-17-2014 07:08 PM

Any power tool besides a ROS will risk some tearout. A hand plane can cause tearout too (even a low angle block plane).
I trust sanding the most in these situations. If you don’t like that idea, a flush trimming router bit would work.

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

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2112 days

#11 posted 12-18-2014 01:02 AM

I use either my stationary belt sander or a flush trim router bit in the router table (a spiral cut bit will decrease tearout). The ROS seems to take forever to take these down flush.

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

View bobasaurus's profile


2587 posts in 2606 days

#12 posted 12-18-2014 01:04 AM

I like using my kugihiki flush-cut saw from lee valley for this task, it can cut things right up to another surface without damaging that surface. I then use a low-angle plane to clean up the joint, little to no sanding required.

-- Allen, Colorado

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

289 posts in 1884 days

#13 posted 12-18-2014 01:10 AM

The jointer will blow out the fingers at the end of the cut, so no.

Block plane or even a razor sharp blade on 5, ideally a 62 low angle plane.

Sanding will leave uneven surface almost guaranteed that you will notice after finishing. I’d plane then sand for surface prep only.

View ChuckH's profile


68 posts in 1189 days

#14 posted 12-18-2014 01:51 AM

Used the ros, it did take a while.

View KnickKnack's profile


1062 posts in 2989 days

#15 posted 12-18-2014 08:45 AM

I used to do this with a sander, but I found it hard to keep the surface perfectly flat.
Now I clamp a piece of sandpaper (or part of a roll) onto a flat surface, and, moving the box over the surface, sand it that way – if your sandpaper is tight, the box sides stay flat. It makes less noise, less dust, and I tell myself I’m doing some “hand-tool” work.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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